Open Session: What Readers Think

| February 2007

When pigs fly - Remember when farmers stored hay loose in the hay mow, and the barn roof was extended on one end? A hay car ran the length of the barn and was attached to the ridge roof, and giant forks were used to haul hay up and into the hay mow. A team of horses at the opposite end of the barn was needed to pull the hay up and into the barn.

My father, Wes Stuart, was a farmer in northwest Ohio. A neighbor, Hub Conn, had asked my dad to help butcher a hog that was so big he could not handle it alone.

So, Dad and my brother, Owen, showed up one cold winter morning to help. Hub was ready for the butchering. He had a barrel of boiling water set up. Hogs were dipped in boiling water to loosen hair, then scraped as part of butchering.

A barrel was set up right below the hay mow window where they killed and bled the hog. The hog was trussed and attached to the hay car rope. A team of horses was ready to go at the other end of the barn. Hub's wife, Mary, was in charge of the horses.

Hub called to Mary, and she said, 'Giddy up.' The horses pulled forward, the pig was raised over the barrel, Mary backed up the team, and the hog was lowered into the water. My brother thought, 'Wow, this is a great way to raise and lower a hog.' It was a lot easier than struggling with a rope and tackle over a tree line.

When the hog was ready to be pulled out of the water, Hub yelled to Mary, and Mary pulled the team forward. That was a problem! The hog was wedged in the barrel, so the barrel and the hog rose off the ground. So, Dad and Hub found some two-by-fours and started banging on the barrel to release the hog.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!