One thing we’ve never been short of in our twenty year marriage is adventure. One of my favorites happened in the winter of 2011, and it all started with an ad spotted in the local paper: “Team of Mini-Mules, Complete with Harness and Wagon”. Our close friends, Wes and Melissa, already owned several mules, which they loved dearly and thought highly of. When Wes spotted the ad he decided this one-of-a-kind opportunity warranted investigation. So on a cold early December day the four of us packed into a vehicle and did just that.
When I was younger, we lived on a crop and cattle farm about five miles north of a little town named Martinsburg. We would occasionally get a dime here and a quarter there from relatives, or for some small job accomplished. The main thing we worked for, and saved our money for, was that once-in-a-blue moon trip to town that also happened to coincide with the point at which we had saved enough money to buy ourselves some candy. These days our kids seem to always have candy on hand, or it’s at least easily accessible. But for a farm kid with frugal parents in the 1980’s? Not so much. Let’s just say my brother and I could identify pretty closely with “The Little House on the Prairie” TV show, where half-pint gets one piece of candy a year for Christmas, along with a tin cup of her very own. My parents would probably argue with me, but I’m stickin’ to my guns on that one. Mostly because it’s my only excuse for the fateful decision that led to this story.
This past weekend was the weekend. Weaning day. It’s always fun and exciting, gathering our small herd of cattle on horseback and pushing them the mile or so down the road to our home pasture and our working pens. On this morning our good buddy Kenneth was there to help.
We raise black angus-cross cattle and maintain a small herd of 25 momma cows. Each one of these cows have been bought by us almost one at a time over the years, and several members of our herd have started out as bottle calves. They each have names and can certainly be classified as pets to our family, we know their personalities, their history and their temperaments very well. In short, we LOVE our cattle.
When I was a little girl of about 8 years old, we raised hogs. Not just a few here and there, but lots, and lots of hogs. I have no idea how many, I was 8. Still, I know there were LOTS of HOGS on our farm. Along with cattle, and sheep and horses, and other furry critters. But this story has to do with our porcine, curly tailed friends, the piggies.
On this clear, beautiful October day in Missouri, it was time to take a load of hogs to the auction barn and sell them. My older brother and I were excited at the prospect of a trip to town and a chance to get off the farm.