Tag Archives: pigs

Now bring us some Piggy Pudding*

13 Dec

*If you don’t already own the John Denver & The Muppets Christmas album, do yourself a 1 minute and 6 second favor and listen to this selection.  Now, on with the post:

There are many ways in which I have failed my children.  Some of which, I’m aware.  For instance I know that we have never given any of them a proper birthday party with peers, party favors and presents out the wazoo.

Of other failings, I am blissfully unaware.  Those are the worst.  Everything can be swimming along merrily – wait!  they don’t know how to swim yet!  What kind of mother am I??!!??  ARG.

Okay, as I was saying, everything seems peachy-keen and then – BOOM!  Out of nowhere you are smacked alongside the head with yet another unfulfilled area of your offspring’s lives.

This is how it was at the zoo last week.  I mean the actual zoo.  John Ball Zoo was celebrating Christmas for the Animals, so we downloaded their list, and checked it twice.  Then we grabbed some Jello,

peanut butter,


and our children, and headed down, because who wouldn’t want to give Jello to the animals?  Cecilia, that’s who.  I guess she has something against them having flavored ice.  Come to think of it, why do they need flavored ice?

Aside from the separation anxiety over the gelatin dessert, the day seemed to have all the necessary ingredients for a lovely family outing:  cool weather, free admission, no crowds, and happy critters.  We drifted through the animals, taking our merry time, laughing all the way.

The storks didn’t seem overly concerned about delivering a newborn babe to a young virgin mother, instead they were busy having a little jousting match.  

“Four Fighting Storks”, may soon replace the Calling Birds in our boys’ rendition of The Twelve Days.

The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown rival this beauty that we photographed for my Mom’s sake.  So Mom, what is it?

I can’t wait until she tells us, because of all the trees that are in the zoo, this berry wears the crown.

There were no bells on bob tails, but there was an ice sculpture of  a bob cat that made our spirits bright.

All except Thomas’ that is.  He went into a little meltdown because the sculpture was erroneously located in the African section of the zoo.  Gladly the artist could take the heat, even if his artwork couldn’t.

Also in the African section was this lovely lioness who is surely hoping that Santa will bring her five tasty lads and lasses for Christmas.

She’s undoubtedly been a good girl.  And even if she hasn’t, who’s going to argue with her?

There were other harmonious holiday moments as we strolled through the nearly empty zoo – games, free stickers and bookmarks, the opportunity to pet a snake (I’ll spare you that picture) and a chance to actually visit with our children about what we were seeing – something I find a frequent challenge in crowded public venues.

So when did the parenting ball drop as quickly as if it were in Times Square on New Year’s Eve?  When we ended our visit to the zoo with a quick stop by the Farm where my eldest son and I had the following conversation:

Me:  Look boys, they have all the animals penned together, the cows, the goats, the chickens and the pigs.
Simeon:  There aren’t any pigs, Mom.
Me:  Yes, there are.  Look, right there. (Pointing to the pig standing just 20 sloppy feet away.)
Simeon:  But Mom, it’s not pink.

Errata:  My mother just politely, and privately pointed out to me that my Storks are Pelicans.  I have no explanation for my animal identification ignorance but would note that obviously my apples don’t fall far from their tree.


Grappa Grab

5 Nov

There is something in today’s Grab Bag Special on which I want to focus. No, on which I NEED to focus. Is it the pig? Well, my sister and I have never had a fear of pigs, that’s certain. Piglets, especially, reside warmly within the memory of my heart. The charm of those silky ears and the sweet rubbery nuzzle of their sweet rubbery schnozz sends drizzles of syrupy warmth through my veins. It seems odd, doesn’t it? To speak of porkers with such positive passion? Well, yes, but that’s not why I’m here today. Nope.

What about sweet little Christina in this photo? So curious. So innocent. SO rockin’ the 1970’s polka dot sweat suit. Is this her first porcine exposure? Doubtful. We were well-versed in all things hog. (Shush!) But, once again, my focus is elsewhere.

Where? See that gentleman? The consummate farmer? THAT man. He is the attention capturer in  this photo. That is Grappa. Farmer, Seedcorn Salesman, WW2 Vet, Lutheran, Coffee-er, Husband, Father, Grandfather. That man. Oh! I love that man. I ache because in their lives my children don’t have his influence. They will never be taken in by those teasing baby blues. They’ll never see his gnarled worker’s hands folded in prayer. The gruff love he gave the meanest cat in creation is a lost anomaly. My boys have some amazing male influences. But, there was something about the combination of grizzly, seed bag tossing, toothpick chewing, implement running farmer with pleasing, softhearted, Cert doling, eye twinkling grandpa that will never be recreated for my babies.

