Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Posts Tagged ‘“Little House On The Prairie”

“Opal” The Hog Farmer by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

leave a comment »

Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Hog Farmer

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

Missouri Hillbilly

Opal M. DeLong Warren, would proudly proclaim to someone she had just met, “ I am a Missouri Hillbilly.” Opal may not be The Show Me State’s First Woman Hog Farmer, but, she should certainly be in the rankings as “One Of Missouri’s Most Prolific Women Hog Farmers.” From 1960 until 1982, Opal had 25 sows of the Yorkshire, Hampshire and Duroc breeds that raised litters of pigs that averaged 12 to 18 pigs per litter. Of the awards that she earned in her lifetime, one of her favorites was the year, the Galena Chapter of the Future Farmers of America presented her with a Chapter Farmer Award.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 1960, momma and I moved to a farm in Missouri. Through the years, her herd of hogs would expand to 25 sows of Yorkshire, Hampshire and Duroc breeds.

 

Our United Nations of Pork would welcome litters of 10 to 18 pigs, running, rooting and squealing over the landscape for 20 years.

 

In the process, the 10 acres of land would come to resemble the lunar landscape thanks to the dedicated snouts of hogs rooting into the soil. The air was always fresh and clean.

 

Of course, when the wind shifted and the aroma of hog manure assaulted your nostrils, people would always reconsider their “Tom Sawyer” and “Little House On The Prairie” philosophies of “Life In The Country.”

 

The Good Ole’ Days Of Pork Production”

 

Hogs always got the “bad publicity” for the smell of livestock manure in the country. Every time people “pushed” to implement “Planning and Zoning” one of the favorite fairy tales that the critics would shout is, “You don’t want your neighbor to put in a ‘hog farm’, next to your property.”

 

The Planning and Zoning argument is silly. If you have a “sensitive nose” – stay the hell away from a farm !

 

Hogs always got the bad publicity. Yet, all farms have barns, barnyards and feed lots. It does not matter if the farm is a dairy farm, a cattle farm, a mule farm, a horse farm, or a horse ranch, livestock takes care of their daily body functions. When the breeze shifts, your nose will notice. Manure is manure and it always smells bad.

 

Nonetheless, the 1960s through the early 1980s were “The Good Ole’ Days Of Pork Production,” when hog buyers through the country would stop by and pay you top dollar for a litter of well-fed feeder pigs ready for market.

 

Lost In Place

 

Green Acres” was one of my favorite television shows as a kid. Eddie Albert played the New York City lawyer, who moves to the “boonies” to live the simple life of a farmer. There was a major element of truth to the script; you really do need “a successful lawyer’s salary if you want to be a farmer in the United States.”

 

Hungarian bombshell actress, Eva Gabor played the role of the New York City socialite wife, who was miserable living out in the “boonies” on a farm. The actresses discontent is another major element of “truth”: rural life is not as convenient as city life.

 

In Galena, Missouri in 2011, the nearest hospital was at least 40 miles away in Springfield, Missouri and Aurora, Missouri. There is also a hospital about 25 miles away in Branson, Missouri. Medical emergencies rely on the ambulances and sometimes medical helicopter flights.

 

The nearest pizza in the rural area around Galena in 2011 was about five miles away at Speedee’s in Galena or 10 miles away in Crane, Missouri.

 

In the rural surroundings of Galena, Missouri, after 8 p.m., you will have to wait to the next day or get in the car and drive to Springfield, Branson West or Branson if you want a pizza, taco or movie.

 

The Biggest Gamblers In The World

 

A curious irony of life in the Midwest is the conservative, religious culture is against “gambling”; yet, farmers are some of the ‘Biggest Gamblers In The World” because nature and weather always seems to be “rigging the deck” against farmers.

 

Everyday is a “Gamble” for a farmer because nature, weather, falling crop and livestock prices can leave a farmer and his or her family homeless in a couple of years.

 

Cash Cows Of Farm Finances

 

ARMCHAIR FARMER Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._resizedA cow will have one calf a year, while an old sow can have two to three litters a year with the number of pigs ranging from six to 18.

 

In farming, cattle are usually considered as the “Cash Cows of Farm Finances” in raising livestock, but, in southwest Missouri in the 1960s, it was easier to get into hog farming. Hogs provided a stable, consistent revenue stream which allowed a farmer to expand into other areas of livestock production like beef cattle. Momma’s hogs provided the money for her to get a herd of about 50 Black Angus cattle. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

It takes about a year to raise a beef heifer or steer to the size to send to market. It takes a few months to raise a pork litter of pigs to the size to send to market.

