Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Stumblin’ Pig

Posted on | April 3, 2012 | 17 Comments

There is a bar in a neighboring town called the Stumblin’ Pig.  I always assumed the name referred to drunken bikers.  After all, they serve alcohol and there is usually a line of Harleys parked in front.  Which just goes to show what I know.  Because a stumblin’ pig is not a drunken biker.  Not even close.

Since Papa Pig passed the 100 pound mark, he has been loose with the rest of the barn crew.  His job is to go down to the pond, wallow in the mud, and then trample the areas of muck that he creates.  This is supposed to help seal the pond so that it holds water again.  Eventually he will be promoted to the job of “bacon”, but until then he is actually encouraged to make a muddy, mucky mess.

And it does take some encouragement.  Because when I come into the barn yard to do some chores, I usually find him sleeping.

Or soiling his water trough as soon as I put in fresh water.

When he hears me, he immediately jumps up and starts doing a happy pig dance.  Well, it used to be a dance.  When he wasn’t too fat to get his feet off the ground.  Now it’s more like a wiggle, 1 inch hop, and foot stamp.  So he gets a back scratch for being so happy to see me.

Hey, never ignore an act of appreciation.  It might be ages before another one comes along.

All that activity makes him hungry, so he has to head to the feeder for a snack.  Which gives me just enough time to get started on my chores.  It is when I have a pitchfork of soiled hay, on my way to the chicken pasture, that he reappears.  Right at knee level.  Obscured by the pitchfork of hay.  So that as I cut across the barn yard, I slam into him and topple over his back, spilling the hay everywhere and getting a nice shiner on my shin from a large stone in the path of my tumble.

When I am carrying in feed bags, he trots ahead of me, squealing excitedly.  Until he stops to make sure I am still coming.  Of course, I have no idea that he stopped because I cannot see him over the feed bag.  In midstride, I half step over him, half step on him, and down I go to the ground clutching the feed bag and already screaming, “NO!  NO! NO!”  I am not yelling “NO!”  because I have fallen and can’t get up (although I am sure those times are coming fast).  I am yelling “NO” because that is what anyone with half a brain yells if they have fallen in a barn yard of loose animals under a bag of grain.  Because if you don’t stop the critters in their tracks with a quick and  heart felt “NO” then you will lying under a bag of feed, plus a pony, 5 goats, and a flock of chickens all trying to break open the bag.

As I am attaching a new clip to the door of the kidding barn, Papa sidles up behind me and snuffles around for grain, acorns, or pieces of poop to nibble.  Before I know it, he bumps into my legs, right at the back of my knees, and despite my stunning thigh muscles (hah!),  I lose my balance and tip over his back onto the ground, skinning my hands on the gravel as I try to catch myself.  At this point, he sits up, looks around nonchalantly, and pretends he is just another dog hanging around the barn yard and has no idea why I fell.

But we both know why I fell.  Without a doubt, Papa is a stumblin’ pig.  Where he goes, whatever he does, he is just the right height for you to trip over, fall over, stumble over.  He is curious enough to be involved in everything that goes on and yet not agile enough to get out of the way.

At this point, Papa gets escorted to the pond.  When we first got a pig a lot of people told me about the devices used for moving pigs.  There are pig boards and paddles, witches capes and construction flags.  But I don’t think these things were created for bottle raised pigs.  Around here we snap our fingers to get his attention and then say, “C’mon, Papa!”  Off we go to the pond.

Once he is snorkling and splashing on the pond banks, I can head back to the barn to finish chores.

Finally, a chance to freshen nest boxes, brush down cobwebs, and scrub the milk stand without falling headlong over the back of a pig.  For a little while.  Because after Papa has revitalized himself with a mud bath, he comes jogging happily back to the barn yard.  Hoping for some pats on the back or a tummy rub or a scratch behind the ear.  Even though his head and snout is covered with mud and pond sludge is sluicing off his sides.

Then it is a matter of stumbling over feed troughs and waterers, goats and dogs, buckets and trees stumps in the mad dash to get away from him.  Oh yes, he is a stumblin’ pig.  And I doubt he is the only one.  We are primarily a rural county and there are probably farmers stumbling over their pigs all over the place.  That bar in town must be in recognition of that fact.  How presumptuous of me to think it is named after drunken bikers.  Honestly, I am so ashamed of myself sometimes.

I was talking to a couple of friends who grew up on farms that raised pigs.

“It’s funny how pigs get underfoot, isn’t it?”  I asked.  “Always tripping over that pig when I’m in the barn yard.  Just yesterday I fell over him when I was forking hay in the kidding stall and cut myself on the cattle panel, ” I said proudly, displaying the scrape on my arm.

