In case you didn’t make it to the end of yesterday’s post, around 6pm our Mountain Two trailcam recorded a solitary wild hog near the summit. Shortly after that, Mountain One picked up a sounder of eight, finishing what was left of a deer block.

The latter is 25 yards from the homesite. I’m sure they traipsed right through the area we’ve cleared.

It’s the first such sighting of pigs on The Mountain — we hadn’t seen any before this (on camera or in person) and neither had Deb’s cousin. A neighbor hit a boar with his truck earlier this year, but that was out on the county road — a half-mile away and 300 feet lower in elevation, closer to what we’d expect to be hog habitat.

The Mountain is higher and dry enough to make the bottoms near Crooked Creek, roughly a mile from where our house will be and 400 vertical feet lower, more attractive to these animals. But we weren’t the least bit shocked to learn that they get up our way — with a territory of ten square miles, give or take, we know they get around. They’re everywhere.

And they’re not welcome. According to Arkansas Game & Fish:

“Feral hogs are not native to the United States. They are an invasive species, a public nuisance and a threat to Arkansas. They compete for food resources, destroy habitat by rooting and wallowing and will eat ground-nesting birds, eggs, fawns and young domestic livestock.”

Most farmers, hunters and landowners will shoot hogs on sight, even though it’s generally accepted that large-scale trapping (corrals, drop nets) is a more effective way to reduce the population. I’ve seen estimates that something like 66% to 80% of the feral hog population would have to be removed each year just to hold numbers at current levels.

That may be accurate, but it’s not realistic and pretty much everyone knows it. So people shoot hogs.

Deb. her cousin and I certainly will — no permit, no limit, any day of the year.

I was getting ready to take out the trash first thing this morning when Deb emerged from the back of the bus with news I wasn’t particularly interested in hearing — “We have no water,” she said, clearly (and understandably) annoyed.

Well, shit. I stepped over to the control panel, turned on the water pump and ran a couple of fixtures. They worked fine, so the problem had to be outside.

Eyeballing both ends of the fresh-water hose (hydrant and wet bay) everything was in order. I shut off the supply and disconnected the hose — okay, no ice. Then I lifted the lever on the hydrant.


That’s when I noticed that the whole campground crew was gathered outside a nearby service building. I walked over and found out that they’d intentionally shut off water to the park while isolating the supply to that structure — a burst pipe inside had taken a day to reveal itself. Within a half-hour we all had water again.

Over on The Mountain, Deb’s cousin’s well got fixed (pictured) this morning — it was less serious, easier to repair and a lot less expensive than anticipated. That right there’s a reason to celebrate.

Deb and I stayed in Harrison today. Specifically we wanted to check out the liquidation sale at the local “Sears Hometown” store — a couple of weeks ago its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that it would close all 491 remaining locations, including the one that’s operated in Harrison for 33 years.

With building and furnishing our house comin’ up, we’re on the lookout for good deals. We thought we might find some at this going-out-of-business event but, to make a long story short, we didn’t — even at 40% off, anything that caught our eye was priced 25% higher than we’d consider paying.

There were no deals.

The woman who answered our questions had worked in that store for nine years. She was great, but she had an justifiable chip on her shoulder — “Corporate America can suck it” — and I don’t blame her one bit.

From there we drove south on US 65 to Boondocks Furniture’s new location, coincidentally in the old Flexsteel facility where most of Ernie’s furniture was manufactured. The spacious warehouse was jammed with cheaply made (and laughably overpriced) imported stuff, including lots of trendy “live edge” pieces. Nothing jumped out at us.

We salvaged our trip with lunch at a place we hadn’t visited in almost a year — Leonardo’s Pizza Villa. Wonderful calzones, served with Ruffles and a dill pickle spear. On this Boxing Day we had the place to ourselves.

This evening we’ll endure one more bitter-cold night before the weather (or the temperature, at least) takes a turn for the better. Here’s hoping that our propane holds out ’til about noon tomorrow.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB