This morning on the way out of our Sugar Hollow Road neighborhood there were pigs in the road. I means LOTS of pigs. Maybe a hundred. They did, I have to admit, have an official escort. Jamie and Will and Tilly the border collie were moving them from one pasture to the across-the-road pasture; the one right next to the Hickory Nut Gap Farm store.
Pigs, in case you aren’t fully informed on that sort of thing, don’t have a herd instinct. Sheep, and even cattle, will follow the leader. The Brits have it right when they refer to a congregation of pigs, especially pigs on the move, as a drift or a drove of pigs. Organization is not part of the process. Pigs sort of mill around, are too easily distracted.
And, it didn’t help that it was starting to snow and the road was a bit slippery. Both the animals and Jamie and Will found themselves on the ground more than once while attempting to move about quickly! Of course the pigs didn’t have as far to fall and had the advantage of having an extra foot or two firmly (or in-firmly, as the case may be) planted at all times.
We just sat, the three Australian Terriers who are usually with me and I, and watched. Sugar Hollow is, in some respects, a throwback to an earlier time: why hurry when you can be watching two young men and a really fine herding dog move a drift of pigs?! Two of the terriers slept through the whole thing. The youngest one, feet up on the dashboard, emitted a low throaty growl from beginning to end. I kept telling her that she really didn’t want anything to do with a drove of only partly domesticated swine. She didn’t, of course … being a terrier, believe me!
At one point I moved the truck over almost into the ditch to block an escape attempt by a half-dozen or so of the animals. A telephone lineman at the other end of the road in this animal husbandry adventure jumped from his vehicle and prevented a similar jail-break.
I rolled down the window and told Jamie ( Or was it Will? They are cousins. Their collective parents are members of our book club, etc. ) “A fun and funny spectacle. I enjoyed that. A fine way to start the day.”
“We aim to entertain,” he said. With a grin.