As previously mentioned, we got our kunekune pigs with high hopes for them being useful as lawn mowers. After some years of mowing largish lawns at our old house, the Forbearing Husband had expressed a deep desire to avoid pushing a mower around at the farmlet. I promised (quite recklessly, in hindsight) that he wouldn’t need to. I was quite sure we could get some farm animals to keep the lawns tidy. I even had a plan to call our eagerly awaited lawn-mowing sheep Briggs and Stratton.
Sadly my optimism was misplaced. Animals that eat grass seem incapable of stopping there. Mouthfuls of fruit trees, roses and even the occasional whole grapefruit have all slid down the gullets of our grazers. As for the kunekune pigs, they do more digging than mowing. Areas of grass that have been occupied by a pig end up looking like a rugby pitch after a particularly vigorous game. Some people put a stop to these shenanigans by adding rings to little piggy noses, but it makes us sad to think of those squidgy little snouts being punished for doing the thing they love best (#not-real-farmers).
So what are pigs good for if not lawn-mowing? I heard you say bacon, and I’m going to pretend you didn’t.
Moving right along.
When we bought the farmlet The Clearing looked like this, and it more or less remained in that state until a few weeks ago. It was full to chocka with Jerusalem Cherry (aka JC), a weed already much discussed on this blog.
There had been various weeding blitzes staged in The Clearing over the years, but we had failed to make much headway. The JC plants in there are prodigious; shoulder height, and growing so densely one can hardly fight one’s way into the mass of vegetation to swing a spade.
I’m guessing by now you can see where this story is heading?
A fanfare please for The Arrival of the Pigs (they’d like you to consider this their theme song).
Yes, those grunting little rototillers were just what were needed. They marched on in, and took to their task like — well, like pigs to mud. They snuffled and shunted, grubbed and burrowed, wallowed and dug. They made tracks through the jungle of weeds, loosened up the soil and unseated that diabolical JC. What’s more they thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Afterwards us humans did some digging of our own, along with a bit of unavoidable wallowing in the gumboot-sucking mud. We pulled up great clumps of JC which we hauled to the bonfire pile, gleefully anticipating incineration day (it was, in fact, those very plants we were burning on the afternoon of Daredevil Deborah’s swim).
By the time we’d all finished, the landscape in The Clearing looked set for a re-staging of the Battle of the Somme. We are hoping it will start to grow some pretty grass over summer, once we’ve done a bit of flame throwing to thwart the emerging JC seedlings. Although the Forbearing Husband has renounced lawn-mowing, he does not object to flame-throwing — a change being as good as a rest and all that.
So there you are, the story of two little pigs, who — while frightfully incompetent at lawn-mowing — went on to prove their worth.
I think we could say it now.