We got one of our pigs drunk this week, accidentally.
My husband and I racked two five-gallon carboys — one cyser, and the other spiced cranberry mead — leaving us with a gallon pail of lees, the dead yeast and fermented bits of fruit, as well as a bunch of thick, cloudy alcohol that we didn’t bother saving. It was too much to flush down the toilet, and if we threw it in the garden, the dogs would eat it (we know this because we offered them a test sample and they went for it), so “Feed it to the pigs?” I suggested.
“No way,” my child said. “You’ll make them sick.”
The bucket of lees sat on the counter for a whole day until my husband and I finally agreed it could be disposed of in the field. Dump it out in the field, we instructed the child firmly, overriding the loud oppositions. Tossed in a wide arc, we explained, the majority of alcohol would seep into the ground, and the chickens and pigs would have to actively search to find the bits of fruit. There are a lot of animals and not much fruit. It’d be fine.
But the child didn’t hear the bit about the wide arc (perhaps my husband and I spoke more to each other than the child? perhaps the child thought the parents were overriding the concern about drunk animals with their parental wisdom? perhaps the child simply wasn’t thinking?), because the child, that dear, dear child, poured that bucket of lees directly into the pigs’ breakfast bowl.
That afternoon the child’s sibling reported that something was wrong with one of the pigs. “It’s laying in the field, twitching and not moving.”
As of yet unaware of the pigs’ special breakfast, I said, “Did one of the cows step on it? Is it injured?”
“It’s breathing really heavy.”
And then it dawned on me. I phoned the child-turned-pig bartender and inquired how, exactly, the lees had been disposed of.
Child: I fed it to the pigs. Like you told me to.
Me: One of the pigs is passed out in the field.
Child: I told you they’d get drunk!
Me: I know. Which is why we told you to throw it out in the field. YOU MAY HAVE KILLED A PIG.
We both snorted — the situation was just too absurd to stay mad — but dang, it’d sure be a bummer if the pig died.
The inebriated pig was loaded unto a wagon and haul into the milking shed to sleep it off. Six hours later the pig was still snoring heavily, so I called my older son who was at the hospital in the middle of his ER shift.
Me: What do you do with drunk patients?
Him: Let them sleep it off.
Me: You don’t induce vomiting?
Him: No meds, and we don’t pump stomachs anymore.
I told him about our drunk pig. “Will it die?”
Him: Maybe, but probably not.
Me: Can I bring a drunk pig to the ER? Think they’d treat him?
Him: Do it.
(I did not do it.)
The next morning, my husband reported the pig was still sleeping, but a little later the kids said it was waking up, slowly spinning in circles. At noon, I went down to check on the pig myself.
He was wobbly-legged, but standing. He looked stoned.
I offered him water. He declined. He snuffled the ground, gingerly rearranging the wood chips and hay that made up his bed.
I left him to it, and by that evening he was walking around again. Now, a couple days later, he’s completely back to normal.
This same time, years previous: banoffee pie, ricotta pancakes, launching, the quotidian (1.27.20), overnight baked oatmeal, vindication, women’s march on Washington, through my lens: a wedding, and then we moved into a barn.