All day I labored, building a fence that no pig, big or little, could jump over, crawl under, or push through. Having that task finished, I proceeded to build a fence to pasture the horse. Alas, the task was longer than the day. I neglected to plant the last post. The hole was dug, but night had come and the hole must wait to be filled until morning.
Though the hour was late, I decided to still wean the piglets. I removed the sow and closed her up in her new home, confident that my hard work held the Farm Journal seal of approval. Scarcely was I finished when a soft rain began to fall. Throughout the evening the rain fell, watering the spring soil.
The children were taken to their beds and tucked in with a cheery good night and a kiss. My wife and I tucked ourselves into bed. We had said our prayers, thanking God for a successful and safe day. I stretched out on my soft mattress content that the day had gone well. I needed a good rest. I sighed and drifted to sleep, slumbering the sleep of a man at peace with himself.
Only minutes into my deep sleep something probed at my subconscious mind. It teased and begged until I finally came to a lazy kind of consciousness. I listened for a few half-hearted seconds but heard nothing. I fell into a subconscious state again. I awoke again. Something was stirring outside the bedroom window. I could not identify the sound. I listened intently. There it was again! It sounded like heavy breathing. Though I didn’t know what it was, I knew I didn’t like it.
I grabbed a flashlight and slipped across the room to the window and listened. When the heavy breathing started up again, I turned the flashlight on and shone it right into the face of the big sow. It was the same one that that was supposed to be in her escape-proof pen! My heart sank and the blood pressure rose.
I dressed in a hurry. I did not need a pig to ruin my yard. I became a little angry. Being angry does not bode well when herding pigs. I started wrong. As I quickly learned, starting wrong does not produce good results. Pigs are notorious for knowing what you want and then doing the exact opposite. I quickly opened the gate to the sow’s pen. Next I went behind the house and herded her toward the pen. She pretended to like the idea.
She looked at the gate and went around it. I quickly went around the other way. She went past the gate. I reversed direction. She went past it again. My blood pressure rose. She smiled. I kicked, and missed. She bolted. I ran like a nut trying to catch the bolt. She took off for the house at a pace meant to intimidate me. It did. As she went around the back of the house, I cunningly went around the front. We met eyeball to eyeball on the far side of where I wanted her. It dawned on me that she was having the time of her life.
She turned and took off for the barn—just for fun. I took off after her dead serious. About the time I had lofty hopes of catching her, my legs sank into the earth. About the time my feet hit the bottom of the hole, I remembered that I was going to plant a post into this hole! Water seeped into my shoe and dampened my desire to raise pigs. For a moment I stood myself in a corner of the round hole scolding myself for not setting the post. Wearily I pulled myself out of the hole, admitting defeat.
Walking slowly to the barn, water sloshing in my shoe, I opened the gate. With a twinkle in her eyes the sow walked through the door to her squealing pigs. I closed the door after her and trudged to the house with bowed head. After washing up I sneaked under the covers, having no desire to explain things to my wife. For a long time I lay sleepless. Every time I tried counting sheep, they turned into smiling sows!