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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby Farmers

These baby Smiths' great-grandaddy Lawrence has been our "cowman" for many years, buying, selling, hauling in and out, and generally tending to the needs of our little herd. His detailed memory is simultaneously remarkable and inscrutable: "That little red heifer with the white tail and foot, you know, bought her a couple of years ago. Pregnant, had that big black calf, and the little one with the foot that wasn't quite right, sold them so she's paid for. Think I'll take her down Tuesday, prices looking good, maybe can find a couple a yearlings, not gonna calve this year. " We've done ok just taking his word for it.

Miss Nancy, his wife, was the crossing guard down at Wade School in Scottsboro for about 35 years, and is known around our house for her great good humor and those squash pickles. Miss Nancy called one afternoon many years ago, commenting on the blistering weather, and asked if her friends could come swimming. They came--about five ladies in dresses and pantyhose--and jumped fully-clad, panty-hose and all, laughing hysterically, into the pool. Pretty wild bunch.

Lawrence told me that he had never lived more than 5 miles from our place his whole life. His daddy was a sharecropper--the family even lived up in our own holler for a while.

Farm maintenance--and our survival!-- has only been possible these many years because Lawrence and his clan were out here. And, I must say, they have had the cutest grandbabies and now great-grandbabies I've ever seen. A couple of the Smith granddaughters were excellent bushhoggers in their day--could put a tractor across our pastures as well as anybody.

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