Monday, February 26, 2018

Wild boar!

Jesus H. Christ! Nearly two years since writing?! Where ya been? Watcha been doin’? I guess that enough time has passed now that it's time for an update.

I'll warn you up front…..I've got a two year backlog of pictures and much of this will only be of direct interest to friends and family. Who wants to sit and look at some stranger's baby or vacation pictures?!

OK, where was I? Oh yeah…..the challenges of living with wild pigs.

You see them on occasion, but signs of their passing through are everywhere.

Unfortunately, the evidence that they leave behind is often a completely trashed garden and dying fruit trees that have been stripped of their bark.

Wild pigs in Hawaii.

It has always been our intention to hunt wild pig. I mean, they are so common in this part of the big island that a few more won't be missed and they taste good! They make gardening a challenge, alter the native forest environment in many negative ways and reproduce like mad. Bagging a few for the freezer is a win/win, right?

Well, about this time last year, just before nightfall, my daughter Eliana and I heard a loud ruckus coming from the near edge of the jungle. Dashing off to check things out, after a few minutes Ellie returned.

“Dad! There's a young wild pig here! I'm going to try feeding him! Yes, I'll watch out for the momma pig.”, in that exasperated tone that's so familiar to the pre-teen parent.

“Don't forget to bring a big stick!” I yelled as she was running off, thinking of all those nasty pictures, hunters gored and bleeding from wild boar tusk woundings. Yet another example of good parenting, it's true.

We have an unwritten rule regarding animals that show up around here. Everybody gets fed! As you would imagine, this quickly leads to a overabundance of mouths to feed. More cats than I can remember the names to, chickens trying to take over the storage shed, and now….

I'm sure that you have already guessed where this is going…..

Ellie promptly named him “Nago”, in homage to the wild boar deity from Miyazaki's “Princess Mononoke”.

I had an old bag of dogfood that was getting in the way, might as well put it to good use.

From hunting pig, to feeding one. Rest assured, the irony is not wasted on me.

If you've lived with pigs before (not that I have), you know that they are extremely social creatures. This little guy follows you everywhere, “helping” in the garden, running off with your tools or trying to sneak into the house. Not having an actual door per-se led to a couple of misunderstandings between us, but for the most part, things have gone smoothly. Remarkably well, in fact.

Ellie introduced him to the pleasures of mud…..

...but the tub he figured out on his own.

He likes the cats, something that we were concerned about...

And just as cats do, he prefers to sleep on your lap, or at your feet as a second choice.

We walk through the jungle, trying to find the eggs that the crafty chickens hide from us.

Note to chickens: Bare cinder makes for a lousy nest that is not kind to eggs.

This place is thick with old lava tubes, often just below the surface. In between other projects, Nago has a favorite tube that he is trying to fill with branches and sticks.

I cover the hole with an old piece of roofing, but he pulls it off and gets back to work. We have no idea what he is planning, but it is interesting to see him being so industrious.

It didn't take long for him to outgrow his tub.

Right about that time, teenage boys being remarkable similar regardless of species, it was time for a trip to visit the vet.

He looked a little hungover on the ride home.

The vet didn't even think that we were crazy, not that unusual at all. Kinda makes you wonder about the place where we live, doesn't it?

So, one year in and he's still here, not exactly a pet, but close enough that it makes no difference. We have a few rules established, for him and for us. No pigs in the bed or the house. Ellie is not supposed to ride the pig. Pig is not supposed to run off with my tools or the groceries. We are to feed the pig at daybreak, lest pig wake us all with his impression of a loud and demented kazoo. And so on.

From this…. this.

And for those of you who wonder what it is that I do with my day...Too much of this, to be honest.

Sitting around in my pj’s, drinking coffee and providing cats with a warm place to snooze, pig at my side and waiting to do something fun.

It's harder to eat someone who you know. Those other pigs though…..

The last couple of years has just flown by, yet not a single day has passed where I haven't given at least some thought to writing these posts. The idea of putting ones lives and thoughts out there in such a visible way as this can be so daunting at times. What do you focus on? Who reads this stuff? Is this supposed to be a diary? Should you concentrate on simple and close-ended projects that others might  emulate? Long term projects that someone might find inspiring? Are you building a brand and using the blog to promote your own awesomeness?

Maybe it is best to think of this blog as a sort of catch-all bin, lots of random stuff, some of which might come in handy some day. Welcome to the junk drawer of my mind, haha. Strange though it is to say (sad, I'll admit) I occasionally need to refer back to something that I wrote years ago, having entirely forgotten whatever it was in the interim. Documentation definitely has its value. Just because you find something interesting on the internet today, don't assume that it will be there tomorrow. Some of the best and most valuable resources of information that I have found on the net over the years are gone already and more is disappearing daily. Domains expire, picture hosting becomes a financial burden, technology shifts to the flashy new thing, or maybe intellectual property is getting monetized. Whatever. It's gone. Remember that knowledge not shared=knowledge lost. If you care about something, share it as widely as possible.

Of no less benefit is the people whom you meet, in a virtual sense if not in person. Finding someone to talk with and bounce ideas off of is really nice, particularly on subjects of, shall we say, less than universal appeal. I tend to get quite wrapped up and obsessive in my varying interests and it's not often that I find someone that is patient enough to sit through my endless yammering on and on and on. I try to keep that junk under wraps, not wanting to scare the neighbors. When I catch myself running a bit over-long on some obscure topic, I can usually cover up by apologizing for my lack of social skills…..”Yeah, I don't get out much...umm….Sorry”. With a blog, the reader can be passive, active, or just opt out entirely without needing to back out of the room as politely as possible. My wife loves to read the blog because it gives her a glimpse into the reasons why I find certain things interesting, yet doesn't obligate her to sit and listen to me ramble for hours on end. She gets to share in some of my delight, but it doesn't give her a headache, haha.

The act of organizing the content in my mind and arranging it some coherent fashion, choosing photographs to augment the presentation and then writing enough to fill in the blanks, requires me to think about things in a more linear pattern. This forced focus has only improved the outcome of most anything that I've documented. The downside is when I start writing up some new interest or discovery, only to fail so spectacularly halfway in that I gotta drop the line. A series of posts detailing something that only results in a dead end sucks, both for the writer and the reader. I've been guilty of that far to often already and you have my sincerest apologies.

But the best thing of all? In an very literal sense, arranging words and images tells a story. The wonder of telling the story is that it shifts the attention into the abstract. To describe what we are building, be it a box, a travelog, or a philosophy, draws the writer out of their own first-person experience and into the third-person. Paradoxically, it is that distancing of self that can help us to better see the wonder and beauty inherent in each of our lives. The things that I do in my daily life are quickly written over by new experience, then forgotten. In sharing, I see myself differently. Something as mundane as digging yet another hole becomes something…..more. I don't really know how to put any of this into words, but whatever it is, I've missed it greatly.