Subdue

The first hard frost had arrived, setting the milk in the corn. Using the picker we harvested the crop from the 120 acre field, but in the process many kernels – bushels – had broken loose from the ears and dropped to the ground where they would be wasted. The solution was simple, turn the cattle into the field and allow them to harvest what they wanted. Then let the hogs in to finish the harvesting process.

However, a 40 acre field of alfalfa lay adjacent to the corn field. In order to keep the livestock from destroying the alfalfa, we erected a quarter-mile temporary fence that would be removed come spring.

In the meantime, it was necessary to “ring” the hog’s noses to keep them from tearing down the new fence we’d just installed. That, in itself, was a major chore.

Using a cable through a section of pipe we were able to subdue each hog until three rings were installed in their snouts. Evening was approaching and only one hog remained, a 400-pound sow with a mind of her own. We’d already caught her once with the cable and then snubbed it around a roof support. One good yank and she took the support out. We were boxed, my grandfather and I. Then along came Floyd.

Floyd was my grandmother’s brother. He was a giant of a man who had spent his working life doing a two-man job on truck tires.

“Don’t you fellers know how to do this?” he asked, grabbing the sow around the middle and holding her off the ground, subduing her, while I inserted the rings.

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