Baby pigs are nurtured in Hana because they grow up to be pua’a in the imu (big pig roasted in the under ground oven wrapped in banana leaves)–a big pig reason for a luau. But the Maui gardener wants them to stay in the jungle.
One of the first hints that you might have a wild (feral) pig problem is poop. This seems to be the subject of a number of my ruminations recently. Ruminate is an appropriate word here because that’s what pigs do when they start chomping on the grubs, macadamia nuts, papaya and potatoes they find by rooting under vines and trees. Paradise isn’t always pretty because there’s a lot of free range everything. And no one makes it their mission to follow every pooping thing around with little plastic bags in hand and then deposit these collections in the green can. There are no green cans here. The natural jungle is our green can.
So it was like a pig rerun or piggy-back (so to say) for me yesterday. The last chapter in my book, A Nobody in a Somebody World, is titled “Sows and Tsunamis in Hulawood.” One of my favorite things to do is to hop on my John Deere riding mower and cut grass. Better than therapy. I wrote how I was zipping around the bend near the neighboring jungle brush and guava trees when all of a sudden from behind the Tahitian lime tree I was confronted by a huge reddish brown wild sow with an amazing likeness to Don Rickles.
She firmly planted her hooves into the ground in front of me, started with major snorting and oinking, and began her charge. No one, but no one, was going to put a scratch or a dent in my John Deere. So I revved it up into high gear, went eyeball-to-eyeball with my gnarly attacker, thrust my green machine into forward, and threw a lemon at her that I had saved in my cup holder. She backed off, but at that very second eight piglets came scurrying out from under the ferns and Pikake vines, all squealing and running amuck every which way.
I started screaming in my most threatening of voices, “Waho! Waho! (Out! Out!)” I figured it was best to give a shout-out in Hawaiian since they were local pigs. Tom heard this commotion and came zooming over in the Polaris Ranger. Within seconds, the boar appeared, all black, huge with tusks bigger than a mastodon’s. Tom grabbed his air horn, which is his favorite farming intercom device, and blasted away. It was now pig pandemonium, or in Hawaiian Pidgin-speak, everyting buckaloose (out of control). A few more blasts from the air horn and the porkers retreated. The pigs were trying to reclaim their territory in what is now our space and my garden.
The tell-tail sign that it was “piggy-back” Monday was the black poop (and/or scat) all over “my” freshly mowed lawn. This discovery was at day’s end, so we didn’t implement Plan-A by calling our local pig hunters. We saved that assignment for the next day. We went to bed dreaming of spareribs. And then..awakened abruptly this morning by the shrill, loud, piercing squeal of a piglet. Obviously, instead of a ripe papaya on the ground, this little one was enticed by a yogurt container of Kashi Go Lean (crunchy cereal) that Tom had placed in the Have-A-Heart trap. He had set it the night before to catch a mongoose (looks like it’s distant ferret cousin) that had taken up residence in our lava wall.
We are usually a catch and release family. Our daughters would never forgive us if we conked this piglet on the head and used her for bacon. Miss Piggy, Babe, Porky and Sarah Palin have cured my urge to hunt and gather. Not to mention that cute Geico piggy. This now captured and caged little swine relative had definitely put on a few pounds–about 40 of ’em. Tom grunted as he lifted Babe into the back of the Ranger. I could hear her squealing as she and he drove off through the jungle together and down to the oceanfront pasture land where she can roam free and poop as much as she wants along with the cows and bulls and mongoose and chickens and pheasants. No wonder everything is so green down there in that pasture. Who needs a green can.