 

If you have the land and the money then buy your Stetson, boots, high priced tractors, babe magnet farm pickups, fancy stock trailers and invest in a herd of horses or cattle.

 

If you have a small budget and need to get into livestock farming quickly, buy you a couple of sows, rent you a couple of acres of land away from nosy neighbors and planning and zoning bureaucrats and get into hog farming.

 

Farming is a business like any business with it’s own up and downs. Cattle and horse farming is like trying to build a multinational, global corporation overnight. Hog farming is like realizing you need a small business to build into a global corporation.

 

Momma grew up on a farm, so she knew that hogs is your best overall money-making agricultural investment.

 

Chicken farming and turkey farming makes money, but, there is a sizable investment in building the big, long chicken and turkey houses for poultry. Raccoons, foxes, wolves and snakes love chicken and turkey, perhaps, more than people, so the “hen house” and turkey houses have to be designed to keep out these types of wildlife.

 

Crop farming takes a lot of land and you have to rely on the weather to give you the right amount of rainfall and sunshine at the right time. Weather never cooperates with farmers.

 

Plus crop farming takes several months to get the seeds in the ground up to a harvest height. If the weather doesn’t get you, then, falling prices and insect pests will. After the American Civil War, a small pest,called the “boll weevil” kept cotton crop production down in the south until during the 1980s.

 

Hog farmers usually stand a greater chance of success than other types of farmers based on the investment needed to get up and running and the ability to keep things up and running over time.

 

As you make money, then, you can invest in cattle or crops and consider setting aside your rubber boots for the hand tooled leather cowboy boots to wear to the stockman’s club.

KEROSENE LANTERN 3505 STATE HWY 176 YARD SALE_resized

The Coal Oil Lantern

Farmers in the Missouri Ozarks usually called the lanterns, “coal oil lanterns”, instead of kerosene. In the 1960s, in southwest Missouri, electricity wasn’t always stable, especially when heavy snowfall had tree limbs freezing, breaking off and taking down power lines for two to three days at a time. The lanterns provided light in a hog shed at night, which came in handy when an old sow was giving birth to a litter of pigs. By the mid-1960s, Samuel E. Warren, my father, used his electrician skills to put lights in momma’s hog sheds. Still, we kept a lantern, in the corner of the sheds, just in case the lights went out. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thank God For Hogs

 

Momma’s hogs put me through grade school, high school and let me chill out in college until I signed up for a military career.  

 

Around 1965, momma got some Black Angus cattle, which made money. But, the real dollars and sense of southwest Missouri farming for our family from the 1960s through 1980 came from the hogs.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, the business woman, knew the secret of financial success is saving and managing your money whether you work in public or are self employed. I should of learned these lessons earlier in life.

 

Perhaps, now, that I have written down these lessons, people will read and understand the common sense Ozarks logic, so that you never go hungry or thirsty and you don’t always have to worry about the roof over your head at night.

 

As long as people enjoy a good steak or a slice of ham, farmers will have jobs. In my country boy opinion, vegans and vegetarians are welcome to their plants and pasture grasses.

 

Keep in mind, though on any farm I live on, “The cattle have first choice at the pasture grasses. The vegans and vegetarians will just have to settle for the blades of grass in my front yard.”

 

And, come breakfast, I usually have a “hankerin’” for some pork chops, ham,sausage,and bacon.

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Food, Money, Nature, Opinion, Real Estate - Warren Land, Stone County History

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The Forgotten White House” monument of “The American Family” — Editorial

with 2 comments

“The

Forgotten

White

House”


monument

of

“The

American

Family”

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – The White House. Number 10 Downing Street – is usually known to Americans, as the Official Residence of the British Prime Minister.

When crisis strikes citizens of the world, turn to the official world famous addresses for guidance.

International news network satellite trucks rush to the scene. Television reporters and radio reporters fall out and scramble to get as close as possible for an official statement or reaction. Newspaper and magazines send their reporters and photographers to wade into the ranks and find a spot to get the official words into the print media.

Crisis always turns these buildings into the most important structures on the planet. No one ever rushes to the U.S. Capitol Building – the offices of Congress. No one ever rushes to Buckingham Palace – the impressive symbol of the British monarchy.

People in times of crisis, expect leadership. Thus, citizens turn to the structure, where a leader emerges and provides the common sense and intelligence to assure citizens that the action is being taken and there is a plan to end the crisis.