I mean, LOOK AT HIM! I can smell the Old Spice/Spearmint/earthy goodness of him just by LOOKING! Look at how gently those work-beaten hands cradle that sweet animal. Look at how he knowingly gets down on Christina’s level and makes the most beautiful eye contact with her. That eye contact! I can FEEL it.

So that’s it. Today’s Grab Bag Special is extra, well, special. I can’t stop staring at this poignant snapshot. I’m sure I’ll continue to stare well beyond the average blog surfer. Feel free to join me.

Where My Past Meets My Present and Changes Blogs

10 Oct

Thanks to the generous flour mill lending of my fellow other-blogger Jeannette, and Super Walmart’s affordable bag of wheat berries I set out on a whole new journey last week – grinding my own flour.

For those of you who worry that this might be the very last straw – ha!  ha!  Get it?  “Straw!” – in my journey towards being a conservative-crunchy-granola-homeschooling-weirdo, fear not.  I either entered into that territory a long time ago, or I’m no where near it.  I can’t really tell.  But crunchy granola is super-duper yummy.

The tie-dyed shirt might be incriminating evidence.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what flour grinding has to do with my past, or reading classic novels.  Hold on just a second.  I’ll get there.  Just be patient.  I have to help you slowly navigate through my mind, which is a bit of a dangerous journey.

As we tore open the bag of wheat and reached into the little berries I was immediately transported back to the quonset.  You remember the quonset, right?  It was in the Rural Dictionary which you were supposed to commit to memory, so I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The quonset was where we stored pig feed.  Do you know what pigs eat?  Do you?  Have you ever really thought about it?  The answer is not ham.  Or bacon.  You’re confused.  In books pigs eat slop.  And to be sure, we did not own a garbage disposal and my family always called the one in my Gramma’s house “the electric pig,” but that is hardly the sole sustenance of the porcine species.

No, they eat grain.  I guess.  I never actually gave a lot of thought to what pig feed was until I tore open that bag of wheat and little particles floated up my nose and into my memory bank.  That wheat smelled exactly like pig feed.

I know, you’re thinking that I probably found it all very unappetizing and had to abandon my plans to become a anti-establishment, hippie, tree-hugging, unschooler who lives in a commune. Well, fear not.  I am wholly dedicated to yummy pizza crust.  Because pig feed smells good.

Again, I think you are confused.  It’s the pigs that don’t smell good.  And definitely what they turn the feed into reeks the hairs right off your nostrils.  But the pre-digested food?  That’s a smell Yankee could put in wax and burn.

The sniffing is genetic.

And it tastes good, too.  Or at least that’s what Dad always said when he tried to shock us by chewing on a pinch of the Baby Pig Food.  We learned later that the secret ingredient in that rich, black formula was molasses.  Plus, it was an excellent source of iron.

You made it this far into my scary mind journey, are you ready to go a little further and find out how this all connects to classic literature?  Well, then you’ll have to follow me, over to my other blog . . .

Are you coming?

Feed Bag of Memories

1 Aug

It’s time for another thrilling installment of . . .

Grab Bag Special

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  I might have done a bit of my own work on the bangs.  Why are bangs a reoccurring theme in these pictures?

So, did you know that our dad used to raise pigs?  When I left home he got out of the business.  Read into that what you must.

But weren’t they cute?  (I’m talking solely about the pigs now.)  And loud, let me tell you!  On days when I feel the need to complain about the noisiness of my household I need to remember that wicked combination of volume and frequency that could curdle milk.  You know that’s why we drink cow’s milk and not pig’s, right?  No?

Okay, I don’t know why we don’t drink pigs milk.  They have something like 8-12 milk nozzles (I’m trying not to get any unwanted hits here, so please forgive the technical terminology.)  That seems like a pretty rich resource for tapping milk to me.

Back to the picture now.  Let’s focus on that feed Co-op feed bag.  On our Vogelsang Girls’ 5K we ran past the Co-op and the smell of the feed in the air reminded us of some of the best school field trips ever.  There weren’t a lot of options for field trips, so once a year we went into town and toured some of the businesses – the bank, library, newspaper, jail, and of course Farmers Ranchers Co-op.

They always gave us Saf-T-pops with the CO OP logo on them.  The sign of a good field trip location was always it’s free give-away at the end, and that sucker placed the feed store pretty high.  It wasn’t as good as the year that the bank let us go back into the vault and then gave us pens stuffed with shredded dollar bills, though.  I remember bragging that we didn’t keep our money at that bank, so ours was much safer.