Monday, November 12, 2012

Uncle's Livestock


I don't know much, or anything, about durocs, hampshires, poland chinas or hogs in general.  These, I believe, are china.

My Uncle Ellis, who was an auctioneer and a farmer, had some livestock on his farm, e-i-e-i-o.  He had a sow which, at the time of my last visit with him, was confined to a very sturdy stall in the barn.  The quickest and most efficient way to get to the nether regions of the farm was to pass through the barn.  Uncle advised me to give Ms. Piggy's stall a wide berth, for, he said, she is perfectly capable of reaching much farther past the wall than one might think, and her intent in so doing would be to bite off my arm.

It didn't take much warning to this city boy.

Down in the back forty was another animal resident of the farm, a jackass which Uncle had bid in at an auction he had cried a year or so earlier.  It had, he said, become a pretty good pet, but it had been a bit intractable at first.

Uncle Ellis told me that fairly early on in their relationship he wanted Jack to go from the barn lot to a field across the road.  In order to exit the home place, one had to transit a wooden bridge over a small rill.  Jack walked down the lane so far as the bridge, but refused to step onto it.  Uncle cajoled, he smacked the animal in the face with his hat. Uncle probably cursed and stomped.  Nothing doing.  The farmer walked back to the barn and picked up a three-foot length of two-by-four.  With this persuader, he smacked the donkey on the rear.  Repeatedly.  No go.  So it was get a log-chain and fire up the Oliver.  Everything in position, donkey chained, tractor up and across bridge.  Now as it was told to me, the donkey crossed the bridge, but he never lifted a hoof across the entire span!

To my knowledge, Uncle Ellis never took a vacation in all the years he lived on that place.  Dairy cows, doncha know.  And we won't even talk about his getting caught up in the nutria raising bidness.


Shelly said...

Your first paragraph alone brought back a plethora of memories as I grew up raising show and commercial hogs on our family farm. And as the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, I think that is the most demanding of any type of animal raising.

Sharkbytes said...

Too funny! Farming isn't really for "gentleman farmers," eh?

vanilla said...

Shelly, we live in the heart of "hog country" and I enjoy seeing the youngsters show their livestock at the 4-H fair. But I've no inclination to be involved beyond that level. Well, I can be persuaded to eat the ham and bacon.

Shark, farming is serious and not always profitable business. We need to appreciate the things these people do for us.

Secondary Roads said...

Experience tells me that hogs are not always nice. Even if they are good to eat.

vanilla said...

Chuck, experience is a great teacher. Apparently you have had an up-close-and-personal encounter with swine.

Lin said...

Animals are expensive and hard to keep. Many farmers are ditching animals for the crop and windmill business now.

vanilla said...

Lin, it is true that most animals are raised in factory-style operations. When I moved to this county forty years ago, virtually every farm had hogs or other livestock. Now one could count the hog operations on the fingers of one hand-- but they are big operations.