For the Capital Press

Sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut and my hogs to myself.

For the most part the hogs in our small operation are a mellow bunch. Troublemakers don't last long in our herd -- there's way too many barbeques in the world for that.

However, every so often, one of our hogs will "lose it," break out of a pen and go for a walkabout in the barnyard. We'll usually find them about chore time peacefully eating their, and everybody else's, share of the feed.

It's not a big deal. We cut them off from the chow line and trot them back to the pen. They don't get fed until the next day.

One day my wife pulled up to the back of the house on her ATV.

"We've got a sow out," she hollered. "I need a hand."

The hog was doing what a hog does best -- chowing down on some grain that had been spilled. I ran her off the feed. My wife grabbed a bucket of the grain and we led her back to the pen.

It was a nice day and this was a young sow that'd been having way too much fun in the barnyard. She wasn't ready to go back in her pen. We pushed her along the fence a couple of times toward the opening we'd made. Each time she missed the temporary gate and trotted back out into the barnyard. The sow was getting frustrated and so were we. That's when an old friend pulled up to our front gate.

Alice knows cattle and horses, but she's never worked with pigs. I hollered for her to come in because we were busy with a loose hog.

By this time the sow was having such a good time that she was kicking and bucking around the barnyard. I looked up and saw Alice headed our way to help.

"Hey, Alice," I hollered. "Wanna buy a sow ... cheap?"

I guess she thought I was serious.

She stopped in her tracks, got a really strange look on her face, and backpedaled across the barnyard toward her pickup.

About that time the sow got tired of the games and trotted back into her pen. I applied prodigious amounts of baling wire to the affected parts of her pen.

Alice was headed out our driveway. She rolled slowly past where I was upside down working -- eyeball to eyeball with a drooling boar -- on hog fence.

"See you later," I hollered from behind the boar. "This is your last chance on buying the sow."

Alice got that same horror-stricken look on her face she'd had when I made the first offer. She peeled out in her pickup. I didn't know she could drive that fast on my driveway.

Later that evening, I called Alice to apologize and tell her that I was kidding when I offered to sell her a breachy hog.

She said she understood that I was joking and she had to get home anyway.

That might be, but I think I'm going to quit telling silly hog jokes anyway.

Bing Bingham is a writer, rancher and storyteller. He tried to sell a hog to the Capital Press editors, they refused. If you have a story to pass along, contact him at


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