Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Haying Time

The other day I was out running errands and drove by one of the local farms.  Tractors in the field, trucks pulling hay wagons and several other pieces of equipment.  The end result was the large round bale of hay.  So large they used a tractor to pick it up and put it on the wagon.  Times have changed so much.  I remember haying at Daddy's and how hard we worked.

Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day were holidays for most.  We spent part of these days in the hay fields if the weather cooperated.  Hot and dry is the conditions to process hay.  At least, these were Daddy's conditions.  

When I was real little we did not have a tractor, we did most of the farm work with our mule Katie and a wagon.  There was a mower  and rake which Katie would pull through the fields.  The hay would be cut and it laid for 3 days.  The 3rd day it would be raked and picked up to be stored.  The loft in barn would be filled with loose hay.  When the loft was filled the remaining hay would be shocked in the fields. This hay was not as protected as the hay stored in the barn and it should be used first.  Some of this hay would be used as bedding.  

There was one job which I watched my big sister do that I thought was great fun.  She was in the hay wagon and loft of the barn packing the hay.  Daddy would load a pitch fork, toss the hay in and she would pack.  "Can I help?  Please, please, please."  Then came the words,  "No, you are too little and may fall of the wagon or out of the loft."  Words of wisdom from my sister, "Be glad you are to small this is the worst job on the farm."  Now,  how could that be?  All she was doing was playing in the hay.

A few years later, my chance came to pack the hay.  I was excited and so was my sister as she was not going to have to do this job any more.  Katie was hitched to the wagon, Momma fixed 2 canning jars with iced water and Daddy climbed on the wagon.  Off to the hay field where I would play.  Daddy is telling me to stay at the far end of the wagon until he tells me to pack the hay and never get where I cannot see him.  

We arrive in the hay field and it is so pretty all of the hay raked into rows, all neat and tidy.  Daddy stops by the first row.  Gets down and starts loading hay in the wagon.  "Go and pack the hay."  Off I went and started jumping up and down on the hay.  It was like playing and I was helping Daddy.  The wagon was loaded and off to pack in the loft.  Daddy would put hay at the loft door and go up in the loft and move the hay to the back, this way we would get all the hay in the loft.  When the hay was moved to the back it needed to be packed again.  So in I went to jump on the hay and pack it tight. 

The day got hotter and our water jars were empty.  My sister is coming across the field carrying something.  "Momma said to tell you lunch will be ready in a little while so come in after this load."  She had bought lemon-aide, iced cold for us to drink.   This load finished we went for lunch, Momma wanted to know how things were going.  I heard Daddy say we would not go back into the for several hours as it was just to hot.  We would finish in the evening as this field was just about all stored.  Katie was unhitched from the wagon and I was scratching.  I itched everywhere.  My sister was laughing at me.  The hay had gotten in my clothes and it was scratching me.  Momma sent me to take a bath and put on clean clothes.  Put those other ones aside and you can wear them to the field tonight.

I,  now,  understood why my sister was glad for me to take over her job.  I really wished she still had the job.  But things changed, Momma bought a tractor, another farmer purchased a hay baler and Daddy changed the mower and rake from mule pulled to tractor pulled.  I learned to drive the tractor at a very young age and now I had a new job.  I drove the tractor with the hay wagon while the men loaded the hay on the wagon.   I would make several runs home just to pick up lemon-aide, iced cold in canning jars.  You see, some things never change.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, May 26, 2012

What a difference a week can make.  Sunday morning after last weeks post was up I went to the garden to find squash, eggplant, pepper and cabbage plants dug up.  They were left laying by the holes.  What did this, I do not know.  Quickly, I replanted everything hoping with some water they would never know.  I did notice the finger roots were eaten off.  They were looking good on Monday as we are getting a farmer's rain.  Monday I noticed the broccoli raab and Tuscan kale have been chewed on.  The plants are there and I do not think I have damage enough to stop them from producing.  This is not bug damage, something ate the leaves.  Only time will tell.


A little chilly Monday with the farmers rain and I have a big pot of chili cooking.  Mr. Bootsie will eat chili 12 months of the year.  I made more of the sourdough English muffins this week and worked the sourdough starter.  This is turning into one good starter. There was a ham in the fridge and I know I will be needing the space for veggies, I decided to bake the ham.  It is always nice to have something to slice and add a interest to our meals.   Salads with lots of the ingredients coming from the garden have been our meals this week.


