“A little help here!”
Brenna and I were happily chatting away over the steady rhythm and hum of the milking machine when the call, slightly garbled, came to us from behind the barn. I looked at her quizzically. “Did you hear something out back?”
She shrugged and got up to check. A moment later, she ran back in. “Daddy’s back there with a pig!” I was in the middle of milking a cow and could not leave her to help just yet, but Brenna grabbed a bucket of grain to try to lure the wayward pig inside.
Miss Piggy was disoriented and scared and having trouble seeing in the gathering darkness. They were having a hard time enticing her in when I turned off the machine a few moments later. “Here’s a feed pan,” I said. “If she can get a taste, she should follow it right in to the stall.” That did the trick!
Now that the pig was safely secured, I asked, “How’d she get out?” She’d been grunting for her dinner when we left for the barn, so she hadn’t been out long.
“She went out through the corner by the apple tree,” David panted. “I called, “Pig’s out!” but nobody came.” He looked at me a little accusingly. “Then she got confused and she ran all the way down to the neighbors’ house and all the way back again. I could have used some help.”
“Well, we’d have surely come if we could have heard you,” I said cheerfully, “but we can’t hear much over the milking machine, you know.” He knew, but he’d been distressed to find himself out chasing a pig after a long, tiring day and he’d lost his cool a little bit; that had made the job harder. Escaped animals are already scared and they won’t be caught if they sense any angst.
So Miss Piggy slept in the barn last night. Daisy was displaced from her usual stall. Maybelle was surprised and mildly alarmed at the strange grunting, slamming noises coming from next door. Annabelle, who gets the main barn floor, poked her head over the door to see what she was dealing with.
I gave the pig a little alfalfa when I fed the cows, and a little more grain, and checked that the door was sturdy enough to withstand her powerful snout. “Y’all are good hostesses,” I said to the cows. “Be good, don’t worry and sleep tight. All will be well.”
Morning brought it’s own problems. The cows were upset by the change in their normal routine, and the pig was grunting anxiously from the corner stall. We acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary, calmly cleaning stalls, brushing cows and going about our usual activities. The cows followed our example and settled down. By the time we had the third cow in for milking, it was light enough – and the barn was empty enough – to safely move our pig back home. David carried a bucket full of milk, which she followed willingly enough, but I couldn’t get the gate unfastened in time and she lost interest and wandered off again. It took David a few minutes to get her back to the gate. Then, she wandered through easy as pie! I had the bucket by now, but I couldn’t see her dish to pour the milk out for her. “Where is your dish?” I said aloud, and she ambled along in front of me with obvious purpose. “I guess you know where it is.” So I followed.
Meanwhile, David repaired the fence, so, hopefully, she won’t get out again. At least, not that way! As we walked back to the house, she seemed to be investigating the gate that she hadn’t known was there…