Went to Market. This little piggie stayed home." And this little piggie told me in a dream last night that it was time for me to write about my little piggies. Here I am in a picture from 1979 pointing out Faith, Hope, Charity and Grace. Grace is on the right with the full white band on her lovely Hampshire shoulders. I always had to look closer to determine the other three.
If asked if I would ever want to be a certain age again, I always say "no", I'm happy at the age I am now. But if I ever did go back to a place in time, this would have to be it. With the exception of losing my Dad, this was one of the happiest times in my life. I was already planning on moving back home to SW Iowa before Dad died. I wanted to be back closer to family and raising my children in the country.
I rented the house and buildings on the NE side of Tuck Corner. It was a big house, two car garage, chicken house and barn. I got four gilts from Mom and a box of baby chicks from Gurneys Seed Catalog as well as seeds for a big garden. I had a wood burning stove, a chain saw and a pickup. I was a happy, independent woman.
I was also the third generation of Hampshire Hog loving women. Grandma Delphia had her sows after Grandpa died. I remember one was named Minnie. Mom raised Hamps for many years. I remember sitting with one of Mom's sows all day. She was either trying to have her pigs or had had them and was suffering from mastitis. I just remember giving her shots and hoping she got better - which she did.
When it was time for Faith, Hope, Charity and Grace to have their first litters, I made pens for them in the old barn, put down fresh straw for bedding and waited. None of them needed any help. It was such a joy to watch the baby pigs being born. And seeing the different colors was exciting. The gilts had been bred to a Hamp boar, but he was a crossbred with Duroc and Spotted Poland bloodlines. Those little piggies were the cutest ever. I sold them as feeder pigs after they were weaned and hated seeing them go.
During the six years of living around Fairview before moving back to West Des Moines in '84, we raised more pigs and chickens as well as sheep and geese. I wanted goats, but everyone said you couldn't keep goats in - I had enough trouble with the other species getting through fences. I helped Mom with her cows and calves, but never wanted any of my own even though I still love seeing baby calves in the spring of the year.
I will always be grateful for those years and the experiences I had raising livestock.