Monday, February 6, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 37th Installment

although, we did keep a bunch of birds for our chicken dinners and for our eggs. That’s why we had empty chicken coops and pens waiting for demolition.
         We also raised pigs. I remember we always had two or three, and I enjoyed the piglets when the sow would have a litter. They were fun to catch and hold when they were small and pink with soft bristly hair. The tiny pigs squeal was so piercing that it would make my ears ring. We would keep the piglets until they were four or five weeks old and then sell them as weaner pigs. A weaner is a pig that has just been weaned off of its mother’s milk. We kept a breeding pair and one pig to butcher and eat. The pigs were escape artists by rooting down into the dirt floor of the pen until one would discover he could root under the fence and race away. We build a pen out of eight inch poles with a couple buried into the ground and this held them until one figured out he could climb up the corner and escape over the top of the fence. One day Vernon, Linda, Russ, and I were chasing a fugitive from the pen by lining up and herding the pig toward the open gate of the pen where we had put some of the pig’s favorite food (a trough of milk). The food didn’t attract the porker this day. The pig was really wild eyed, grunting, squealing and moving very fast. Edith had come out to help even though she was six months pregnant. She took her place in line, and as luck would have it, the pig turned toward Linda, to Edith's left. Linda was rightfully afraid of this wild–eyed boar and screamed real shrill, as only a frightened girl could. The pig turned right and in two bounds went between Edith's legs causing her to abruptly sit on the boar's back. Edith rode the pig rodeo style for a few strides until the pig changed its mind, stopped and backed up as she slid off. The pig turned, giving up on freedom, and raced into the pen. After, a moment of worrying if Edith was hurt (she wasn't), we all started laughing. We laughed until we cried, and this became the yarn folks told around the farms of Hamer for many years. We stopped raising pigs when I was about twelve. I guess they were more trouble than they were worth.
         We also raised bum lambs; we would get several orphans every year. Across the road from our farm a huge sheep outfit set up their lambing sheds, and every spring the sheep men would bring in about 5,000 sheep. Sheep are seasonal breeders so lambing runs about a couple of months before the sheep return to the mountain grazing range. Russ and I would spend hours over at the lambing sheds talking to the sheepherders and workers, but mostly we would

500 more words tomorrow

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