…and get this ‘less-than-handy’ trait from both sides of my family. Trying to keep my smart-aleck tendencies under control is a full-time job. But, once in a while, my mouth will get me in trouble.

One frigid winter afternoon, my wife and I were moving a very pregnant sow to a comfortable and more secure pen for her imminent litter of pigs.

The weather wasn’t working in our favor for the big move. On a rotating basis, we’d had nothing but freezing fog, snow and rain for a couple of weeks. There’s nothing we could do, our pens were a mess.

Finally, with the hog’s biological clock approaching the ‘Get-It-Done’ Day, we made the move. Her hut was cozy and out of the weather, but the rest of the pen was a foot deep in near-freezing mud. Any afternoon stroll by the pig resulted in deep, vulgar sucking sounds made by her hooves. For my wife and I, running through the pen was out of the question, our mud boots would be sucked off our feet within steps.

It took some work to open the partially buried gate between pens. To our vast relief, the groaning and ‘ready-to-get-it-over-with’ sow understood we were trying to help and hurried into her new pen.

I was keeping the other curious sows occupied while my wife was closing the gate between pens. Making my way in slow-motion through the chilled mud and out of the pen, I heard my wife holler.


“You, OK?” I called back.

I’ve learned over the years that anyone who cusses with vigor, probably isn’t seriously injured. So, I slogged back across the pen to assess her damage.

When I arrived, my wife explained that she’d had her feet firmly planted in the stiffening mud and was removing a temporary fence post by rocking her upper body…and the post…back and forth. However, neither of us knew the post had been partially broken off just below the surface.

It snapped off in her hand just as she’d been leaning backwards. With nothing to grab, she flailed the stubby metal post frantically to regain her balance and keep from landing flat on her back in the gooey hog mud.

I waded into view and found her slinging the broken metal T-post around like an orchestra conductor’s baton. Being an aware and observant husband, I stayed carefully out of reach, but I couldn’t keep my smart-aleck mouth under control:

“If you’d have fallen on you back, would you have made a mud angel like kids do in the snow?”

OK, perhaps that wasn’t my most shining marital moment. Still, I failed to notice that she was pointing the short metal post in my direction, so I compounded my error:

“If you’d fallen on your back in this muck,” I brightly observed, “when you rolled onto your hands and knees to get up, you’d have looked like a hog-mud corn dog.”

Digging myself deeper, I chuckled…not a smart thing.

Nevertheless, to my wife’s credit, she helped me make sure the hogs stayed in their proper spot that night before she explained…at high volume…that smart-ass genetics are not my best feature.

It turns out that some dinners on our ranch are quieter than others.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the best thing that happened that day was that I didn’t need the assistance of a surgeon to help me remove my foot from my mouth. I was able to do it myself. It seems that having a metal fence post pointed at my head was sufficient motivation.

The next best thing was that we weren’t a moment too soon in moving that sow to her nesting pen. She’s old pro, had a lovely litter of healthy pigs without any need for assistance.

We’ll talk again….