Gathered Around the Hearthfire — II

Gathered Around the Hearthfire — II


My guest blogger this morning is my niece Missy Albrecht. The stories are some my brother Tracy Day told her. They are family stories, handed down from generation to generation. Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and also of oral history, often told as families gathered around the hearthfire after a day’s work. I enjoy hearing them and am grateful to both Tracy and Missy for sharing them here.

My dad enjoys reminiscing about days gone by.  Especially times from his growing-up years in the hills of Oklahoma.  As we chat in the evenings about this or that, he’ll tell me stories about things that made an impression.  Usually, they are funny events, even all these years later.  One of his favorite stories is about the alcoholic pig they had once upon a time.

My grandpa had built a trench silo to make his own silage.  A trench silo is just about what it sounds like – a long trench in the ground.  The corn is stored here, stalks and all chopped into smaller pieces,  just as it would be in an upright silo, which is a much more expensive storage option.  Now, as the green corn sits in the trench, there is some natural fermentation going on as the silage is made. Silage is made by placing cut green vegetation in a silo and compressing it down so as to leave as little oxygen as possible, then covering it with a plastic sheet.  Now, I know very little about silage or the making of it, so I turned to my trusty internet to get some information.  I learned that during fermentation, volatile fatty acids in are produced which act as a natural preservative. Also, several of the fermenting organisms produce vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin B12. Anyway, the pig would drink the liquid that he found at the edge of the silo.  As this was a  byproduct of the fermentation process, it was somewhat alcoholic!  He would trot around with his head up and his tail straight up in the air, squealing and carrying on!  Daddy said he didn’t know a pig’s tail could stand straight up in the air like that! Pigs being what they are, it was difficult to tell if he was enjoying this or in pain, but he would return every day for another drink, so we can only suppose that he enjoyed his very own “happy hour”! I can just about see my grandma shaking her head as she watched that pig and I can hear her saying, “well, bless his heart.”

Another story that he’s shared with me is one about a thrill-seeking cat.  Ma (my great-grandmother) had a cat that she would let into the house from time to time, but as cats do, she tended to have kittens.  At these times, she would take herself off to the old granary across the road from Ma and Pappy’s house.  After the kittens were born, she would lie in the grass beside the road and keep watch so that nothing disturbed those babies. I suppose she couldn’t think of anything more disturbing than a dog.  Whenever a dog would happen by, she would race out of her hiding place and jump on the unsuspecting dog’s back. Naturally, this caused the dog to run like the very devil himself had just hitched a ride!  After they had gone several yards down the road, mama cat would jump off and trot back to her hiding place to await her next victim.  Daddy always felt sorry for the dogs since they never knew what had hit them that first time.  All the dogs in the area learned to give the granary a wide berth!

by Michelle Day Albrecht


  1. Marcia McCown says

    Made me laugh!!! Thanks for sharing 🥰🥰

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