August 7, 2013



I don’t know Putin. Putin doesn’t know me. And I would venture a pretty good guess that we shall never meet. I don’t plan on going to Russia, and I’m relatively certain that Putin will not be showing up in western North Dakota.
On the news this morning, there was a discussion on Putin being a bully. I suppose he is. I don’t think you rise to power in Russia by being a real nice guy. Although, I have no experience to back that up.
But, I did actually learn something from Putin over the weekend. He was credited with saying, “if you shear a pig, you get a lot of squealing, but not a lot of wool.” And that brought a smile to my face.
I don’t know how many of you have ever raised hogs. I tell you what, you grab a little pig, or a big one for that matter, and you do get a lot of squealing. I’ve told you before about our venture into wild pigs. It didn’t turn out real well. We barely had a fence that would hold saddle horses, let alone wild Russian boars. So the pigs ranged from the Lost Bridge on the Little Missouri, to Johnson Corners and west to Cherry Creek.
I understand the last one was shot a few years ago south of Watford City. And I do know that the wolf, which is now mounted in the Watford school, had a little pig in his stomach when the Game and Fish guys did an autopsy. Evidently that pig lived in a straw house.
Back to the squealing pig.
We had these wild pigs kind of penned up along the barn for a few days. And a couple of the sows had litters of piglets. The little wild pigs were colored about like a gopher with little stripes down their backs. Shirley and Will were feeding the hogs when one of the little wild ones got stuck in the hog wire right by Shirley.
That little pig let out a squeal and here came mama! With her mouth wide open and she was mad! I’ve told you that Shirley isn’t real quick on her feet when trying to dodge a bull or a mad cow. Well, she’s worse when a wild hog is going to eat her. She didn’t run. She didn’t scream. She didn’t do a damn thing. She froze. Froze I tell you. She couldn’t move a muscle.
Now, mind you, this is happening pretty fast. Wild pigs are fast. Wild mama pigs protecting their young are really fast.
It just happened that our number one son, Will, who was probably 10 years old, was filling the water tank with a hose. Being much brighter than his Dad, he reacted quickly. He turned that hose on that old mama hog and sprayed her down like a firefighter breaking up a riot! It stopped that old sow in her tracks for an instant and that little pig got loose and joined his mother and everything went back to normal.
Putin made me think of those hogs again this weekend. And you know what, I actually kind of miss those hogs. They gave me a chance to visit the neighbors fairly often.
 I remember one neighbor asking if I had insurance on those hogs because they were living in his wheat field. I assured him not to worry, wheat wouldn’t hurt them.