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

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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

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October Creature Feature–Halloween Horror

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October Creature Feature

 Peter Benchley’s

Creature

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

They are some movies that defy description. After you watch the movie; you find yourself asking the question, “Did I like that movie ?”

Peter Benchley’s Creature is one of those movies that makes you stop, scratch your head and scrunch up your face and ask yourself, “Why am I still thinking about that creature feature ?”

Movies, TV shows, novels, books, and short stories always challenge the reader to accept or reject the idea based on whether or not the idea is “believable” in your mind.

Shark Man

This film should challenge your “believability” factor. Imagine, a shark man.

If the image of a shark man doesn’t come right away, think of traditional mythology and the creature called the “Centaur.” Pictures, drawings and artwork of centaurs are everywhere. A Zodiac symbol for Sagittarius is the “Centaur” and modern Western Astrology named some celestial body out in space, Chiron, “The Wounded Healer” and the descriptions get all misty-eyed about a centaur type creature, who can heal everyone in the Universe, except himself.

Centaur Symbolism ?

Now, if you can accept, in your mind, the ancient mythology picture of a “Centaur,” half-man and half-horse; why can’t you accept the idea of a shark man ? What freaked me out about the creature on film; is the shark man has the upper torso of a shark and the lower torso of a man. With this picture in your mind, let us look at this movie overall.

Washed up Water Warriors

The movie starts off believable. The military people in the movie, probably did not have a military technical advisor or a US military retiree anywhere near the set because the so-called military actors as a rule could use a hair cut. Their khaki US Navy uniforms look like they slept in them and their “fruit salad” on their chest – does look like a blob of dried fruit salad – rather than military ribbons.

Bottom line, do not look at these actors pretending to be military to get an idea how to wear a military uniform or place the name tags and ribbons.

I suspect someone on the crew may have had a hard time trying to figure out how to place a baseball cap on the actors’ head because the story calls for a military angle.

Unfortunately, the haircuts and uniforms are so out in left field that it would have been better to put green body paint and uniforms on the actors and refer to them as “Plastic Green Army Men.”

The military angle early in the film’s story gives you a somewhat realistic starting point.

Aloha Ah Ha !

The civilians on the tropical island in the middle of the ocean seem like civilians on a tropical island in the middle of the ocean.

Aries Craig T. Nelson plays Dr. Simon Chase. Leo Kim Cattrall plays Dr. Amanda Mayson. Nelson and Cattrall both come across as passionate, driven, scientists out to save the planet and the world’s oceans.

Of course, while the valiant scientists champion the cause to save the ocean, the unknown sea creature turns tourists and natives into shrimp cocktail appetizers. Once the body count rises, of course, everyone gets excited about a “shark” type creature out in the water.

The suspense builds. You are tempted to start digging through boxes and tossing out books on genetics, DNA, RNA, chromosomes, stem cells, nerve cells and dash for the nearest medical torso to look at the brain. Then, you see a flash of the “shark man.”

Whoa !

Dude !

You sit down on the sofa. If you have the movie on DVD, click the remote.

Shark Shock !

The shark man is a centaur in reverse. If you had been told a Centaur had the head of a horse and the body of a man; then, the “shark man” may not be as much of a “Shock.”

But, since the “shark man” has a shark head, partial torso, plus the arms and legs of a man; it took my eyes and mind awhile to work out this overall creature concept in my head.

Someone pick up the cell phone and call the Academy Awards judges. If the Academy did not give an “Oscar” to the creature feature people on this flick, then, the Academy need to get together and realize her is a “Unique Creature Feature Moment.”

The creature is not a hungry Mermaid.

The creature is not a harpy, mythological Siren.

The creature is not a Merman.

Whoa !

Dude !

The creature is a shark man.

The Academy’s “creature feature” people should take a look at the unique sea monster.

Applaud The Creature Creators !

Here is a totally unbelievable monster. Yet, when you look at it for a few moments, it becomes “believable.” If there is one chance in a billion that a scientist working on diseases, bacteria, viruses, or genetic abnormalities decides to try a key to make a genetic cohesion between a human gene and a shark ( – Pause, for a moment, to allow the cold shiver to shoot down your spine) the unimaginable might be born in an aquarium or a hospital.

Seriously, an Oscar needs to go to the “creature” creators in this film. They created a totally unbelievable monster that is completely believable if you consider a genetic glitch that manages to evolve against the medical odds.

Overall the film seems somewhat believable to the point, I saw the “shark man.”

Sicko Scientist’s Lame Logic “Humanizes” The Shark Man

The actor, who plays the stereotypical mad scientist does an excellent job in giving the creature a sense of humanity to the shark man. The irony, of course, is a shark is usually considered an efficient, professional, aquatic killing machine, whose sole mission in life seems to be feed and give birth to more sharks.

The mad scientist adds credibility to the shark by demonstrating that his years of research, passion and drive have really made the mad scientist a modern day Baron von Frankenstein and the creature is more human than the creator.

I could tell you the Hollywood ending for this film, but, I don’t want to ruin the ending for you.

Where Is That Remote ?

If you have this movie, in your personal movie library, then, dust off the VCR box or DVD case and put the movie in the player.

If you don’t have this move, then, find other reviews on line and if you are still interested, then, there are the Netflix and Blockbuster websites.

You might want to grab, your coat and car keys and head out to your local Safeway, Piggly Wiggly, A& P, Wal-Mart, Price-Cutter or other grocery store or a local video store to buy or rent the movie.