This has been a week of rain, some days with wonderful farmer's rain and other days with storms.  But Mr. Bootsie was able to put in the T post on 3 sides of the pasture.  One more tree was felled that will be processed into firewood.  Several small gum trees were dropped, we do use them for firewood, they become borders for the gardens  raised beds. Progress, things never go as you plan them but we do get them done.  We have a starting date of June 4th (?) on the pole barn.


The little peeps are still in the house, they are now 4 weeks old and looking rather strange.  Aurora is training them and has them flying and landing very surefooted.  The tail feathers are starting to show.  The sad thing is they are growing so quickly and Aurora is so small, in no time they are going to be bigger than their Mommie.

Ducks are doing great.  These 2 have settled in with their friends in the best way.  They are truly in love with the chickens.  Our coop is surrounded with woods and when the chickens go out hunting worms to far away from the coop the ducks go out and bring them back.  We do not let any of them go out by themselves, I am there or Mr. Bootsie.  I think the ducks are telling us we do not do a good job of watching the girls.

Feather had a rough weekend.  She will allow the wee folk to hold her and I think she let me know enough is enough.  I did not get an egg from her until Friday.

The egg count this week is 47.  The little cochins are wonderful layers and are outlaying the large chickens.  The little peeps if any are hens should be good layers,  the ducks I am hoping for 1 layer, 2 would be wonderful.


Started picking sugar snap peas, Holland greens, lettuces and a few raspberries.  Pulled some turnips and finished the early radishes.  Spring onions are being pulled and the tops go to the kitchen to be dried.  Corn is tall enough for the pole beans to be planted.

We have had a critter in the garden this week.  It has an European taste.  I started putting the row covers back on the veggies being consumed.  They are put on at night and taken off during the day.  This worked for a day and then things were munched under the row cover.  We contacted the local farm store and the animal traps were not here.  Mr. Bootsie went to one about 50 miles from us and picked up 2 traps.  Friday night, no luck but there was no new damage in the garden.  Saturday night, he added cat food to the bait, Mr. Bootsie has a friend with a large farm on the river who will take any animal we trap.

The sweet potatoes are in the ground.  Yes, I slipped my potatoes and did not buy the slips from the greenhouse.  The tomatoes are starting to bloom and I am so excited.  This week I had my first spring onion sandwich and now I am awaiting the first tomato sandwich.


I enjoy my life in the country.  Sure, there was a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw the damage in the garden.  Momma always said you need to plant extra.  Now I am not sure if she meant other crops or just a lot of what you planted.  I know I will have something in the garden to eat, can and freeze.  Animal traps will become one of our gardening tools.  I learned from my parents to do what you need to do.  My sick feeling quickly went away as I saw how well other things were growing.  I know I heard this many times growing up "You cannot have everything." and this is a good example.

One thing for sure, life is not boring on Triple Creek Farm, daily updates on Facebok

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, May 19, 2012

Life on the farm has its highs and lows.  When you finish a task and everything works, what a high you receive.  Only to turn around and there is something else that needs to be addressed.  I know it is the same wherever you live, so I just want to reflect on the highs.  They keep me going.  Most of the seeds came up this year, the transplants are living and not having to be replaced.  We are getting some very nice showers of blessings, so I do not have to haul out the hoses and water our gardens.  We are harvesting a few vegetables with more to come.  There are eggs with lots of protein for us and the chickens.  Life is good on Triple Creek Farm.


I began freezer clean out and made a batch of raspberry jelly.  I have a sourdough roll recipe I enjoy making.  From dough to table in less than 90 minutes.  This allows me to have hot rolls for a meal without taking half of the day.  These rolls are so good with the raspberry jelly on them.


We are cutting grass, pulling weeds to feed the compost pile and cutting brush.  I let the compost break down and move it in buckets to the run and the girls work and poop in the compost.  The ducks have added a real twist to working the compost.  When they finish working it I was amazed how it was broken up.  I will take all the help I can get.  All they want in return is greens to eat so we have a deal.


Sunday, May 13, 2012, Mr. Bootsie was helping me at the coop.  He went inside to change the water and came out with the strangest look on his face.  You need to go in and check the nest.  I checked the nest and there was an egg about the size of a quarter.  This picture is the eggs collected Sunday.

The total egg count this week was 49.  I have 9 laying hens at this time.  Aurora is taking care of the little peepsl.

