Hello Citzens of Oz:

Welcome to Red Slipper Diary. These are ‘words along the way’. 

 Please trip with me down The Yellow Brick Road just off  California Highway 65.  I’ll serve up words.  Hot. Cold. Stewed. Half-baked. 

What’ll you have? Stories?  Got  ’em.  Fascinating people?  Know ’em.  Opinions?  Always.   Put on your ruby-red’s. 

More often than not, I’ll detour through my garden. 

 Now for some words along the way. 

The following “Pig Tale”  is something I wrote a few years back.

I know,   it is like serving up left-overs, but it is just  until I can figure out  my blogging persona.  My daughter and granddaughter set me up here, to keep me busy while I am confined to my home for a short time.  Are you wondering if I am wearing an ankle monitor with my red slipper?

Come back tomorrow. Fresh words, home cooked.


You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. Such a dumb old adage. But there it was, in bold type, a headline in my brain. Helen’s remark had Googled it up.           We were feasting at the luncheon buffet at The King’s Table, tasting everything that looked good. And admittedly, rejecting some of it on plates that were whisked away by the waitress when we returned to try another tempting offering. It was fun, then Helen introduced GUILT.           “This goes against the grain for me” she said, fork in hand, “I was raised not to waste food.” All chewing stopped. We were of the generation that knew that starving children somewhere would love to have what we had just rejected. “This is not right,” she said with a sad shake of her head. “Our scraps should at least be fed to the pigs!”           “Ahh”, I said in my best I have come to rescue voice. “Pigs. Now, I know a little about pigs. Let me tell you a little story.” Okay, they were eating again, and with a hint of a smile. I had a captive audience and some amazing facts garnered only the week before.           I had de-briefed my businessman son on his trip to Iowa to meet his fiancée’s family. We share a similar sense of just-under-the-surface-hilarity at life in general so any conversation is liberally peppered with laughter from both of us. With head thrown back he laughed at the ceiling then began, “I want to give you a small virtual tour of the pig biz.” And that is how I began with my tablemates. Twice-told-tales are always better. 

          They arrived in luxury cars and those pricey big pickups, these pig farmers. When Chris mentioned his curiosity about anything that was animal oriented a cousin offered to show him his ‘operation’. Chris had grown up on a suburban farm of sorts where he had raised many animals but could never get the parental okay on a pig. What he knew about pigs could be written on a gum wrapper, so his interest was genuine.  

         We’ll call this pig farmer Dan. Dan. produced piglets for the other farmers to raise into hogs and sold the manure by-product to fertilize the corn and soy bean fields. When Chris asked if the operation was profitable, Dan owned up to netting a cool $300,000 a year.

           The farm was a compound of neatly painted buildings resembling military barracks. There wasn’t a pig in sight.

           They entered an equipment room and Chris was issued a cattle prod. “Whoa, are your pigs mean?” the City Slicker asked. “They’ll knock you down and eat you if they get the opportunity” Dan warned. “Don’t give ’em an opportunity. Our sows aren’t running loose, but all the employees have to carry a prod.”

           He wasn’t kidding about the running loose business.


 The sows live in crates. Just big enough to stand or lie down, but not room enough to turn around. Row after row of them. They live their entire lives in this environment that is heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer. The floor underneath them is washed daily by power hoses. Their food is measured and scientifically balanced. Everything is calculated to keep them in perfect health. All they do is reproduce. Big time.

           They are artificially inseminated. All of them on schedule. After the insemination procedure they bring in a boar hog. He trots through the barracks on a leash and generally ignores the sows. He may make a dive for one of the crates giving his handlers the news that the insemination didn’t take, and thus she is marked for a second shot. He can tell by the scent.

           Right here, let me interject a thought I had. If that scent was captured and bottled it might outsell Chanel #5. Maybe those farmers should think about that by-product.

           Okay, where was I? The sows are all pregnant. A week or so later, or however long it takes a sow to gestate a fetus, they roll out the ultra sound equipment to take a look at the newly-formed babies. If the count per sow is less than ten, she’s aborted and re-impregnated. No wonder they’ll snap at anyone within snapping distance.

           Picture this. After the harvest of piglets is reaped, this particular pig farmer takes them to their new homes in a converted school bus. (He’s built a cage around the driver’s area and has stripped it of seats.) He loads the piggies in the Pigmobile and takes them to his customers who eagerly await him. He doesn’t have to advertise. Never has leftover inventory. And the Mad Cow Disease scare made his profits jump. He’s just one happy guy.

           Suppose that farmer would let his sows eat our table scraps? I don’t think so.




~ by dottiedoright on December 3, 2009.

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