Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flip a U-Turn at Leonard, TX -- Black Hogs Part 3

So on from KS to TX. More toll roads, flat country and sunshine. Oh yeah, I never mentioned the weather did I? Well what would you expect for the first of November in ID, UT, WY, KS, OK and TX? Why 70-80 degrees and sunny right? Well that's what we got. I was sure the weather would be foul. But if I wanted pigs in 2008, the end of October was as good as it was going to get. Well, it was like some big hand parted the sky just for us. Just so you know this is not entirely hyperbole, on Halloween in Fort Collins the news said it was the warmest it had been in 20 years.

But I digress...again. On to Texas. TEXAS. Fortunately the toll road in KS (35 South I think) was cheap and fast. We blinked and missed most of OK. Well not exactly, we did get to stop at a well vandalized road side marker for some of the local geology.

At this point I began to depend on my questionable Map Quest directions again and Uncle Chris and I wandered off into the hinterlands of TX and OK. Having decided that enough is enough, I called Cathy, at Oleo Acres, to get much needed instructions for finding the farm. I had learned by now not to depend on my Map Quest directions for the "last mile."

After a short chat (with Cathy digging through an atlas) we figured out where we were was and where we needed to go. A while later Cathy met us at a gas station in Leonard. We trailed her out to the farm and settled in with some fresh Jo (Coffee) and warm little conversation. It was here I met John and Bobbie as well as Mr. Cox (Tim). At the time I arrived Tim was laying waste to some brush with the tractor and mower. I'm told this is one of his favorite activites. I completely understand. One of the benefits of being a farmer (for me) is snarling powerful equipment. Makes me do my best Tim Allen impersonation. I was lucy to discover that Bobbie makes some mean cheese (thanks again for the supply) and John was sure (after watching me snatch our intended pigs) that I had previous experience stealing pigs. I took it as quite a compliment :) These folks are into their operation, love their beasts and have a vision for what they want to accomplish. And they have a good sense of humor.

We had been invited to stay the night in the "half way house", eat some dinner and generally loaf about the farm. Two out of three ain't bad. I made the executive decision that I would rather get home late Sunday, and have all Monday off to sort out matters before returning to my real job on Tuesday. This meant driving all night. The decision was not well received by Uncle Chris...but he was getting to sleep either way. So after a load up of critters, some excellent dinner (I never knew I liked Motzaball soup) at about 8 PM local time...we bid farewell to Oleo Acres and headed home.

West, then North. I think. I swear the skyline seemed to never change at night. Oil rigs? Could be...I was groggy and it was dark. Hauled on up to Amarillo (something to see at night) and then slept in a parking lot in either North Texas or the sliver of OK we passed through. We saw a lot of empty places in south Colorado. It wasn't till I collided with I-70 that I saw anything familiar. Daytime was travelling through CO, WY and into UT. Not much had changed in a week. Just as we hit UT the rain started. Even though Ogden is 550 miles from home, I felt like we were almost there. Onward and up on through the emptiness of Northern UT and Southern ID. Mind plays games when it is to tired to work anymore. In the dark I would have sworn there were big fir trees all along the way. I know full well there weren't any...but I thought I could see them. I kept seeing lakes too. That could have been rain on the ground. Or hallucinations.

Anyway...ID kept on coming and it was getting cold. We stopped for a rest (so we could trade drivers) and I thought I was going to freeze. I also noticed that by Boise we had lost most of the truck traffic. Granted this was the first night driving we did, but the highway was positively empty. This was alright as the headlights of my truck were tilted up (weight of the trailer) and I was getting flashed by every oncoming car and truck all night long. Into LaGrande, Pendleton and along the back roads from Milton-Freewater to our home.

Anyway...sometime around 4:30 AM we arrived back at the farm. I think Uncle Chris drove home, but for all I know he rode a Chariot. I was pretty rummy by then (1 hour of sleep in 32 hours) and I don't recall things real clearly. I left the piggies in the trailer and moved them into their long term housing in the morning.

I was delighted. The kids and the Mrs fell in love with the floppy ears and willingness to have their belly scratched. Here they are adapting to their new home (spending winter in what will be Farrow pens next summer...while these are out on the pasture) and you can also see the initial reaction of our Llama. He went NUTS. Much better now. And that's how we became pig farmers.

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