Today we’re going to take a trip into history, 1954 to put a year on it.
This was the year that my father was taking us back into farming. We lived in town during 1954. My father moved the family; my mother and two older brothers, into the village of 350 when he went into military service in WWII. He’d also been working as a rural letter carrier before and after the military.
Finding a farm is not an immediate thing. and my parents had some definite criteria – school district, good roads to read the post office every day, land and building quality, and price. We rented a place that year, purchased a tractor, and raised some hogs.
My oldest brother, finished with sophomore year of high school, decided to enter five of these hogs into the county fair. This became a family project to some extent.
On a summer morning, while dad delivered mail, the rest of the family collected brushes, soap, and filled shotgun cans with hot water. (Only cold water was available to us at the rented place.) (Definition: shotgun can is a pail with straight sides and a lid that fits down like a box cover.)
The five selected hogs were confined in a lean-to attached to an old barn. The four of us – mother, two brothers, and me — scrubbed every bit of dirt and grime we could see and reach off of the hogs. They were used to being “handled” and were generally cooperative. Clean straw filled their area when we returned to town.
We had a thunderstorm that night. Either the lean-to received wind damage or the hogs panicked. Either way — in the morning they were out of their clean quarters and mixed in with the remaining hogs in the muddy yard.
We scrubbed five hogs that day — after they were selected out and confined in a log shed. Rinse and repeat? The repeat was not as much fun.
The hogs did well at the county fair and earned my brother a collection of ribbons and good comments from the judges.
Looking for a contemporary small town story? Check out Starr Tree Farm.
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