Thursday, September 20, 2012

Never eat anything you've named...(My dirty little Vo-Ag Secret!)

Okay, this post might end up being a little (okay EXTREMELY) "rambly" but Deal-With-It, k?!!

I'm gonna spare you ALL the gory details, but I ended up serving a 2-year "sentence" in God's Country: West Jordan, Utah.  This was in the mid-70's - shortly after my grandpa had died - and West Jordan was mostly comprised of Cow-Pastures, right?

Now, it's mostly cheesy 'toilet-paper-and-duct-tape' (read: Low-Rent) Insta-Housing-Developments.

So I thought I would try to embed a "Let's Go Back In Time!" kinda video from Wayne's World.  Couldn't find one, but I found this and found it utterly amusing.  Totally unrelated to my post (other than the "Doodle-Oodle-Ooh" Flashback sequence), but still funny enough to post:

So yeah, let's go back to The Seventies!  Abba, Roller Disco, Farrah Fawcett haircuts, and Bell-bottomed jeans!  "Far-out, man!"

So I had been sent to go live with my dad, on a farm we inherited from my maternal grandfather.  The house was teeny-tiny.  2BR/1BA, and the second bedroom was BARELY big enough for a twin-sized bed, but the house was situated on one acre of land, with lots of neat old barns to explore, and was surrounded by another 17-18 acres (or so) of pasture land (owned by my uncles - and leased-out to a beef farmer, so he could fatten his herd).

Initially, I was only supposed to spend the summer there.  And while it was supposed to be ("Punishment?") (a means to "get me away from the EVILS of California?") (Most likely, it was just to get me out of my mom's hair!), it turned out to be pretty good times.  I was always a "Daddy's Girl," so all that time - just Me and My Dad - was actually very cool!

The back-story behind that (Remember the Blog-Name: "QT's Random Ramblings") was that Dad decided to take early retirement from his job (27 years with United Airlines) - withOUT consulting Mom first!  Mom (who, at the time, was a total B*tch on Rollerskates) was none too pleased with Dad's decision (she was still working, and was the major breadwinner), so Dad got "exiled" first - when grandpa died and left us this property.  Then, since *I* was entering puberty and was just beginning to show signs of "rebelliousness" (I know, hard to believe - right?!), I was exiled to God's Country shortly thereafter...
I actually have lots of cool "Utah Stories" - but I'll try to stay focused because there actually IS a point in here - someplace!!!

So I spent the Summer of 1977, exiled in West Jordan, Utah.  The original plan was that we would move-back to California in the fall.  But dad and I found that we really rather enjoyed the "Country Lifestyle" and we started acquiring a bit of a menagerie while we were there.  I think it started with Chiquita - a puppy we got at the local shelter.  She was supposed to be a dachshund mix, but her legs just kept growing-and-growing.  We think she was a chihuahua/min-pin mix (Goofy, nervous little dog!).  We also acquired Patches, a dachshund-dalmation mix (body, coloring, head, and stupidity of a dalmation - with squatty-little legs - more like a basset-hound in size/conformation).  But Patches was not (and could not be) housebroken, so we put a "Free Dog" sign out at the end of our driveway and someone (mercifully) took her away.
Next: Since we were on a farm, we thought it would be cool to get chickens for eggs, right?  We looked thru the newspaper (this was LOOOOOONNNNG before the internet), and picked up a couple-three white leghorn hens.  We brought them home in a large box, tucked into the back of our 1974 Pinto Squire Station Wagon ("Stylin!"):
Yes, ours was like the car on the right - only a darker brown!

As we were driving home, we heard a couple-three "clucking frenzies" coming from the back of the car.  And, by the time we got home, the hens had laid THREE eggs! "SCORE!!!"

Those, by the way, were the ONLY eggs we ever ate.  See, even though we had chickens, we didn't realize that hens needed "designated nesting boxes" in which to deposit their eggs.  From that day forward, the hens would lay their eggs "wherever" and - by the time we discovered them - we had NO clue how long they'd been there -and were scared to eat them!

And, while we're on the subject of chickens, we found another chicken farm - closer to home - that specialized in all kinds of "fancy breeds" and had lots of bantams.  I, being a City Girl (and utterly clueless!), was always drawn to the "Prettier" birds and dad, equally clueless, would buy whatever I chose - right?

I'm SURE the people at that particular farm were THRILLED whenever us "Stupid Californians" would come by to purchase chickens because we, invariably, ended up taking home most of their roosters!  

I couldn't tell you what the rooster-to-hen ratio was.  Let's just say it was WAAAAY the hell out of whack (I want to say we probably had about 5 roosters to 1 hen!) (x appx 35 chickens, total), and - by the end of spring - the poor hens were literally BALD from having been gang-raped by all the roosters!

But we sure had a pretty flock!

(And mom - a born 'n bred farm-girl - would just roll her eyes at the ridiculousness of it all).

We also acquired a couple of goats, some geese, and ducks.  And ultimately I achieved my Life-Long DREAM of getting My Very Own Horse! (That's a separate story.  Not sure if I ever blogged about it - but if I didn't - I'll post it another time)...

Well, long-story-short (Too Late!), we ended up with SO many animals, moving back to California for the school-year was no longer a viable option.  We decided to STAY in Utah...

So I ended up going to West Jordan Junior High (and - by the time I graduated - WJJH developed a reputation of being THE place to go if you wanted to score, umm, "Medicinal Herbs!")  (Of course it wasn't called THAT, back then - but you get the idea!) (And I claim no personal responsibility for ANY of that, but I won't deny that I may have "participated!").  And then, the following year, I went to Bingham High School...