The ducks have settled in and starting to enjoy life here.  They are so cute waddling everywhere.  One of the ducks is not able to quack,  the other one makes enough noise it is not a problem.  They wait each day for the girls to have their early evening time out of the run, the ducks go out with the girls and watch them.    They spend the night in the chicken run.  Leaving in the morning before the girls are let out.  The ducks have been named, Tweedle and Deedle.  Since we do not know if they are boys or girls Mr. Bootsie and I thought this was a safe decision.  


I have only used natural plants foods in the garden.  I took the time this week to make sure everything has been fed.  I have used chicken manure, compost and plant foods from an organic company.  The garlic leaves are starting to turn brown.  Harvest time is coming.  It is about time to plant the pole beans.  I am waiting a little later this year because for the last 2 years I have not had a good crop.  I do not have any reason why I am waiting,  I thought I would try a different time period.  The beets which came up are doing good, I am going to replant.  Each year the soil is a little better, but some has a long way to go.


I start with a small gathering basket in the early spring.  Later in the season I use several baskets to bring all of the crop.  I am very pleased we have our own lettuces, onions and radishes to make salads.  I do have some interesting greens to add this year.  I have a salad blend which has several kinds of greens.  There were extra sets of hands in the garden this Saturday as the wee folk were visiting with us.  They love to pick the garden and it is so much fun showing them how to do the things my parents taught me to do.  Maybe I will have another generation of gardeners in the family. Follow Triple Creek Farm on Facebook at Happy Hallow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daddy's Melon Patch

I looked in the fridge this morning and I saw a watermelon.  Mr. Bootsie has purchased one.  We will eat some and share with our feathered friends.  I always have a good feeling when I think about watermelons and cantaloupes.  Daddy always wanted to have the first watermelon, the largest and for his season to last the longest.  There were several farmers he stayed in very close contact with during the watermelon season as he wanted to know how their melon patch was doing.

The garden was planted and there is still this large bare place in the garden.  It was wide about 12 feet and ran the length of the garden.  The soil here was a little bit sandy.  "Daddy, there is nothing planted here."  He told me it was the watermelon patch.  I sure did not see anything growing but he was sure it would have watermelons.  The next Saturday morning the wagon was filled with manure from the hog house.  During the week Daddy had dug holes, in the bare soil, a bushel basket would fit in. The soil was hilled beside the hole.  The hog manure was put into the bushel baskets and carried to the holes.  Daddy would level the manure and pulled the soil back over it.  He was carefully working the soil into a hill and firming it.  This would be done all the way down the row.  Each hill was about 8 feet apart.  He would let the hills set until rain was in the forecast.

The seeds for the watermelons and cantaloupes were saved with a few new added in each year.  Seeds he saved from the sweetest or largest melon.  He would sometimes return home, from having watermelon with a friend, and produce some seeds he has slipped in his pocket.  Momma would always put the seed in an envelope and write on it where they came from and why.  Daddy would make a decision on which seeds would be planted and what would be burned in the wood stove.  If Daddy decided not to plant them he did not want a bird to drop the seed in the garden, so they went up in smoke.

"Come on, Bootsie, it is going to rain tomorrow."  Daddy would have the envelopes and off he and I would go to the garden.  "What are we going to plant first?  Watermelon or cantaloupe?"  The odd number hills were planted with watermelon and the even number with cantaloupe seeds.  There were 6 seeds put in each hill.  Because I was small and learning to count and do arithmetic helping Daddy plant the seeds was a lesson for me.  I could count to five so he told me to put 3 seeds in each hand and that would be 6 seeds.  It worked well for the cantaloupe but when I came to the watermelon I just would get a bunch of seeds and hand them to him.  Daddy looked at me, "What are you doing?"  Six seeds, all I want is six seeds."  "Daddy, I just love watermelon and we need lots of them."  This is a lesson I will never forget.  "Now Bootsie, listen to me.  The ground will only support a few seeds and the plants will be weak if we put in to many, six and I will put out the weak plants.  Never over plant your fields."  That night Daddy planted all of his watermelons and cantaloupes and the rain came.

Daddy hoed the garden and any weeds in the watermelon patch were knocked down.  The weak plants were pulled out and the runners started going everywhere.  The big bare spot in the garden was filled with yellow and white blooms. After which came little round and oblong melons growing everywhere.  Farmers talking, July 4th, first watermelon, 40 pounds, sweet as honey, the rush was on for the first watermelon of the season.  Daddy would just walk thru the melon patch thump on the melons listen to the sound and smile.  He knew when he was going to have the first melon.  My daddy had the biggest watermelon, a lot of the farmers were not growing hogs any longer and there is nothing any better for melons than pig manure.

