Saturday, January 25 – A pig no more
I waited until I had fed the hens, before I checked on the pig. He was not in his paddock, he was still in his bed and he was cold and dead. But he looked very peaceful, tucked up in the deep straw, just the way he was when I left him yesterday afternoon. His bedding was not disturbed and his eyes were closed, so I think he passed away quietly in his sleep, the way anyone would wish to go.
I told Martin the news at breakfast and he was as sad as I am. Itchy had been part of our lives for 18 years. Then Neil called by and when he heard the news he asked if we were going to butcher him. Martin and I looked at each other in shock. We hadn’t even thought about it. Then I said we couldn’t because Itchy was a pet pig, not a bacon pig. Neil said he was probably too old to be good eating anyway.
But then we had to decide what to do with the body. In the past we have had to arrange for the bodies of sheep and the last pig to die to be taken away by the knacker man for incineration. But in these powerless times we can’t arrange for that to happen. And the water table is still very high so we can’t dig a deep grave without it filling with water. Every time we bury any pets we have to entomb them in stones to prevent the foxes finding the bodies.
So then I told Martin I’d rather the foxes had a fresh corpse than a rotting one and why didn’t we take the pig into the wood and leave it there. So we did. He was still extremely heavy, despite the recent weight loss, but we managed to get him into the wheelbarrow, then we trundled it across to the back of the copse and tipped him out onto the dry leaves. Given our past experience with dead deer, it will only take a couple of days for the foxes to find him and invite their friends over for dinner. If the weather was very cold it might take longer, but I expect most of him will be gone in a week.