Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our Journey! Quarantine! 12

“Pains to get,
care to keep,
fear to lose.”

    George Herbert

Dealing with the quarantine was extremely hard. We had been ready to ship our market weight pigs. The sows were bred back so gestation being 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days we would be having more piglets before the quarantine was to be over. We would have to build more pens.
 We were dealing with enormous feed bills. We phoned everyone we owed money to and explained our situation. The feed, seed, Fuel Company and the machinery dealers were very accommodating, the bank, not so much. They all postponed their payment till we were through this crisis.
 We juggled the little money we had around and relied on our credit card. My Dad kept showing up with groceries. Hopefully after all this was over we would be able to catch up on the accumulating bills and interest. We would be able to sell the pigs, the steers, and our eggs again.
 I hated throwing the good milk to the pigs; it seemed like a lot of milking for me to pour over into their trough. We were now buying milk for M as we were not supposed to use it. Nervous about the eggs we did not use them either.
 I could not let M near any of the animals, she did not understand. We had to keep Franny the goat tied up and she did not like that. It was either that, or put her down, we could not do that.
 No one was to help in the barn, or wander the farm, the risk was minimal but we were to take no chances. The health board insisted.
 We threw ourselves into the work. The fields were to be planted; lots of rock picking, I planted a huge garden. We fixed a lot of fences to keep in the large amount of cattle we now had.
 My favourite time of year, with the sunshine, and all the visitors, had now become a horrible, lonely, stressful time.
 The more pigs that were in the barn, the more water I had to carry. The longer days combined with the shortage of money made My Hero have to work longer hours off the farm. This made for more work and time alone for M and me.
 Mary the cow had her calf so I stopped milking her altogether. It was always such a chore to get her into the barn and she never let down her milk for me. I was happy to stop.
The first of August seemed so very far away.
 We had gotten a boar pig named Alfie just a few months before the quarantine; he had bred back our pigs. We would not be able to sell him now, so we were feeding him. This does not sound too bad but anyone that knows farming will realize that Alfie weighed 600 pounds and required a lot of feed. He was literally eating us out of house and home. He ate almost as much feed as the rest of our pigs put together.
 He had to stay in a pen by himself. He never liked that.
 I should tell you a little about Alfie. He came to us from a very nice German speaking man who did not speak a lot of English. He told us how smart Alfie was and that he listened, and responded to commands. This was great, or so we thought, till we realized we did not speak any German, and Alfie did not understand English. This made for interesting, and sometimes dangerous times when we had to move him.
 I grew up around a German Grandmother, I had heard a couple of phrases, and I guess I never knew the real meaning. It turned out the only phrase I ever yelled at Alfie translated to “Nothing to eat.” Who knew? This made him angry, and he never liked me after that.  He started to look at me with his big teeth, like a German dish. I was afraid of him and he knew it. I could not wait till the quarantine was over so he could be sold, and I would not have to stare him in the eye every morning while feeding him.
 The months went by faster than we had imagined. We were working very hard, day and night there were no signs of sick animals, so that was a blessing.
 We had all our winter’s wood up to the house, the fences were fixed, the crops were in and we started cutting and baling some hay. My garden was doing great. Except for the money problem we were holding our own.
 The first week of August came and the health board removed the quarantine. A great day! We had made it. We would be able to sell our stockers, our pigs, and oh yes Alfie. Life would get back to our normal.
 The creditors were lined up, and patiently waiting.
 During this crisis we had a lot of time to revaluate things. We were determined to tear down this house, which was not fit to live in. Our daughter deserved better and so did we. The hard work was hard enough, without suffering through the winters in this house.
 We would make plans to build a new house no matter what.
 With any luck at all (it had to change), we would be able to pull this off after one, or maybe two, more long winters. Only time will tell.



