March 30, 2010


I talked to my little brother yesterday. His latest project is fattening two hogs for the upcoming Memorial Day week-end. I was so interested in his pigs. I know my interest stems from the years that as a child we raised pigs for our meat in the winter. Pigs are smelly and ugly animals, but to me I was always fasinated with them. We even tried to ride the ones in our pig pen. The fence around them was electric. My dad and uncle, the drinkers they were made a game out of the electric fence. I can remember them daring one another to see who could hold on to the wire longer. On occasion I have seen sparks flying from Daddy's work boots he had held on so long. The grin on his face was unforgettable. A smurky, pain filled grin as he held on to the fence surrounding the pigs we were to eat in the fall.

Another thing that stands out in my memory is the pigs eating coal. The coal that we burned in a coal burning heater. Black hard coal. The pigs would crunch on it like it was peppermint candy. My brother and I would feed them more coal than a pig should be allowed. I often wondered why Grandmother let us feed it to them. I have just recently learned that coal was a nutrient that pigs needed. Old people knew this from generations before them. My grandparents knew this would not hurt the aniamal and was possibly even good for them. We were going to eat an animal that had eaten coal, seems strange.

The killing of the hogs was always an eventful day. We had a man that came early on the day we were to kill them. He must have been the expert on the actual shooting of them. The slaughter was also done in a professional mannner. The throat had to cut at the right time for the blood to not escape into the meat we were to eat. The removal of the hair was also cool to me. This was done at a small creek a couple of miles from where we lived. There was a large square tub that the dead pig was placed in. The water was boiled by building a fire under the tub. The water heated so that it was hot enough to scold the hair off of the dead pig.
With the hair removed the pig then was brought back to our house. The expert pig killing black guy then cut the pig into the parts we knew as our winter meals. The pig was best for our breakfasts. Sauage that was made the way we did no longer can be found.

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