One of my friends squinted at me.

“Did you say he was in the kidding stall?  Don’t he got a pig pen?”

“Well…….,”  I said and kind of shrugged.

My other friend shook his head sadly.

“The problem with your place is the animals got no idea who’s in charge.  You gotta show them you’re boss.  Ain’t no reason that pig should be gettin’ close enough to you to trip over.”

I nodded solemnly.  When I got home I told Pretty, our livestock manager, that we needed to establish some control over Papa.  He needed to know who was in charge.  Then we went out to the barn yard and gave him a severe talking to.  It looked something like this:

That’ll teach him.  Unless,…wait a minute.  Is he smiling at me?  Hmmmm…..


17 Responses to “Stumblin’ Pig”

  1. Jill
    April 4th, 2012 @ 2:43 am

    Papa is a lucky piggy. Free range pig. He would be so lonely in a pig pen. He looks pretty darn happy to me. But then again, he doesn’t know is nickname is bacon. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I love waking up to a new blog entry!! Write on, my friend.

  2. salena
    April 4th, 2012 @ 3:48 am

    You are the funniest blogger and always make my day! Thanks for sharing your experiences as it helps me to see the humor in my small hobby farm.

  3. Terry
    April 4th, 2012 @ 4:39 am

    I do so like pigs. But not here. Especially not here now that I’ve been coerced into having my property on a garden tour this summer! (That should happen to you – would love to read about it!) Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy pigs vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing. (BTW, I posted this on my FB page, a good pig story is the perfect start to the day.)
    –Terry at

  4. Chai Chai
    April 4th, 2012 @ 5:32 am

    This is a happy story but I’m not sure I could “bacon” a pig I got so close to.

    I love the “No” part as grain on the ground can create stampedes!

  5. Tina
    April 4th, 2012 @ 5:38 am

    I loved reading about Papa! I think you might miss your stumblin’ pig when he becomes bacon.

  6. ed wynn
    April 4th, 2012 @ 5:41 am

    It is almost like you are here…. I have pigs, same stories , different pigs

  7. Melodie
    April 4th, 2012 @ 5:41 am

    Well,who could be mad at that cutesy wootsy bacon on the hoof!Yes he is smiling!
    I always tell my boy we have a curse on is a tripping curse and we have to trip a dozen times a day..lots of times over just nothing! Glad to know it is not just us,lol!

  8. Kim
    April 4th, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    Papa is lovely, he is so pink considering he lives on a farm! My brother has 2 pigs and he has taught Olli to sit for treats, only he weighs around 150 pounds! His wont become bacon though :o)

  9. debh
    April 4th, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    Funniest thing I’ve read in a long time! Love it and so relate…but mine is Tom Turkeys..goats and the occassional bottle calf.
    You had me rolling on the falling down within an animal pen carrying a bag of feed.
    Thats how I envision I meet my doom some day! LOL!

  10. Ferne K
    April 4th, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    I love starting my days with your stories about life on the farm. I’m afraid I’d never be able to make bacon out of Papa, which is why I’d never make a good farmer.
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Carolynn
    April 4th, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    I second Ferne K’s comment, you’re definitely a talented storyteller. That sequence of photos of Papa in the pond sure does look like one happy pig. I’d say, you just keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and don’t change a thing.

  12. Liz C.
    April 4th, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

    OMG! I’m howling over this! Actually my black & white cat does the same thing. Loves to trip me in the dark. I’m lucky to still be walking without the assistance of a walker.

    I love your pig! I’ve always heard they are full of personality when raised with *the family*. One of my all-time favorite movies is “Babe”. Love that piggy!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog & leaving a comment. I get so few these days…

  13. Lynda
    April 5th, 2012 @ 5:40 am

    I am glad to read that your pig is free range. Our neighbors, being practical(?) farmers have shown their pig “who’s boss.” It is all too sad. Pigs are very intelligent. Mentally, your pig is living with the stimulus it needs to be balanced. Now some people won’t get this, but I would rather eat an animal that lived a happy life, than one who was deprived of what comes natural. ~ Lynda

  14. Liz
    April 5th, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    You always make me smile!! Hats off to a happy pig 🙂

  15. Kathleen Ferrari
    April 6th, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    This was wonderful! I love your blog. Highlighted this on FB for my friends. Will be following you. I will be sad when this pig is turned into bacon!

  16. Lisa D
    April 8th, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    I’ve got a stumblin cat. Does that count?

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