07 July 2010

Lotsa Lovin’


After Dad retired from the Air Force at the start of the seventies, we acquired property outside of the Base and Dad became a gentleman farmer. It was perfect for his temperament; even in the Base, he would tend to his gardens and the few animals we were allowed to keep in the grounds behind our residence after office hours.

After retirement, Dad and Mom decided they would raise hens for their eggs. As was only natural, we had swine as well at the far end of the property. Raising hens was a dreadfully fussy business. They needed so much attention. With swine, their pens only had to be cleaned at least once a day; then they were fed three times each day; and in between, they were pretty much left on their own to figure out what putahe karma dictated they would eventually end up after they were sold.

Some swine farmers raised only sows – inahen in Tagalog. The piglets from these sows were allowed to grow for about two months, after which they were sold to farmers who grew pigs for slaughter. There were also farmers who raised boars, which was only perfectly logical. If some farmers had only sows, then these needed macho boars to do them lotsa lovin’ so they would bear dozens of scampering little piglets.

In our case, some of the swine enclosures we had were dedicated to raising sows. Dad and Mom were smart; they figured if they bought 2-month old piglets from other farmers, their prices would already include markups. They wanted to raise pigs for slaughter as well; but wanted to acquire these without the markups.

So we raised our own sows. Choosing suitable ones from among our own 2-month old litter was a tricky business. Those who did not meet the requirements were sold to other farmers.

First of all, they had to look sexy. In swine terms, what that meant was that – even at two months old – they had to look longish compared to the other litter. Their bellies also had to look nicely-curved and round – an important consideration for when they had to carry a dozen tiny piglets inside. Finally, they had to have plenty of nipples for suckling the newly-born piglets. A dozen nipples were nice and ideal; fourteen was great; and occasionally we would find a nice dalaginding who had as many as sixteen!

As the sow was allowed to grow, we were always on the lookout for when she was ready to get some lovin’. The tell-tale sign that she was ready could be seen – you might have guessed – right in her Jade Gate, as how the Chinese euphemistically refer to the most private part of the female anatomy.

There is a bit of a contradiction here when the metaphor is applied to the sow, because hers is a pale pink when it is in its normal state. When she is in season – i.e. when she is ready to attract the attention of some macho enterprising boar – the pink takes on an angrier shade. Jade is, of course, green.

I do not exactly know why, but a sow’s first season was always allowed to pass. The moment the signs began to appear again in her second season, it was time to give the boar farmer a ring.

A boar’s arrival was always a big event for the kapitbahayan. For some reason, a boar in a trailer parked in front of somebody’s house always drew the attention of gusgusin little kids, who came scampering. The kids so loved watching when the pigs did lotsa lovin’.

These macho boars, it was always amusing to see them get off their trailers. They needed no prompting to step down the ramp to the ground and there was always a spring to their steps when they walked. Also, they seemed to always instinctively know where the pens of the waiting sows were. Sabihin pa!

The deflowering of a virgin was always a highly-charged, dramatic affair. A noose was tied around the dalaginding’s neck and she was led out the pen to be tied to a post. She had to be towed and pushed from behind at the same time. Unfamiliar as she was to the world outside of her concrete pen, she wailed out loudly in both fear and anguish.

Of course, the kapitbahayan children, perched expectantly on the sides of the concrete pens, hushed themselves to silence as the macho boar approached. If anything, the dalaginding’s wails always became louder at the sight of the boar approaching. The boar was almost always so much frighteningly larger than the virgin sow.

Did some primal instinct warn the sow that her Jade Gate was about to be violated? Perhaps, then, maybe all that wailing – in pig language – was really to tell the boar to walk a little faster?

The wails became even louder as the boar mounted the dalaginding. Sometimes, the boar was so totally lacking in grace and had to be helped atop the sow. Because neither the boar nor the sow had hands, one of the handlers was always willing to lend his to make sure the macho boar found the Jade Gate!

Before long, the dalaginding’s wails began to subside, to fade into muffled groans. The children mounted atop the walls were all mystified, completely unaware that they just witnessed what their parents sneaked out at night and paid for to watch at the Rainbow Theater.

Let me just end this story by telling you of this one time when the farmer we called did not have a vehicle to ferry his boar to our farm. His place was a good kilometer away, and needless to say, farmer and boar had to hike the distance to our place.

You have to understand, these boars are a spoiled specie! Apart from the high-nutrient feeds they are given three times a day, they also get egg yolks and beer on a daily basis. Maybe to call them spoiled is a tad inconsiderate. Some may say theirs is a job made in Heaven. But even gigolos get their rest days… These macho boars probably do not!

Anyway, back to this hiking stud… He looked a little weary as he lumbered up to our waiting sow. In fairness, he performed valiantly! Kayâ lang, when done and his owner tried to lead him back the way from where they both came, aba… Naglupagê sa damuhan…!!! Tu-ong katawa-tawa!!!

He was still probably tipsy from the beer, asked to hike a kilometer then had to do his obligatory lotsa lovin’… Panalo

[Footnote: I seem to remember that he was given an hour’s rest on the grass before he was persuaded to get up and hike back home.]

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