I saw Daddy go and get the wheelbarrow off the garden he went.  First, he came with cantaloupes and the second trip he had watermelons.  The high table was up in the yard, family and friends were coming over.  That night we had the biggest, sweetest melons in the world.  Everyone was there and Daddy was beaming.  We had one cousin who also was a very good farmer.  After Daddy had cut several melons and everyone was eating, it started.

"Shame you cut that big one.  I just happen to have one in my car that is a lot bigger than the largest one you have here."  He went to his car and brought out this huge watermelon.  Daddy looked at it and smiled that I need to do something about this smile.  Everyone was getting their fill of the melons and starting to talk, children were starting to play, and all of sudden there was total quiet.  Daddy had just come in with the wheelbarrow and in it was the biggest watermelon of all.  A while later in the evening it was cut and yes,  it was also the sweetest melon.

Momma and Daddy loved melons,  Cantaloupe for breakfast, watermelon the rest of the day.  The watermelon rinds were made into pickle and pickled cantaloupe.  The chickens, ducks and pigs enjoyed the melons.  But the biggest pig of all was a little girl who was learning to count.

                              You are going to have watermelons growing out of your ears.
                                       Did you hear the one about the woman who had the watermelon
                                        plant growing in her stomach?        
                                                      How far can you spit a watermelon seed?

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, May 12, 2012

I plant a number of flowers and herbs to bring the butterflies and bees.  This year we have had a lot of birds.  Cardinals have made a nest in the blackberry plant.  Bluebirds are nesting in the knot holes in the trees.  Flight school is going on everywhere.  The carpenter bees have returned to drill holes in all of the treated wood.  Wild flowers are showing there true colors.  Ferns are coming up everywhere.

The passion flower is blooming, this past year we put in an arbor for it to climb on and it is rewarding us.  It is loaded with blooms and this is one of the first to open.


Fresh spinach from the garden means salad.  The chives are loaded with blooms and I am making chive vinegar, the color is so pretty, I start the vinegar now and when the garlic is harvested I will add garlic.  Sage is ready to pick and dry.  


Mr. Bootsie is busy trimming wild blackberry vines and cutting brush.  I heard the lawn mower fire up Thursday evening and I know that means a new job for us every week until the fall frost.  We had a damp and wet week so some afternoons were not as productive as I would have liked for them to be.  


Harmony has arrived!  The girls and the ducks are getting along very good.  The girls like the duck food so they visit the duck run and see what is left.  I have been picking the wild strawberries for the ducks.  Chickweed is being enjoyed by all.  

The little peeps are in the house, growing and getting feathers.  They are eating chickweed, eggs and oatmeal.  This week we had flight school and they are flying up on things.  Aurora seems content staying with the peeps and I am not going to push her out.  She can stay with them for as long as she wants to.

The girls laid 42 eggs this week.  I will be making more boiled eggs.  They do enjoy having eggs for their morning meal. 


These are the blackberry vines and they are loaded with blooms.  Mr. Bootsie informed me the other evening he would be needing the 6 foot ladder to pick the berries at the top of the vines.  

Started picking strawberries this week.  Pulling spring onions and drying the green onion tops.  We use these to make dressing and dips. The biggest chore was installing all of the plants and that is finished.  Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and herbs were planted and the rains came, everything is looking good.  I put most of the cages in this week.  I use cages with anything that gets tall and heavy.  Corn is up and now I will be planting the beans which climb on the corn.  Okra is planted and when it comes up I will plant the black eyed peas.  Sweet potatoes have been slipped.

I enjoy planting all sorts of onions and these are the walking onions.  I plant them in the fall and start pulling spring onions early in the year.   There are a lot of small onions on these plants which I pickle.  I pull the root and can these onions,  they will also keep as a storage onion if dried correctly.   I always have plenty of sets and I am more than glad to share them.


We made a provision run over to the valley.  I go to The Cheese Shop to buy bulk.  I do not like having to dispose of the packing you pay for in the grocery store.  I buy a lot of my canning supplies in bulk.  I stock all of my baking needs buying somethings in 50 pound bags.  This trip is made several times a year.  They ship, so if I need to fill in holes or runout of supplies, I place an order.  

