Down On the Farm

PigsOne should be so lucky to live on a farm!  Surrounded by animals of all kinds and handling the challenges each day that go along with them!

Getting up at 3:00 am, getting dressed and going to  the barn, in the pouring down rain on a very cold, dark December night to “nurse” the new, ten little piglets, is really a chore to be reckoned with.  But, you can do it, and do it you must if you are raising pigs on a farm.

Other chores are not so bad or distasteful.  Actually most are down-right enjoyable to do in the sunny, warm weather on a pretty day.  Feeding is the biggest thing and  EVERYBODY wants to eat, of course.  Fortunately, we have a good bit of pasture for the  cattle, sheep, goats and horses, but, come winter time it takes a lot of hay and grain to supplement.

The chickens, turkeys and ducks kinda free roam around the farm and aside from their daily corn and laying mash are pretty much on their own.  There are also two pet, wondering pigs, one big “Honey” and one small “Tiny,” which have the run of the barn yard.  Then there are the rabbits, which are kept in hutches and little yards.  The donkeys, “Jackie” and “Ashley,” protect the sheep against coyotes and other predators, like fox, wild dogs and predator birds, such as owls and hawks.

Then there are the two dogs, which are guard dogs. One Great Pyrenees, Commadore, Labra-Doodle sorta mix named “Kiba” (Hebrew for Protector) and a smaller Australian Cattle Dog, named Jilly Bug.  They do a great job around the farm and we couldn’t do without them.

Then there are the four cats, who all have names and individual personalities.  Barnsy, who never goes to the barn, Little Bit, Yellow Bell, and Cherrio.  They are all a delight, most of the time, good mousers and add a lot of charm to the old farm.

The horses are Ginger, our buggy horse, (a Bay), Dixie,( good rider, her fold), Taffey, (our throw you off Palomino), Lady,(beautiful chestnut) good Quarter Horse,  and one-eyed Harley  beautiful Paint,(charity case), and Charlie (deceased Shetland pony) and Touch of Class (loaned out race horse). Each one has their own story and they don’t mind telling you!  The kids and grand-kids can tell you all about them!

In the last few weeks  of this winter, counting the pigs in November, we have had about 30 new babies on the farm; pigs, goats and sheep! Almost a thousand bales of hay to come in and put up, winter rye seed to sow, fencing to repair and build, and feeding and water care daily.  Even when it freezes!  And, I forgot to tell you about the Alpacas and the Milk Goat and her twins!

All in all, it is one exciting place.  My wife really loves it and says it is “Her” farm and I think it really is.  She does most of the feeding on the week-ends and just can’t get enough of it all!  She really loves it!  Thank goodness, we have some very good farm helpers, full time during the week!  We couldn’t do it all without them and I say “Thank You ” to them every day!

So, you think you might like to live on a farm?  It is really great in so many ways, having fresh farm eggs every day, a big vegetable garden, farm grown meat, and demonstrating to the extended family, how a moderate little” North Georgia Farm,” can really enhance your quality of living!  It ain’t no picnic, but it sure is a lot of fun!


The American Civil War

The American Civil War or The War Between the States was a crucible of self-determination for all Americans. The years 1861-1865 were four of the most formative years that faced all Americans since 1776 when we first declared our independence from Great Britain.

Nowhere, in the annals of history, were the implications more complex and yet seemingly simplistic. Slavery was foremost in the minds of all abolitionists and its abolishment would have no end to its means. States’ rights were equally important to all of those who felt that self-determination remained within the power of each state. Economics, of course, entered into the fray as well as cultural more’s on each side of the question. All in all, it was an awful mess, that ultimately, would only be settled by what you might call a contest of fisticuffs and weapons to the extreme! It would remain, until this day, one of the great enigmas of our time!

When I was a small boy, about the age of six years old, I was first introduced to the records of this great conflict through a book, “The American Heritage Picture History of the American Civil War,” at the local library in Austell, Georgia. This book, among other things, carried the outstanding artist work of David Greenspan, depicting many of the epic battles of this great war. They were broadly scoped, colorful, and almost three-dimensional in their rendering. In short, they were marvelous! Only there could a young child or even an adult begin to take in and understand the scope and gravity of this great conflict. I was hooked, line and sinker on the graphic subject matter, and over time this interest only intensified.

By the time I was twelve years old, only six more years, I was deeply involved in the whys and wherefores of this momentous event in our history. In only one more year, the United States of America would celebrate our 100th Anniversary of this formative event. Much was planned to commemorate the event. I wanted to be a part of this commemoration, and I learned from some friends about re-enacting. Soon, I was joined up with the Twelfth Georgia Light Artillery and The First Georgia Volunteers, depending on the day and time. I made many new friends and was introduced to many new people, places and things, like weapons and equipment. It was very exciting and a great adventure, especially for such a young fellow as myself.

Over the next four years, I would travel to places all over the country for re-enactments and would receive a “Medal of Participation” for that particular battle. Places like Olustee, Florida, Brices’ Crossroads, Mississippi, Chicamaugua, Georgia, Chattannoga, Tennessee, Jonesboro, Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia and others. The medals hang on my fireplace mantle today, as a reminder of my own little contribution to the remembering of these momentous occasions. These were great formative years for me.

The highlight of these exciting times for me was the formal dedication of the only Georgia Monument at Kennesaw Mountain National Military Park, when I was part of the Confederate Honor Guard. It was a humbling and memorable time in my early life. I was only 16 years old.

Today, I honor that memory! As I now continue to move on at the ripe old age of 67, I still can hear the “Bugle Call” of that long-ago time, just like the young boys before me who answered the call for real. New wars, and new boys and girls, men and women, have now heard and answered the call for battle in this new age. The time we live in is challenging and presents new thoughts and new actions. My hope and final thought is that we will learn from the past, we will remember the fallen, and we will strive to make the future a wonderful place to live for us and for those who come after, free from strife, hurt and pain and full of fulfillment and peace.