Now, I was an Uber-Geek in California (Long before "Geek was Cool," k?).  You know that super-ugly, fat, greasy-haired, four-eyed, "Fatso" kid that everybody picked-on?  Yeah, that was me!  

...And now that I had a "fresh start" in a new state, I wanted to shed my old persona...  While I wasn't ugly (with too-short "floods" pants) anymore, I was still a wee-bit chubby, and yes, I still had glasses.  But the braces were gone, and I wasn't quite so greasy-haired, and I was a bit more Worldly and Wise (for a 15-year old) (I was still stupid as sh*t  - in retrospect!).

In Utah, I found the schools to be unbelievably clique-ish.  And there really wasn't a specific clique that I fit-into, readily.  But that was okay, because there were enough of us "misfits" to create our OWN clique, right?!

The two groups that I aligned-with, most closely, were the "Stoners" and the "Cowboys" and, unfortunately, those two cliques appeared to be Mortal Enemies.  Well, the band of misfits ended up being sort-of a mashup of "Stoner Cowboys"  and that ended up being pretty cool.

(In fact, I learned how to roll joints in Art Class.  A fellow "Stoner-Cowboy" Misfit taught me how to roll joints - using shavings from the pencil-sharpener in Art Class, and we'd leave them strewn-about in the "Stoner Hallway!")...

But I digress...  And YES, there is a "point" coming!  I promise!!!

So, yeah, I became a "Stoner Cowboy" and - somehow - both groups (Mortal Enemies, as previously noted) came to accept our "Mash-up" clique.  Okay, they didn't "embrace" us - but they didn't kick our @$$es, either.  So I take that as "Acceptance!"

And somehow or other, I ended-up joining the Future Farmers of America - and I probably took a Vo-Ag Class or two (can't recall, offhand).  Part of that endeavor was that I decided I wanted to raise a steer to sell at the County Fair.  And that fit in, just fine, because I had befriended "Stan," the cool old geezer-guy (who leased the surrounding 18-acres from my uncles for his beef herd).  I'm pretty-sure he's the one who hooked me up with my hereford calf.  No clue (at this point) who "financed" the purchase.  I've actually got it stuck-in-my-head that FFA actually paid for it (with the understanding that I would pay it back when the steer, ultimately, got sold).  But it might've been my parents...

Anywaaaaaayyyyy...  In addition to the dogs, and chickens, and ducks, and geese, and goats, and horse, we added a hereford steer to the menagerie!  And Dad was totally cool with all of it (Dad had a KILLER Veggie Garden, as well!).  So I set-about raising "Boogie" (yes, it was the '70s - so "Boogie" was an appropriate name.  Shut UP, k?!) while training my horse, and feeding the other critters..........  It was a simply GRAND time - seriously!!!

And, even though I still had lingering "visuals" of the 4-H kids, at the San Mateo County Fair (in California), snuggling-up and crying into their critters' necks - the last night of the fair, I figured I could do the whole "Raise a Steer" thing...
And so I persevered............

Of course, I managed to get in my own share of trouble - in the meantime (details *not* forthcoming!).  And the overall stress got to be a bit much for my Dad...

Long Story Short (Oh, we are Hell and GONE from that!), Dad ended up having a heart attack (he survived).  Mom and Sis would've had me believe it was All My Fault - but (judgement aside - "It was what it was"), we ended-up having to pack-up the Pinto and drive back to California in a damned hurry.  Friends and neighbors took care of the critters for a few weeks/months after we'd left - but ultimately, the critters had to be dealt with.

And mom flew back to Utah to handle the "dealing with" of the menagerie....

The chickens, I have no clue what happened to them, but I'm guessing they were all given away.  Ditto the goats.  The dog came back with us, in the car.  The geese and ducks had long-since died.  That left the horse (who was trailered to California - amazingly enough) (again, that's a separate story!), and Boogie, the hereford steer, who was not yet old enough/big enough for slaughter...

Mom, evidently, had tried to sell him back to the FFA (or offered to reimburse them, or whatever), but apparently that didn't fly.  We were "on the hook" for the original sales price, and FFA wouldn't take him back (and I learned all this - many-many years "after the fact").

So mom, when she returned from Utah, "coincidentally" had a couple-three suitcases full of "Fresh Beef" which was stashed in our ginormous freezer...

I wasn't stupid, though, so I took a vow of "vegetarianism" for approximately one year (until all of the "Fresh Beef" was depleted from our freezer!).
Yeah, those steaks looked *mighty* tasty (and I have no doubt that they WERE)...  But I steadfastly REFUSED to eat anything I'd named!!!
In spite of the fact that mom vehemently DENIED that we were eating "Boogie," I knew better!!!

So yeah, I can't honestly claim that "Home-Grown Beef" is better than "Store-Bought Beef" (although I am SURE that it is!).  I just couldn't see myself eating my own "pet" - ya know?!!  That just seems too freaky, right?

Now....................  Fast-Forward to 2012.................

Me and Finny are going in halvsies on a 4H/FFA Pig.  See?  The "Never eat anything you've named" Rule does NOT apply to eating something that SOMEONE ELSE has named!

So, in a couple of weeks, I'll be going to the San Benito County Fair to purchase a "humanely raised" 4H/FFA Pig which will be butchered and cut to our specifications...  I'll post more as the "Adventure" continues - but I've learned a whole lot, so far!

Anyway, I think it's time to cut this post OFF!  I've rambled plenty, right?!!

More to follow...............................................

xoxo if you've made it this far!!!


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