A common phrase that I’ve heard my husband mention ever since I’ve known him is this: “I waited too long and…” We missed a couple of opportunities because of this indecisiveness, such as farms we were thinking of buying, but usually it’s something small that just creates a little more work. One example would be “I waited too long and now I can’t find the riding mower because the grass it too high.” Another example would be “I waited too long to feed you and now I’m in the doghouse because you’re hangry.” Recently, I experienced one that needs mentioning, one that I’ve dealt with before, but mixed with pregnancy became a joke.
“I waited too long to cut the pig so I need your help because he’s going to be a handful when I cut his nuts off.”
It’s not the technical language he used, but it’s what I understood of it.
A little background on this pig:
-His name is Squealer.
-He was named after a pig in the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. Remember, I’m an English teacher.
-He had a sidekick that is now in our freezer, Napoleon, another character from Animal Farm. Napoleon was the head honcho, and the book is a representation of the Communist revolution. In the novel, he was a terrible leader, becoming fat and dictatorial after becoming too powerful, which reminded me of our Napoleon. He was fatter than Squealer and seemed to be in charge. Remember, I’m an English teacher and a nerd.
-Squealer represented propaganda in the novel, in case you needed to know that for your Trivia Crack app. It’s been on there. I’ve seen it. Remember, I’m an English teacher, nerd, and I like to spank people at trivia. If I don’t win, I’ll act like it never happened but carry a grudge for the rest of my life.
Now that your literature lesson is over, I’ll get back to the less artistic type of writing. The pig was serving as our tiller last week since our tiller broke, and he was doing a wonderful job. I’m pretty sure we’ll never go back to wasting gas on our old tiller. We just need some panels to lock him in and he’ll go to town. Sadly, he was not paid kindly for his effort to aerate and fertilize our garden so we could have wonderful summer feasts. He was immediately taken back to his own pen, held up by his hind legs, and castrated.
Well, not quite immediately. Like my husband had said, he waited too long, and this pig was big. He didn’t seem all that big to me, but after struggling with him and seeing his pighood thrown out on the ground, I can attest that he was a big pig.
I didn’t know the necessity of castrating pigs until I moved to the farm, so I’ll explain why it’s a must. Male pigs, a.k.a. boars, taste terrible if they are slaughtered and they’ve never been cut. I don’t know the science behind this, but I’ve heard about how awful it is, and I think I’d be extremely upset if I bit in to my BLT and it tasted rotten. That would be a waste of a perfectly good summer tomato.
So on Squealer’s big day, my husband held him up so I was on one side of the fence and he was on the other. I held Squealer’s legs so my husband could have both hands free. Of course, when I saw the blade coming down, I looked away. Usually it wouldn’t bother me, but pregnant me is a-whole-nother person. This person complains a lot and pukes on a dime, so this was no picnic for my husband either.
As I was looking away, the pig started to live up to his name. He was squealing like a little pig, but he’s big, as I was quickly finding out. He started to wiggle and kick. My son was holding his ears, playing nearby, then he got curious and wanted to know why we were hurting the piggy. Trying to explain to a three-year-old that you are helping the piggy, that we’re trying to make the ham for next Christmas taste good, while your arms and lack of stomach muscles are burning from the position they are trying to keep, all while competing with your gag reflex, is a real challenge.
When I thought the whole ordeal should have been over, my husband started mumbling profanities, which meant Squealer was more attached to his nuts than we had originally prepared for. He was becoming increasingly squirmy, my arms were aching, and I wasn’t feeling all that great. After what felt like an eternity, my husband was able to get one out. Then, before we could move on to the second, we literally scared the shit out of him, so I had to let go for a moment. Nausea! But I was able to control myself with a quick circle in the grass and a few deep breaths, then I took the hind legs back from my husband to finish the job. Of course, Squealer had just lost half of his pighood, so he was going to try and keep the other.
He started making quick kicks to throw me off, his squeals were nonstop, and they became deep. He was channeling his leader Napoleon, and the squeals seemed disturbing. My arms started shaking again. I was looking up at the clouds floating by. My son could have been running the chainsaw at this point, but I wouldn’t have heard over the squeals and the gulping back of bile in my own throat.
My husband distracted me, as he said, “almost there.” Then I heard it, as he was cutting, the tearing sound, and I started the dry heave body shakes. My husband finally yelled, “Got it!” and threw the one remaining nut. Simultaneously, my arms collapsed, and Squealer moved away quickly. Aiden was clapping at our success, and my husband was just repeating over and over, “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!” to me as I tried to control myself.
Then it happened. Squealer turned on us, looked straight at me with no pity in his eyes, walked nonchalantly over to the last nut that was taken from him, sniffed, and licked it. I don’t know what he did after that because it was all over for me. I was bent over in the grass with my three-year-old patting my back, saying, “Isss otay Mommy,” while my husband continued to repeat a more emphatic, “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!” but I’m pretty sure he was laughing too.
So for those of you who are close family or friends, and receive a large ham or wonderfully delicious pork chops at Christmas time, remember the hard work and sacrifice that went into that pig. I lost two chocolate-covered, Casey’s donuts that morning just so your dinner wouldn’t taste like crap.
The next time we get a pig, I’ll make sure I put a reminder on my smartphone instead of waiting for that dreaded conversation with my husband that starts with “Well, I waited too long again…”