Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Posts Tagged ‘Springfield Missouri

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

leave a comment »

Parental Portrait for Christmas



The Hog Farmer




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.


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.


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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jewelry by Christy – Hobby Evolves Into A Business

with one comment

Hobby Evolves Into A Business

Jewelry by Christy

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Diamond In The Rough - Literally - This glass model of a diamond purchased at The Crater Of Diamonds State Park Gift Shop in Murfreesboro, Arkansas is used against the backdrop of Cathedral Brazilian Amethyst to create "a diamond in the rough" effect for the photograph. Christy Warren uses natural stones to create pendants and earrings for sale on Jewelry by Christy in her Etsy shop to provide "Distinctive Jewelry @ Affordable Prices." Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My wife, Christy Warren is one of those creative people in life who picks up a rock and turns it into a unique pendant. She learned how to wire wrap natural stones and then had me research how to set up a business on Etsy, thus, her shop, Jewelry by Christy was born.

The Boss - Christy Warren of Jewelry by Christy

Christy is one of those people, who demands quality. She is a Leo, so if the stone is for jewelry – that poor stone had better be beautiful before she begins to select cabachons to wire wrap in sterling silver or gold fill wire. When she shops for cabachons to wire wrap, Christy examines each stone as if she is searching for an overlooked crown jewel.

Mom And Pop Operation

  It would be nice to have one of those penthouse offices in a business skyscraper in a major metropolitan American city, but we are a “Mom and Pop operation” and her design and manufacture area is usually the kitchen table.

The Boss Is Out Of The Office Temporarily - When Christy's fingers get tired from wire wrapping stones she usually takes a break and watches Mike on Jewelry Extravaganza on the Gem Shopping Network. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

For people who like “official titles,” Christy is the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, designer and manufacturer of Jewelry by Christy. I, Samuel E. Warren Jr, am, the senior vice president of advertising and director of Jewelry by Christy information technology systems – I shoot the photos for her Etsy site and then upload them to the site.

Christy concentrates on turning natural stones into pendants and earrings and I concentrate on shooting the photos. I’m also director of shipping, so if you order a pendant or earring from Jewelry by Christy on Etsy, I will pack it and ship it to you.

Christy Warren Rock Hound On Call

Christy is a “rock hound” at heart. A few years ago, My cousin, Donna, invited Christy and I to go to Mount Ida, Arkansas to “dig quartz crystal.” Donna and Christy were like 1800s gold miners because they dug into the earth and they kept at it until they had the quartz that they wanted. Me, I dug up a couple of cool pieces and I was easily satisfied – I’m easy to please – usually. Nonetheless, Donna and Christy dug away at that poor Arkansas mountain like a couple of bulldozers. They did dig up some beautiful specimens of quartz crystal.

Christy’s rock garden came into being thanks to her over supply of quartz, which included pieces of milky quartz. The large pieces went into the house and the milky quartz found it’s way to her rock garden outside.

Missouri Geode Safari

Donna had been interested in going to northern Missouri to “dig for geodes.” Donna asked Christy and before I could say, “Stone County,” Christy had her canteen and five pound white rock bucket and was standing by the car door. The enthusiasm that Donna and Christy exert in digging for stones is like watching treasure hunters diligently bore into the earth in search of diamonds, rubies and sapphires. It is no cliché to say, “They leave no stone unturned.”

Naturally, the beautiful geode specimens went in the house; and the geodes that didn’t make the grade? You guessed it. The less impressive geodes ended up in her rock garden. Who says rocks don’t grow? Her rock garden seems to keep expanding.

Donna, Christy and I even crossed the border into Keokuk, Iowa and dug into a creek bed to find some baseball-sized geodes. We even went “digging for diamonds,” – that too is another “rock hound adventure,” but I’ll save that story for a future article.

Joplin, Missouri cabachons

If Christy can “dig” her own materials out of the earth; she will – without hesitation. But, if she has to shop for cabachons, then, the supplier has to be able to assure her that the cabachon is quality. Most of the cabachons that she currently has in her inventory came from a supplier in Joplin, Missouri.

Our Rock Book - We use National Audubon Society Field Gudie To Rocks And Minerals is used to identify stones that are not quickly recognized. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thanks to Donna and Christy, I have earned a new appreciation for “rocks.” When I have specific questions about stones, I go to our big book : National Audubon Society Field Guide To Rocks And Minerals, which we purchased on a trip to Fantastic Caverns, near Springfield, Missouri.

 Checkout Jewelry by Christy for natural jewelry

Checkout the Jewelry by Christy shop on Etsy, if you are shopping for a natural stone to wear as a pendant or earrings then, please, make an Internet visit to us, to see Christy’s creations with your own two eyes.

Christy sometimes relaxes by making afghans. So, from time to time, you should find some of her afghans for sale in her Jewelry by Christy shop. If you have any questions about any of the items, please, do not hesitate to email her at:

Visit Jewelry by Christy by copying and pasting the address in your browser :


%d bloggers like this: