Runaway Sows on the Family Farm

A recalcitrant runaway sow escapes and causes havoc on an Iowa woman's family farm

| Good Old Days

In December of 1990, my husband and his brother were repairing hog gates on our family farm. In the process of opening and closing gates, one pen of sows got loose. The men were able to get all of the sows back in except one. She just refused to be driven. The men chased her all over. By that time I was out there to help too. The sow got buried in one huge snowdrift after another. She finally started heading in the right direction. Our relief was short-lived, because she took off running for my brother-in-law's place across the road. We chased her around there for a while. My sister-in-law came out to help too. Finally the sow got caught in some hay rakes. By that time she was exhausted. When we tried to get her out, she lunged viciously at us. We had no choice but to leave her there. We hoped she would come back on her own if she got rested up and grew hungry.

The next day there was evidence that she had been around the corncrib. However, the following day there was no sign of her. The next afternoon the neighbor stopped by and asked if we were missing a sow. We said, "Yes, as a matter of fact."

My husband and I went over to survey the situation. We decided to attempt a night rescue. There were no fences at that place. We thought maybe we could back the trailer up to the machine shed and use some gates to corral her. We knew it would be tricky. The sow had made a nest under some grain-handling equipment nearby.

That night before we went over we prayed, "Lord, help us to get that sow in the trailer. Help her to want to go in." We parked the trailer in the driveway so we could check out whether the sow was still there. When she saw the flashlights, she came tearing out like a madman. Then she spied the trailer. She came running toward it and then went past it onto the road. We prayed, "Lord, help her to come back." Just then, she turned around and came back to the trailer and started sniffing and grunting. My brother-in-law opened the door carefully and coaxed her, and she jumped right in. She was ready to go home. We didn't even have to use the gates.

Joy J. Palmer
Forest City, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 



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