Monday, November 12, 2012

Gregarious Peccary Visitation

Saturday was town Free Dump Day. Decided to haul off the rust-eaten water-heater carcass, my ugliest yard ornament. Free.

Meanwhile, in a dark corner of a son’s dank “Old Town" (old) apartment, sat a flood-stained cardboard barrel half-full of lentils, white beans, chick peas, and such. 50 or 60 pounds, 15 years old by the date on one sack. Oh, and an unplumbed second-hand toilet. He’d avoided a “cleaning deposit" by accepting the pile, and sticky floor, in a handshake lease agreement. Neither of us wanted to eat ancient grain, not this week anyhow. Free Dump Day!
Stolen from
The soil around my permanent camp is like bad concrete, so I throw vegetable scraps to my struggling trees, like food. Why not, I thought, toss this grain down too? As we flung it, I realized with mixed feelings the possible sowing of a bird, dirt squirrel, and pack rat Empire like no parched yard in my ‘hood has ever seen.

Official Free Dump Day is popular, what a pile. Ripped sofas, dented ‘fridges, dead computer monitors staring willy-nilly. Rest of the year free dumping is in the desert outside town, leisurely scavenged. Too hectic here. A lot of good stuff, but I spared my helpers the cultural shame of being with a Weird Old Dude Digging Through Trash.

That night there was indeed a grain feast. Javelina, a tropical peccary, have worked their way down South America and north into my back yard. The years of throwing rotting vegetables and moldy bread over the back fence have made the spot a destination buffet, I realize now. Our dogs have gone to heaven, and the crappy “hog-wire" fence to hell; add buckets of greenish, roof-flavored rain water, from last storm, and it’s Full Service.

My wife and I heard them snuffling and splashing outside our bedroom window. Then smacking and cracking hard grain like the crunchiest snack of all time. Appetites whetted, they rediscovered the pail of old dog food, up on a table after being knocked over in the past, and somehow, ka-bloosh!

The young'un, among the junk I kept.

So I went into the moonlight to assess the situation. They’re easy to scare off with a little racket, but I greeted them pleasantly, “Hey you guys, what the hell?” The adults bolted, but a young one came trotting toward me until I stammered, “hey, hey, easy little fella.” It stood looking up at me a few seconds before scampering off, curious as I and less frightened.

No harm done, back to bed. Soon they returned, growling and scuffling for that delicious dry-as-dust dog food. “Aw, just let ‘em eat,“ I said, and we fell asleep anyhow. Good decision: next morning the dog food was gone, the brick floor licked clean.

Now they sometimes sleep in a spot they dug under the biggest mesquite trees out back. After my night shifts, in the pre-dawn light, I hear them rustle and grunt when I get close. “It’s OK, go back to sleep," I tell ‘em. We’ll stay friends for now, me not being Cheap enough to poach a Christmas peccary just yet.

On the golf course. Photo courtesy DB Brighty otGC


The evidence of anthropology is that countless men and women, through history and pre-history,
have experienced a deep sense of communion and communication
with nature and with specific non-human beings.

Moreover, they often experienced this communication
with a being they customarily ate.

Men of goodwill who cannot see a reasonable mode of either
listening to, or speaking for, nature, except by analytical
and scientific means, must surely learn to take this
complex, profound, moving, and in many ways highly
appropriate, world view of the yogins, shamans, and
ultimately all our ancestors, into account.

Gary Snyder, The Yogin and the Philosopher, from Alcheringa, vol. 1 #,2 1975

Diana lives!

 photo stolen from


Anonymous said...

UGH I hate those bastards! We spent so much time trying to keep them out, up to and including urinating on the gates where they slip under. We have finally gotten them completely 86'd from the yard, but Geez, what a pain in the ass! They were so unaafraid, they had to be chased out by getting in my $50,000 car and chasing them around the yard till they climbed back under the fence. Oh, and by the way? The fine for shooting these giant rats is $10,000, so don't do it. Unless you have a bow and arrow and alot of construction strength garbage bags to put them in...AND< they hate to be squirted with water so that's another way to get rid of them. They will kill dogs too...

Jeffrey Jones said...

Yeah, you have to have a deep concrete footing and good fence to keep 'em out...which I never did. They've already ruined and eaten everything they can, long ago, so I just let 'em run through. This was their neighborhood long before it was mine. Our dogs used to bark insanely at them, but wouldn't run them off--too scared.

Oh, and by the way--if poaching, do as the poachers do: put up a tent over the kill, then you can take your time dressing it. Them's good eatins if you done it right.

They're aggressive garbage eaters, but I respect them 'cause they're so bad-ass. And, seriously, if I was starving, they would start looking more and more like dinner.

Jeffrey Jones said...

Also, thank you for the image of a fancy car chasing javelina around the yard. And thanks for reading and commenting!