Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Dog damage to garage

Sunday, I preached on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and as an aftereffect of the delivery, at lunch with the Sisters of St. Mary, Sewanee, the conversation centered around the profligate son finally getting a job feeding pods to pigs. I don’t know whether the phrase “pods for pigs” was some kind of biblical alliteration created by an early translator of The Word, but the botanist in our crowd, Vickie Sullivan, and others around the table Googled and found that the pods were actually a chocolaty bean from the carob tree that pigs must have relished. 

The conversation caused me to wonder if perhaps a pig had been the culprit that damaged the siding on a corner of the garage door while we were sojourning in Louisiana. A photograph of the damage is shown above. I mean, if boa constrictors can proliferate, move around, and damage properties in Florida and nutria migrated and proliferated in Louisiana, could pigs do the same in Tennessee?! 

According to the manual, Wildflowers in the Smokies (lead author, Peter White), during the late 1940s European wild hogs escaped from a game farm in North Carolina and entered the Great Smoky Mountain Park of Tennessee and North Carolina, and attempts to remove them have failed. Now, these are no ordinary pigs; they’re large babies that root up wildflowers and create wallows in lower elevations in beech gaps, damaging trout lilies and other spring wildflowers, decimate forests by rooting for bulbs and tubers, leaving the beech gaps looking as if they’ve been plowed up. Park officials are worried about long-term effects of these hogs that they actually call wild boars. 

Since the late 1980s, large populations of the boars have been trapped or shot by park crews, but officials claim that total elimination of the hogs is almost impossible. Coyotes like to eat wild hog piglets and red wolves also like to take on full-grown boars, but I’m wondering if there are some park runaways who have managed to migrate to The Mountain here at Sewanee, and are foraging for food near residences.

A repairman who arrived to give an estimate for repairs to the damaged siding told us that there are toothmarks on the siding, and he thinks a large dog (whose owner cleaned up the siding and took it away) chased a chipmunk that crawled inside the corner siding, and tried to make a meal of the little critter. Since part of the siding had been taken away, we surmised that it was a dog whose owner decided repairs might be costly (estimate of $275), so he/she didn’t leave a note. No chipmunk skeletons or missing siding have been found in the woods either.

Unlike some cultures, I don’t have an appetite for roast dog, but I do like cochon de lait —roast pig — Cajun cooking at its best — but there are no carob pods around, and I guess we’ll have to stick to the story of disrepair by a dog who was supposed to be on a leash but got out of control when a chipmunk crossed its path. Sigh. 

We always come home to some kind of damage to the property when we leave Sewanee for the winter, and we once thought the Sewanee campus a safe place to live, but we’ve been taking a ride every day lately… looking for country acreage where we might keep a pen of pigs?… 

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