I can honestly say few things intimidate me, let alone create outright fear. However, one of the few things that can make me run for my life like a frightened child and squeal in sheer terror is The Bibbed Wonders full-grown pigs. Monday, The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean went to a picnic with GramBarb. I begged off because I felt great, and there were a few projects around the house I wanted to complete. It is rare when I feel great and don't have soaping duties to dominate my time. I volunteered to do the evening barn chores so The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean didn't have to rush home. The Bibbed Wonder asked me to please put his mama pig, Nueve, outside for some exercise, feed her the evening's milk, and put her back in her stall with her little ones. I balked at this request; he knows I hate dealing with the pigs, especially the mamas.
When I began my protest, he and The Bean mocked me for being afraid of the pigs. Much to my annoyance, I repeated my objection and reminded Eric of the time when we were newly married, and his cows got out of the pasture at his mom's farm. We stayed at GramBarb's farm because Papa Dale was in the hospital, and it was easier to stay at the farm than run back and forth between the farm and Brookville. I awoke to the sound of frantic mooing. When I looked out the window, all the cows were milling about in the backyard next to the pool and the garage. I called Eric, who was working a half-hour away, and reported my findings. He calmly and matter of factly told me to go out, take the dog, open the gate, and the dog would chase the cows back into the pasture. This was met with shocked silence. Apparently, he did not receive the memo stating that cow chasing was not in our marriage arrangement. He also did not know my history of poor cow chasing skills. Sigh. I once again protested his unreasonable request only to be met with the exact matter-of-fact instructions.
As I walked out the back door, the cows mooed in confusion. As calmly as I could, I called Ginger, the Australian Shepherd. When I began to make my way to the pasture gate, all the cows ran in the opposite direction in unison. I opened the gate as instructed, ordered the dog to get the cows, and waited. The dog did not jump into action. Instead, she sat down and looked at me as if to say, "What are you doing, amateur?" I ordered her to get the cows again, and still, she sat looking at me. Obviously, this wasn't going to work. I would have to take matters into my own hands. I walked toward the cows, and the closer I got, the further they moved away. By the time I was finished, admitted defeat, and gave up, the cows were in the woods as far from the pasture as they could be. As I stomped, crying, ugly crying back to the house, I slipped and fell in cow sh*t. While on the ground, bawling like a child, the damn dog came up to me and licked my face. Not helpful, Ginger. Not helpful at all.
When I finally made it back to the house, I called Eric. The only words he could make out from my blubbering were, "cows, woods, cow sh*t, dog, and I didn't sign up for this bullsh*t!" I quickly showered and left thinking, to hell with the cows, the unreasonable husband, and the failure of completing a task well out of my wheelhouse. Eric finally called me back a few hours later. He asked if I was okay and where had I gone? My quick retort was, "Shopping!" When all else fails, I know I can shop well.
As I reminded him of this scenario, he and The Bean had a hearty laugh at my expense. They convinced me I could let the pig out of her stall and put her back in with no problem. I grudgingly conceded and went on with my day. At five o'clock, I went out to milk my lovely ladies. Before I did the milking, I cautiously went into the barn and saw it was empty of all the other pigs. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. As quietly as I could, I clambered over the gate that separated the pigs from the milking parlor. If the pigs hear the slightest disturbance, they come into the barn. I was again relieved to see Nueve up and standing at her stall door, ready to be put outside for a bit. I opened the gate, made sure to stay behind it when I let her out, and quickly closed the gate before the little piglets could escape with their mama. I slammed the latch closed on the gate and ran to clamber back over the dividing gates. Done, I could chalk up one for me and zero for the pigs!
I then went on to milk my girls, which is always a pleasant experience. The girls are completing their seasonal deworming cycle, so the milk must be dumped for two weeks. Rather than throw it away, Eric gives it to Nueve as a special treat and extra calories for her recovery. When I walked into the barn after the milking, all the pigs were in the barn pushing, biting, and being snarly in general. I spoke aloud, "Nope, I'm not doing this!" I put the milk bucket outside the barn gate and went back to my tasks. At seven o'clock, The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean still had not returned home. I went out to shut the chickens in for the night and decided to check on the pigs just to make sure all was well.
Nueve was standing at the stall door, talking and grunting to her little ones. Her little ones were gathered at the other side of the door, squealing for their mama. Sigh. It had been a few hours, and I was sure they were hungry. Lying at the base of the divider that I must clamber over were all the other pigs, sleeping peacefully but three deep. There was a sea of pigs I had to cross in order to get to the stall door. I took the milk bucket and a bucket of feed and, once again, clambered as quietly as I could over the gate. I tip-toed through the pigs making sure not to disturb their slumber or alert them to my presence with milk and feed. If they woke up, chaos would ensue, and I would be surrounded with pushy, biting pigs.
I made it successfully to the door of the stall. I quietly opened the door, rushed in ahead of Nueve, dumped the milk and feed into her bowl, ran past her as she nuzzled her little ones, almost had the gate closed when I noticed one of the piglets had escaped from the stall when his mama was coming in. I tried unsuccessfully to shoo him back to the stall door. Just like the cows, he ran in the opposite direction I wanted him to go. I knew if I picked him up, he would squeal dramatically and act as though I was murdering him. I detest little pigs. However, I saw no choice. I threw the buckets over the gates into the milking section, scooped up the little escapee, and rushed for the stall door, hoping to get him in before he squealed. I was not successful, dear reader.
The noisy little bacon seed commenced squealing as though I were stabbing him. Nueve, his mama, gave one angry snort, oinked loudly and menacingly, and turned to charge the gate just as I was tossing the dramatic little bugger into where he belonged. She cared not that he was okay. She charged the door and hit it with her 500+ pounds of angry mama pig. I loudly screamed as I pushed the door shut with all my might. She hit the door one more time for good measure as I pushed and tried to lock the gate. Luck was on my side when the gate latched on the first try. There was one more angry thump as she hit the gate again, but it held. However, pigs have a mob mentality. If they hear one of their own in distress, they all come in for backup. The three little pigs were already on their feet. Fortunately, Eddie and Charlotte, who are much bigger and meaner, are slower in getting to their feet. It takes them longer to lumber out of a slumber. There was no way I was crossing a sea of now angry pigs to climb clumsily over the gate. I screamed once more, ran out the big barn doors leading to the pasture, and scaled the pasture gate to escape. One lone black pig stuck her head out the barn door to make sure the threat had been diverted. I heard her snort, and then there was silence.
Much to my dismay, I found I had peed my pants a little in fear and the stress of trying to escape being eaten by an angry mob of pigs. The curse of being old with a weak bladder. Sigh. I walked back to the front of the barn, retrieved the buckets from the milking side, turned off the lights, shut the door, and went to the garage to clean the milk bucket. When I came out, The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean had just returned home. My bean, always in tune with her mama, asked what was wrong. I began my tale with, "Don't you EVER ask me to do anything with those pigs again…EVER! I won't do it! I don't care if they die! I will not go in with those F#$@king beasts EVER. AGAIN!" As I retold my perilous tale and near-death experience, they laughed long and loudly. When I told them to get out of my way, I needed to shower because I had peed my pants a little, they had tears streaming down their faces. The people I live with are rude.
Eric continues to send me text messages asking me to feed his pigs, let his pig out, or just pink piggy snouts for giggles and grins. I vow to maintain my stand on never seeing the pigs again. Unless, of course, they are in bacon form on my plate. I will happily eat them without remorse. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart; I hope you never have to run from angry pigs and keep washing your hands.