With what has been planted in the garden and the provision trip made I think we are ready to settle in for a while and enjoy the wonders of our little farm.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Endless Uses of the Feed Bag

It was time for me to restock the feed for our crew.  I went to where I purchase feed,  gave them the order and they loaded it in my van.  I gave up on the big box store because they do not think anyone needs help with a 50 pound bag of grain.  I am not complaining because most people just accept the fact and load their own feed.  I found out the smaller independents charge less, have a better selection and offer a kind service.  I love to drive 25 miles to the closest big box store for scratch or oyster shell and find out the next shipment will be in next week and there is nothing on the shelf.  I made the trip twice and decided to do something different.  I found someone 4 miles from my home who sells grain from their farm.  They load the feed, smile and say "thank you."  Reminds me of days gone by.

Momma would make a list for what she needed from the feed store and contact them.  She put in her order. When I was small, feed was sold in 100 pound bags.  I can hear her now.  "1 bag of pig mash, 1 bag of chicken mash, 1 scratch." With cows and horses there was grain and corn ordered for them also.  Then Momma would start to explain and question the voice at the other end.  "Do you have the border print bags with the large red flowers on the white back ground, I am using those for my new kitchen curtains? Or is the blue bag with little bunches of flowers back in stock?  Yes, Bootsie needs an Easter dress and I thought this would be nice, I have 2 but I want to be sure there is enough."

The delivery truck would be coming our way in a few days.  When it arrived everyone went out to see the  feed bags.  We would look to see if there was printed bags we had not seen before and if we liked any, we would add these to the list of what we would like to have.  Sometimes,  we were able to go to the feed store to place the order and pick out the feed bags of our choice.  Momma's sister had the farm next to us and she would share feed bags with Momma.  They were trading back and forth so all of the girls could get a new outfit or decorations for the house.  Momma made all of our underwear from the white bags, kitchen towels and sheets for the beds.

Burlap was used for corn and we used these bags for lots of things.  The dog bed in the winter was lined with the burlap bags.  Curtains on the windows of the chicken house.  They were used to carry lots of things from one farm to another.

When we finished exclaiming excitement over the new bags or sadness because there were no new prints we had not seen before, the driver would unload our feed and put some in the barn, some in the feed house until it was all put away.  If some of the barrels were empty he would open the bags and fill the barrel.

Not only did we use the bags, every inch of the string which was used to sew the bags closed was saved.  Momma had a drawer she put the string in and when there was nothing else to do someone would make a string ball.  We used this string for everything. A cut finger would be wrapped with a cotton cloth and tied with string.  The spice bags for the pickles were tied with string.

Today, I see for sale shopping bags made from the feed bags.  Some of you purchasing these bags are the children and grandchildren of the people who made fun of my cousins and me for having to wear meal bag clothes.  I was proud of my clothes and my most beautiful dress was made by my Aunt from meal bags.  Yes, I too have these new shopping bags, I have repurposed my feed bags.  Times may have changed but people's desires to created  something useful from a feed bag warms my heart.  Maybe some of us are a lot closer to the roots of our grandparents than we ever thought.

                 Grab my shopping bags,
                              off to the mall, maybe I will see someone I know.
                                             They will want a sunflower seed bag just like mine.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, May 5, 2012

We have a very small farm operation, so small it does not qualify for even a hobby farm at this time.  I was impressed when the city folk came out this Sunday and left with a bag of goodies.   It was filled with 2 dozen eggs, 2 jars of homemade salsa, lettuce, radishes, spring onions and 1/2 loaf of home baked bread.  It gives me so much pleasure to have these things to share.  I remember so many coming to my parents and leaving with farm fresh goodies.  I felt like I had accomplished something as they drove out of the driveway with treats from the farm.


Right now,  I am not sure our home has a kitchen.  Salads and quick meals.  Things will improve or get worse.


Wednesday morning, walking from the garden to the house there was something long and black across my path.  I knew it was a black snake.  This is the one part of the warm months I do not like.  I will be spreading lime around the greenhouse and the chicken  coop.

I saw my first humming bird of the season, Thursday, May 3rd.  I will be feeding them some.  I do not load up the feeders.  I do it every once in a while so we can see them.  We do have quite a lot of hummers and butterflies because I plant flowers which attract them.


The month of April the girls laid a total of 198 eggs.  It is amazing how quickly the eggs add up.  This week the girls laid 45 eggs.

 At this time there doesn't seem to be another broody hen and that makes me very happy.  The ducks have settled in.  We are letting them out to forage for wild strawberries and worms when the big girls are out and they spend the late afternoon with the girls.  Aurora's little peeps are 10 days old,  eating oatmeal and scratching for grain.  They love popcorn.  She will break up the popcorn for them.  I must say she is an excellent mother hen.  I would set her again if she shows interest in a few months.