  1. Bless your heart. I do hope you have a much better year this year. I'm thankful your animals were okay. :)

  2. The fun goes right out the window when even one of your animals is down. It sounds as tho you did make it through a very tough time that would have put the average person out of business. You and your hero are obviously very persistent and able to 'take care of business,' when tides turn.
    Keep up the good work. Farming even in the smallest form, takes nerves of steel. I can tell You have that, just by reading of the quarantine situation. I love what you do, Buttons. I miss it.

  3. What a terrible time that must have been for you all. You were all strong and got through the waiting, then came the selling :) = money.
    Wonderful to read, thanks for sharing :)Love M xoxox

  4. Thank you for sharing another story from your past and of course I look forward to hearing more. When I was a child my parents had a huge ornery Duroc boar that they used for breeding purposes...he even developed tusks. So I understand your concerns about Alfie.

  5. Wow!!! This Ozark Farm Chick totally understands. There was a time when our children wore bread wrappers over their shoes to play in the snow and this gal went a month at a time between trips for groceries. We've never been quarantined but let me tell ya sister, we've had many, many devastating mishaps through the years.

    My Granny Walden always said, "what doesn't kill ya just makes ya stronger."

    This was a great read girl!

    God bless ya'll from the happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa!!!

  6. You've been through a lot!! Thanks for sharing your story...makes what WE think are "hard times" seem like mere annoyances!

  7. This is an incredible story. Hard times, with a little humor thrown in. You should try to publish it somewhere. Really.

  8. Wow. I couldn't imagine how long and painful that quarantine period must have been for your family. "Strength of character" is your middle name.

  9. I have been reading thru "Your Journey Posts" and Wow, y'all are survivers...thanks for sharing! Your Journey reminds me of life on the "Farm" when I was a child...Lessons learned then have saved us the past 3 years...

  10. Nancy Thank You.

    Dar I am sure I will miss farming someday also but right now I am very busy. I am happy I can share it with you.

    Whiteangel Yes the money did come in handy and we learned some valuable lessons.

    Mr. H Wow I can still see his big,long teeth can you? Still scares me thinking about it.

    Nezzy yes bread bags we used but even ten years ago we were putting milk bags in our boots they lasted longer. The good old days glad they are gone. My Grandma said the same thing they were right.

    Alica Yes things were tough but we are stronger for it. I appreciate every little thing we have now.

    Michaele Know any publishers? Really I appreciate your comment I love writing it. It sure would be a nice dream. Thanks this means a lot to me. It would be fun to see who would even read it.

    texwisgirl Thank you. It was fun,LOL

    Blessings like your new name and your new blog look. I am glad we lived it because we know we can now make it through anything. "Been there done that".

  11. Farming does make you tough. I thought it was bad enough having other peoples horses here because we couldn't send them home, and not being able to sell a couple of ours, when Australia had the horse flu epidemic a few years ago. The income was tight then too as DH wasn't receiving any more horses to break in over 12 months, but at least I didn't need to look an irritable monster of a boar in the eye every morning!!

  12. What a terrible unsettling time that must have been Buttons.
    The feeling of wasting all that milk and eggs would really grate too.

    A thought struck (ouch!), as I was reading about Alfie, your non-english speaking pig. What a delightful children's story it would make. All the misunderstandings and adventures that Alfie had (or caused) during his boarish life with you :D)

  13. RobynK Oh that is awful it was hard enough looking after are own I can't imagine someone else's. Yes farming does make you tough but it is mostly a good life when you get through them you appreciate things more. Thanks Robyn

    Susan what a great idea!!! I just found out what the phrase I was saying was about 10 years back funny. I can sell you the idea if you want. Just kidding. We should write it. B

  14. I once got a job because I had "a farm background". Since then I have noticed that the background certainly toughens you up and "farmers" aren't afraid of hard work!

    Great story!

  15. "Life is like riding a bike, in order to keep your balance you gotta keep moving!"
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  16. I finally breathed a sigh of relief! Thank goodness the quarantine was finally over...it must have been a wonderful feeling to have that finished. I hope things are better for you in the next installment but I have a feeling that thing's don't get rosy right away.


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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