If you are like me, you might want to stroll past the Twizler, red licorice strips candy, Kit Kat bars, malted milk balls, candy corn and popcorn on your way to the checkout counter with the movies. Movies always make me appreciate “my sweet tooth.” Did you remember to pick up a box of Junior Mints ?

Five Star Family Creature Feature

I give this movie Five Stars because it is a great “Creature Feature.” It forces you to consider that something that seems so “unbelievable” under the right circumstances just might be “believable.” The actors and actresses in this film do an excellent job in adding to the overall story,

Alas, there are no jack o’ lanterns, scarecrows, zombies, vampires, mummies, knife wielding psychotic serial killers or other obvious October Halloween themes that you would expect for a creature feature to make your Halloween horror viewing list.

Voodoo, Hoodoo; Do You Do Halloween Horror Flicks ?

However, the island location and actions by the natives leads the viewer to think of Voodoo, Hoodoo or Santeria. And, a passing moment of an actress jostling small animal bones in her hands suggests their might be some kind of tropical “mojo” Halloween magick, which allows us to part the Veil Between The Worlds and invite you to take a front row seat in our Halloween Theater of the Macabre.

There is the Woe Is Me I Am A Rebellious Teenager” moments in the film, but, the creature’s conviction to “feed his need to feed” drowns the whole adolescent “I want to grow up to be somebody” storyline as everyone races the clock to try and find the thinking shark that is turning the island into a “Surf and Turf Platter.”

Sam

 

“Swamp Thing” October Creature Feature Viewing

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October Creature Feature – Halloween Movie Review

Swamp Thing

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Helen Of Troy is, according to historians, “The Most Beautiful Woman Who Ever Lived.” Historians love to point out that Helen was so beautiful, “Her Face Launched A Thousand Ships,” and, of course, started a War.

Historians are great people. Unfortunately, some historians are “incurable romantics.”

Since Helen Of Troy didn’t leave behind a driver’s license photo, modeling publicity shots of any kind, a family photo album, a voter’s ID, wallet photos, or a police mug shot – we have to rely on the descriptions of some historians.

Damsel In Distress

In my lifetime, I have seen many beautiful women. Some were simply walking down the street.

As a young man, one of the first women I ever fell “Madly In Love And Lust With From A Distance” was Adrienne Barbeau.

The first time I ever saw Miss Barbeau in a movie I could not take my eyes off of her. A beautiful Gemini brunette, who on the silver screen was the classic “Damsel In Distress” in the movie, “Swamp Thing.”

I was born in 1955, so almost all of the women I ever fell “Madly in Lust and Love With At First Sight” were Hollywood movie and TV actresses.

Adrienne Barbeau, plays the lead actress in this movie, “Swamp Thing.”

Obviously, “Swamp Thing” did not become a blockbuster that raked in the Academy Awards right and left. It is a wonderful movie. The script and the work of the actors and actresses in this movie helps to make the story entertaining and believeable.

Cinema Creativity

Keep in mind, this is an American classic that was made become computers. It is obvious that this movie did not have a big budget.

In the years before computers and Computer Generated Images, movie staffs like other people had to rely on their God-given common sense, creativity and imagination to come up with set decorations, costumes and realistic “creature features.” You have to applaud the ingenuity of the people who worked on this movie and made everything look realistic.

Obviously, in the Dark Ages Of American Cinema before computers, there were creative people, who knew “How To Make Things Work.”

Location, Location, Location – Imagination

If you have ever been around any swamps in Louisiana, then, this movie helps to remind you, “There are ‘gators in these swamps.” The settings and locations in this movie remind me I don’t want to be in the swamp, when the sun goes down.

In the spirit of October, when you dust off your “Horror” movies and start counting down “The Shopping Days Left Until Halloween” – “Swamp Thing” is one of the movies you take from your movie library and put in the DVD player.

If you don’t have the movie, break out the candy corn, go online and read the reviews for “Swamp Thing.” Then, you can go online an order from Netflix, swing by Blockbuster and rent. Or, if like me, you enjoy having your own movie library, then, you might want to see if it is in the October Horror movies for sale at your local Wal-Mart store.

Five Stars Family Creature Feature

I think “Swamp Thing” is a great family “creature feature” that celebrates October and Halloween. I give it Five Stars.

The Fog”

If you are looking for other October “Creature Features” starring Adrienne Barbeau, then, consider “The Fog.” This movie has a stellar cast like Hal Holbrook and Janet Leigh.

It is a ghost story that involves a ship and a small Atlantic seaboard town. Jamie Lee Curtis, like Adrienne Barbeau, another “Legendary American Scream Queen” of horror films, is also in this movie.

Significance of The American ‘Remake”

In American movies, if people like a film – Hollywood remembers and does “The Remake”, years later for a new generation of moviegoers. Both, “Swamp Thing” and “The Fog” have had remakes done of the original movies. Therefore, I consider “Swamp Thing” and “The Fog” to be “American Cult Classics.”

Sit back with your popcorn, candy corn and soda on the sofa and put “Swamp Thing” and “The Fog” in your DVD player for an October evening of Halloween entertainment.

Sam

Movie Links

IMDb “Swamp Thing”

http://www.imdb.com/find?q=Swamp+Thing&s=all

IMDb Adrienne Barbeau

http://www.imdb.com/find?q=Adrienne+Barbeau&s=all

Comicbook Hotties.Com Adrienne Barbeau

http://www.comicbookhotties.com/celebrities/adrienne_barbeau/

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