As a part of a family history I am including the animals that surrounded us while growing up on the farm. My dad raised hogs and Hereford cows. It was also a grain growing operation with 180 of tillable hill country covered with Southern Iowa clay.
The animals were always a part of out lives and Tippy the dog was my first known dog in our family. We had a border collie when on the rental farm and I was 3 years old and something must have happened to it during the move to the new farm. It may have refused to move, I don't know what, but my parents would never be honest to us about the lost of animals. I remember at the age of 4 going to a farm near us and seeing all these puppies running around in the yard. My dad went up to the house, we had to stay in the car, and he just reached down and picked up a puppy and we brought it home. My brother three years older than me had a speech problem at the time and Tippy is the only name he could say clearly so that was his name.
Tippy lived for over 15 years as he died while I was in college. He became so ill and they just ad a hard time having him put down.
My brother Rex is in his Murray Mustang High School marching band uniform. The school supplied the coat and my parents had to buy him a pair of white slacks. Mom had to sew a purple stripe down the outside seam of the pants to match the purple and gold coat. They also had this neat hat with a white small bill and a large metal emblem on the front of it. I see the photo was processed in 1956 which means it could be 1955 or 56. He played a small bariton, while my oldest brother Ron played a French horn. The school owned the horns so you played whatever was available. It was a small school but I did admire the marching band anyway.
My oldest brother Ron with dad's help selected a heifer to show in the county fair for 4-H club. She was a special cow named Duchess and we had her for quite a few years. I believe that he sold all of the cattle in 1969 or 70 but she had been a pet among the herd for years. She had many calves for my dad to sell or to use to increase the herd size. When feeding the cows in the winter time back in the timber, my dad could pick her out among the 30 cows and she was very friendly.
Larry Dean, age 5, with Blacky the cat and Dwight Lee, age 8, with Snoop the cat, kittens were an ongoing event on the farm. The fun thing to do in early spring was to go into the haymow and see where the mother cats had birthed their kittens. We had them tamed before they got a chance to be wild. My mom made my shorts all the time so her selection of prints were always wild. Snoop had an early demise which was a childhood trauma for my brother. It was a sad thing but we learned a lot about hard knocks as kids on the farm.
Twin calves were a novelty and I have a photo of a pair that dad must have brought up to the barn to keep out of the cold snow. The picture is not dated like the rest of them but I would think it still was in the 50's.
Lastly is a picture of our pigs and babies. I really don't know why the picture was taken unless it was because there were cute piglets. My dad always raised hogs. He had started out with just a few sows but then kept an average of 20 sows or more in order to raise pigs each spring. What is interesting is that I can tell these are an older breed of sows as his herd of sows changed in appearance to a more modern looking pig later on in the years. My dad started buying expensive boars in which to have hogs that would gain weight faster and be a larger pig. They were bred special in Northern Iowa and the company was called Farmer's Hybrid Hogs. Farmers who didn't do that would raise runty looking pigs that would mature to be about 160 pounds. His market pigs were ideally 240 pound pigs.
I know animals are not genealogy but the animals were a part of our family history. We learned tough lessons about animals when we would loose one or one would become injured and have to be taken to a butcher. We lost cats with great grieving and loved dogs to the bitter end. I would not have wanted to be on the farm the day my dad sold all of his cattle. I know he probably cried. The herd was his since 1954 until 1969. He had run out of boys to help him make hay and he couldn't do it alone nor were there any other neighbor kids to hire. I actually was the last one to be hired out to four different farmers, besides my dad. I returned from college one year and hired out to make hay and then I stayed in summer school from then on and worked at the ISU library. The farm changes and the livestock became less and less. My dad sold the farm in 1973 during the winter and I assume the sows were sold out right after that.
My children never knew my dad as a farmer and I think they would have liked being on the farm. As a teacher my students thought that I was so old and surpirsed that I was a son of a pig farmer. I find the past has made me who I am today, the carer of animals, birds, and fishes and the grower of everything, including weeds.
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