5 Piggies, 3 Cowboys, and 1 Executive Director

Five little pigs looking for food or adventure

Most new moms will tell you about a strange phenomenon, which is that when the baby finally goes to sleep long enough for you to grab a bite to eat, he or she will stay asleep right up until the time you are ready to take that first bite.

And then comes the wail from the nursery.

Happens every time!  How do they know?

Well, we have no babies in Benedict House, but we have five young pigs happily eating their way through adolescence over at the Spur barn, and they cleverly time their escapes to coincide with the very moment I have set food on the table for supper. And so it happened a few nights ago.

We sat down, unfolded our napkins, and the phone rang.

Cowboys live at Joseph House

It was John, the RA at Joseph House over at the Spur.

“Tell Jerry the pigs are out,” he said tersely.

I sighed and turned to Jerry.  “The pigs are out,” I said tersely. 

Jerry disappeared.  Supper went back on the warmer.

Forty-five minutes later Jerry came back, looking half peeved, half exhilirated.

“Well, I had three hard-working ranch hands to help me round 'em up,” he said, meaning Sterling, Travis, and Kyle, the three cowboys who live at Joseph House.

3 Cowboys: Sterling, Travis, & Kyle

I imagined Jerry, Sterling, Travis and Kyle tearing about inside and outside of the Spur barn, with five pigs serving as highly uncontrolled variables in the process.  In fact, though, only three pigs had gotten out and were now wandering about in the paddocks amid donkeys, cattle, calves–with four humans in pursuit, none having much luck.

“It was hard for the guys to understand what I wanted to get them to do,” said Jerry, “plus it was dark, and we could hear the little buggers but we couldn't see them, so I wasn't sure what I even wanted the guys to do.”

But, as Jerry knew, the pigs wanted to be back in their safe pen almost as much as he wanted them to, so after a while the guys got them from outside the barn to inside–and quickly secured all the doors.

“But,” said Jerry, “our large hay wagon, full of square bales, was taking up the middle of the barn, right next to the pig pen door and the one-bulb light meant we couldn't really see whether the pigs were secured or not.” 

During the recount two of the escapees bolted into the pen, leaving but one at large.

Joseph House Cowboys model their pig-catching technique

“I put Travis in one corner of the barn, Sterling to his right about 20′. Kyle I had guarding the gate, arms akimbo to block a bolting piggie. I went around looking under the wagon and around a bunch of those old desks stored in the barn,” continued Jerry.

No pig to be seen.

“Then I went outside and turned on the barn's outside lights, thinking he'd gotten outside somehow. But, no pig. I went back inside the barn and was about to declare and end to the hunt when I took another look inside the pig pen and, viola! all five pigs!

“I don't know, I guess the last little last stinker slipped in while we were out running around trying to find him.”

Needless to say, the Great Pig Chase has now entered Ranch lore, with Jerry having nothing but good to say about the cowboys who let their supper get cold to do their job and help the boss.

And the four of them did it! 
None of them really knows how they did it, but they're all proud anyway.

Soon the pigs will have a new home especially designed for them, close to the chickens, near the new Community Garden.

Well confined, I hope.