I cut the last of the wintered over lettuce, the spring lettuce is ready.  Potatoes have been fed and a layer of straw put around them.  Tomatoes have been installed and most of the basil.  Sugar snap peas have blooms.   Raspberries and blackberries are loaded with blooms and small berries.  Strawberries are sweet and loaded with juice.  Planted the corn in the tepees, when it comes up I will plant the pole beans.  The bloody butcher corn and first planting of sweet corn went in on Saturday right before the rain.


Saturday morning we went to what is considered the largest chicken swap in Virginia by some.  I had no idea there would be so many selling, tents were everywhere.  A lot of the folks on the web site Pet Chickens of Virginia were there and it was nice to meet them.  The animals were every sort of chicken and feathered fowl, birds, ducks and geese.  There were bunnies and goats.  Of course, the faithful watch dog.  This was truly a day of learning and wondering where we will go with our little farm.  No, I did not buy anything this time, the fall event is coming soon.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Special Baby Pig

I awaited the news of the birth of the piglets at Bumpy Road Ranch as it they were being born here on Triple Creek Farm.  How many would she have and when would they come?  Everyday I checked on Facebook to see the progress.  And then there it was Charlotte had 9 piglets, she had needed some assistance with 2 of the babies.  I started to remember when there were baby pigs at Momma's and Daddy's farm.

I do not remember a lot of baby pigs being born.  A lot of years Momma and Daddy would buy baby pigs for another farmer.  Several years we had litters and how cute they were.  The walk from the house to the pig pen was a short work but the hog house was in the far corner of the lot.  For little legs the walk was quite a long one and uphill all the way.  The Momma hog was white with a few black spots.  The piglets were pink because they did not have a lot of hair and a few black spots.  They were nursing the first time I saw them.  They could have been puppies, kitties or pigs.  All lined up sucking on the proud momma.

Everyday Momma would take me to see the pigs.  At our farm we had hogs which were the grown pigs and pigs.  When Momma said, "Are you ready to go and see the pigs." I knew she meant we would go to the hog house and check on the babies.  She would make sure they were all okay.  Pick each one up and check the weigh.  She called me over and handed me the runt.  I thought this was going to be the pig's name but quickly learned it was the condition of the pig.  She would tell me which were boys and girls.  How did Momma know?.  She would pick it up and hold it close to her and say little boy or little girl.

One day she gave me the runt and said we going to take her to the house.  By this time the hog was not as protective of the little ones and it seemed she was pleased for the break.  This little girl was given a bottle with warm cow's milk with cream and she ate like a pig (no pun intended).  She became a pet as we would bring into the house every day.  Momma would wrap her in a blanket to feed her and she did not resist our handling her.

One day after she was fed a bottle Momma handed her to me and asked if I would like to put her in the baby carriage and take her for a ride.  "Yes, Yes, can I really do this?"   Momma had a plan.  She came out with a doll dress and hat, dressed the little pig and wrapped her in a blanket.  We took the baby carriage outside, placed Runt in the carriage and we went for a walk.  Momma knew how to fix the blanket so she could not get out and I played with the pig for quite a while.

When we took the pig to the hog lot I asked could I play with the runt another day and Momma's answer of "We will see" meant maybe.  I did play with her and her name became Runt, she was a favorite.  I could walk to the hog lot and as a small child say pig-pig-pig and Runt would come running.  Momma would let her out and she would go with me to pick up apples dropped from the tree for the animals.  She was a help because she was eating some of the apples I would have to pick up.

In the summer when the weather was hot.  We took buckets of water to the hog lot and they had holes we filled with water.  More than once I was caught with my feet in the pig hole and Runt rolling in the water.  If I was outside and Runt was in the hog lot there was a lot of snorting going on.  She was my playmate and wanted to be right beside me.

Maybe dressing this little pig in a frilly outfit was the best thing Momma could have done.  She was my best buddy for one summer.  I understood why we had animals especially pigs but why Runt?  Momma said, "Bootsie, next year there will be more baby pigs and you will have a new friend."  Yes, there were lots of baby pigs year after year but there was never another Runt.

When I saw the pictures of Charlotte and her little ones.  I thought how special it would be for my wee folk to dress a piglet and put it in the same carriage I played with Runt in.  For you see, I still have this carriage and until now I never knew why I could not let it go.  This is the only part of my true friendship with Runt I have left.

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