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Grandpas Animals
My grandpa, Elmer, had a way with animals. He never had to 'break' a horse and got them to work without raising a fuss. He would talk gently and develop trust that made the animals work for him like none other. Grandpa always took good care of his stock. Besides regular barn cleaning, his tradition was to thoroughly clean the barn and have new bedding for Christmas Eve because Jesus was born in a stable.

Not all the animals were so loyal. Grandpa had a gander that ruled the farmyard. One day, grandpa was carrying milk from the barn to the milk-house when the gander was in the yard. Milk pails are made with round bottoms so you can't set them down, except in the milking stand or after they've been emptied into the separator. Grandpa was caught with two full buckets and a gander bearing down on him. He couldn't run without spilling the milk so he just winced as that gander found his mark and Grandpa's seat. Grandpa just continued on to the milk-house with 'goose-trailer' in tow. As he entered the door of the milk-house, the gander released his vice like grip and Grandpa continued his chores with a nasty strawberry to nurse for a day or two. I was greatly impressed that Grandma wasn't plucking feathers that night.

Grandpa had a soft heart for animals and could never butcher his own. He always ate the neighbor's cow in trade for the one he had raised. They didn't eat much meat. A little in the stew was all. Roasts were unknown and except for an occasional chicken or two, they ate little meat. My mom remembers her first steak dinner with my dad and thinking how anyone could eat that much beef all by themselves.

Electricity came late to the North Dakota farm. When it did come, it remained outside on a pole where it lit a single light between the house and the barn. It was a great blessing but no one ever thought of bringing it inside the house. What ever for?

Submitted By: Tyler(WA) from WA on 2000-01-12

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