March 11, 1941

"The Chick, the Sheep and The Neighbor's German Shepherd"

Life down on the farm wasn't all that easy. It really was a lot of work for Mom and Pop. They always planted a big garden, raised their own potatoes, and most of the vegetables for the table were from the garden. I think it was Mom's job mostly to take care of the garden once it was planted. Many jars were filled with fruits and vegetables and there also was a root cellar where potatoes, apples and such were stored. It was a cellar made of cement and covered over with sod. This same cellar was a good place to be in time of a tornado or bad storm.

Fixing three meals a day without a freezer or refrigerator was not an easy task, but it was accomplished. There wasn't anyone that happened to be at Mom and Pop's at meal time that was not invited to eat with them.

When hogs were butchered or beef killed, sausage and chunks of beef were canned and oh so good. There were times in the summer when there was an ice box and that was a lot of help. In those days farmers had chickens, eggs, milk, cream, butter, meat and all of those good things to make a wonderful meal. It wasn't like today where most all farmers go to the super market to purchase their food.

Bantam chickens always had the run of the barn. One year there was an early spring and it was still very cold with snow on the ground. One bantam hen laid one egg and hatched one baby chick. It was such a tiny orphan and to be sure it had a hard time. Well a sheep in the barn had a baby lamb early too. This little lamb took care of the little chick. It would bend down on its knees and let the chick hop upon its back. The chick's feet kept so warm in the lamb's wooly back. The two of them explored the farm together. We even took a picture of the two of them.

Sometimes it seems that no matter how well everything seems to be going, something happens to bring a halt to all of that.

After Lou and I were married and lived in Peoria, we frequently would go down to home for the weekend. I loved to hunt and the farm was the perfect place for me to do that. One morning, just before daylight, Pop woke me and said the dogs were in the sheep. We got our guns and went in the direction the dogs were barking, which was way back on the creek. We managed to get two of the dogs, but two of them got away including a big German shepherd. The dogs had driven the sheep into the creek, which wasn't very deep. The sheep were in the mud and their wool was so wet that they couldn't get out. Several sheep were killed and some had their ears chewed off. We also learned that the same dogs had killed a number of another neighbor's sheep.

One of the dogs that got away, a German shepherd, looked like it belonged to a neighbor to the South. Pop went to see him and told him about the dogs killing the sheep and that one of the dogs looked like his dog. The neighbor, in no uncertain terms let Pop know that his dog did not kill sheep and that further more his dog was always at home and locked up.

Lou and I went back to Peoria, but were back the next weekend. On Monday morning about dawn, Pop awoke me and said that the dogs were in the sheep again. We got our guns and took off as before. We were fortunate enough to get the two other dogs, including the German shepherd. We put them on the brush pile to burn later.

In the afternoon the neighbor came over to see if Pop had seen his dog. Pop told him that he had shot a German shepherd and that it was on the brush pile. But, he told him, that he was sure it wasn't his dog because it never left home and didn't kill sheep. The neighbor went to the brush pile and took his dog home.

He tried to sue Pop and even wanted him arrested. When the judge heard the case he threw it out. The sheep were never bothered again after that.

Chuck Tyler