In peacetime, the world famous addresses, perform their functions and citizens take out their cameras and smile at the noble tourist attractions.

Camp David

Sometimes, other locations appear in the global news media headlines like Camp David in the United States – the official country retreat of the President of the United States of America and his guests, but Camp David is not open to the general public.

United States Army General Dwight David Eisenhower, named the location, “Camp David” to honor his father and grandson, both named “David.” Of course, the general had been elected president. Camp David is one of those locations in the world that sometimes rises to global prominence.

In September 1978, President James Earl Carter Jr., “Jimmy Carter” hosted the Camp David Accords, at the retreat, between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat.

The Forgotten White House”

The Forgotten White House” at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts is one of those global beacons of democracy whose light would erupt through the crisis of confusion and darkness. It served as an international beacon of confidence and conviction in the midst of chaos and confusion.

A “Summer White House” of the Kennedy Administration, Hyannis Port would appear in international media headlines and the “Kennedy Compound” became the “Camelot” that would not pass into history.

Unlike “Official United States Government buildings, sites, locations and real estate – the Kennedy Compound was a summer home of the Kennedy family that always captured the imaginations of Americans on the street.

The Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port represented the “American Family” at a time when the concept of “family in America” was only a reality in Hollywood movies and Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Little House On The Prairie” books.

At the end of World War II, people knew the concept of family had changed in America and began using the term “Nuclear Family.” But, the detonation came with the Vietnam War, divorces escalated and the deaths in Vietnam made “single parent families,” the rule, rather than the exception. The concept of “family” was gone in America.

Grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles and “The Extended Family Concept” of America was left to historians to arrange a possible exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution – probably, somewhere near the dinosaurs.

An American way of life had vanished. However, the concept of “family in America” still reigned at the Kennedy Compound. Times of great celebration and tragedy sent members of the Kennedy family to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port.

America’s Noble Family”

I have heard Brits smile and call the Kennedy family, “America’s Royal Family.” With all due respect to Her Majesty’s “subjects,” these British citizens missed the point completely. America is a nation of tourist attractions – we don’t need a royal family to capture market share of the tourism industry.

The Kennedy family was always “America’s Noble Family,” no matter what celebration, crisis or tragedy struck that family or the nation, the family members would return to the compound and in a few days would emerge to once again serve as living symbols of strength, conviction and commitment to family.

The Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts served as the eternal symbol “Family Can Survive And Thrive.”

Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy Senior and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy owned the real estate that was a summer home to their sons: President of the United States of America John Fitzgerald Kennedy, United States Attorney General and Democrat Presidential Party Nominee Robert Kennedy and United States Senator Edward Kennedy.

For decades, Americans could watch the Kennedy family – fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, cousins, nieces, nephews and relatives – in times of tragedy or triumph make the pilgrimage to Hyannis Port.

The Kennedy Compound’s importance – to this American – is that the Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port seemed a “Jerusalem” and that “Holy Land” always seemed to allow a Kennedy family member to rise up to any challenge.

A Kennedy family member would emerge with the knowledge that their family stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them. “An attack on one Kennedy seemed an attack on all” to include in-laws. Alexander Dumas,’ “Three Musketeers” – “One For All, And All For One” was an American reality and the family name was, “Kennedy.”

No matter what the world threw at a Kennedy, the family stood beside, never behind, to withstand the slings and arrows of controversy and criticism. Like the Washington Monument and The Statue of Liberty, the Kennedy Compound was “A National Symbol of Strength and Perseverance”

The United States has many buildings that are listed as the birthplace of a president. But, the United States Government does not have any buildings that serve as a symbol of “The American Family.”

The Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts is that symbol of “The American Family”

With the death of Senator Edward Kennedy it was announced that the Kennedy Compound would be donated to charity.

The American Jerusalem” finally succumbs to the sands of history.

The Holy Land of Family” becomes an eroding pyramid in the searing sunlight of the reality of American real estate.

It is sad that the United States Government would not attempt to purchase a truly national monument.

Now, future generations of Americans will hear the stories of immigrant families that came to America and the families of the farms and in the villages that transformed a vast real estate wilderness into a great nation and shrug off what sounds like historical fiction.

Americans, in time, will think of families as mythical creations of units of people, who simply shared common beliefs and economic interests.

Future American generations may not realize that the reality of the American family dissolved into the reality of lone individuals adrift in the “Oceans of Life,” without love, guidance, a rudder or a beacon of a distant lighthouse to shine through the daily chaos of humanity.

Sam

Written by samwarren55

June 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Editorial, Family

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: