Senior Profile: Landon Wright Geneva E Vogler Susan L Kremin Local golf teams complete play at state tournament Lady Dragons make school history with tournament win Browning gets hands-on look at NASA’s latest robotics Local beautician celebrates 80th birthday Health Department appeals to November voters Betty R Toller Senior Profile: Craig Horton Helen F Hoffer Super Saturday at Freedom Field Lady Dragons hang on for five-set victory over Manchester Seventh Grade Lady Hounds are SHAC Tournament champions Peebles Elementary announces September Students of the Month Rideout’s Muffler celebrating 40th anniversary this month Senior Citizens levy will appear on November ballot Bonnie J Orr Dorothy M Edenfield Senior Profile: Grace Barge Jerry Paquette Dragons get big 38-20 win at Green Manchester takes varsity team titles at West Union Invitational Lady Devils knock off Peebles on Volley For the Cure Night Manhunt ends with arrest of alleged bank robber Senior Profile: Kelsey Friend Lady Dragons finish as District Runners-Up Sectional pairings announced for volleyball and soccer 2 and 3 and worried is me Patricia Clift Adams County Humane Agent saves abandoned dogs and puppies Tourism had major economic impact on Adams County in 2015 Senator Portman brings his campaign to Adams County Betty E Lawson Sanborn NAHS holds National Honor Society induction ceremonies Harlan W Benjamin Joyce A Lafferty Senior Profile: Lee Hesler Dragons get SHAC win, 2-1 over Fairfield North Adams tops Peebles in ‘Kickin Cancer’ battles Double duty coming at Boys’ State Golf Tournament as West Union and North Adams both qualify Humane Society providing ‘Straws For Paws’ North Adams Elementary honors students and staff Russell Rockwell Julie L Wagner Hobert C Robinson Samuel D McClellan Brenda S Bare Clarencce Walker Jr Dolly M Hilterbrandt Jack Roush Day returns to Manchester West Union FFA has busy opening to school year ODOT opens new full-service Maintenance Facility Peebles Elementary introduces Peer Mentoring program Frost is recipient of Morgan Memorial Scholarship Peebles Fire Department has a new addition Heritage Days return to Tranquility Wheat Ridge Olde Thyme Herb Fair and Harvest Festival begins Friday Caraway Farm hosts annual Pumpkin Festival ‘Run Gio’ makes a visit to Adams County Senior Profile: Mackenzie Smith West Union, North Adams grab top two spots in Division III golf sectional tournament This memory will live with me forever Will M Stern West Union and North Adams-State Bound! Lillian N Smith Betty R Shelton Barbara ER Bohl Brenda Farley Senior Profile: Caitlyn Bradford Dragons roar to 40-0 Homecoming victory Greyhounds take three of four races at annual Adams County Meet Monarch Meadows holds grand opening Discovering a touch of glass on Erie’s Shores Junior L Conaway William B Brumley Sr Fred G Davis Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award Renowned Ohio artist visits WUHS Don and Venita Bowles named 2016 Outstanding Fair Supporters PES students part of new Lego League Ferno donates $2,500 to OVCTC From the cistern to the city water Basketball officiating class being offered in October Peebles rolls by West Union in straight sets Par for the course, Dragons sweep SHAC Golf titles Greyhounds hang on late for first win of 2016 season You have to understand the process to understand the job Alex K Miller Ann E Campbell Scott N Atkinson Senior Profile: Tyler Fowler Martin named to All-Tourney Team in North/South Battlefield Classic 200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley

The only part wasted was the squeal

I know Ecclesiastes 3:1 is quoted often but when reference is made to the farm I can’t think of any verse out of the Bible that fits it better. “To every thing there is a season, and a purpose under the heaven.” Can anyone look around a farm and see a crop or a piece of livestock that doesn’t fit this verse?

No truer is it than this time of year, the time to butcher the hogs. For some reason our farm was where pigs grew into huge 400 plus pound hogs ready for slaughter, but we seemed also the place designed to handle the day of slaughter and the following days of processing all the meat into supplies of food to nourish our bodies for the coming year. We had the scalding pan and the places to hang the sides to chill. We had the meat house with a long bench to cut the sides of a hog into cuts of meat and wrap it or prepare it for the next step which was to sugar cure and put it in a smoke house to hickory cure some cuts.

Let me try to put the butchering process into some sequence of order. First, the hog was shot and the jugular cut to bleed out the hog. If not done quickly, the blood runs into the meat and ruins it all for consumption. From there, the hog is taken to the scalding pan full of hot 150 degree water and dipped into it repeatedly until the hair can be scraped of by special tools. From there the hogs were hung by their back legs until the head was a couple of feet off the ground and then it is gutted and sawed into halves and left to chill out until the next morning when the meat is almost frozen and ready to be cut. We prepared three hogs for our own use. Dad sold hogs to my aunt and uncle, retired neighbors, and even our hired hand got a hog. Some of the families in Moscow would also buy a hog. I have seen as many as 18 hogs hung to chill by the end of a day.

The work was very hard and had to be done quickly and accurately. I will say from all I have described so far I found slaughter day grisly and hard to deal with. Honestly for all the men who helped, and there were many, I saw few taking pleasure or real enjoyment in this process. This is a part of how life was and how we survived, just as all those before us had. At the same time the way it had to be done was with the understanding that doing it right would help it taste good in the end.

By early afternoon the mood changed to less serious as the first hog hung would have the tender loin removed and taken to the house where my Mom along with some of the other wives would slice the loin into inch thick slices and then butterfly it and place it into a skillet for cooking. While they were cooking, Mom had pans of baking soda biscuits along with mashed potatoes and usually green beans to round out the meal.

When the tender loins were done, Mom would make a skillet full of white pork gravy. Once the food was on the table, the men consumed it all immediately, as this was not only a tasty meal, but a long morning of hard work just made it taste even better. After eating the men’s spirits rose to the point of them being ready to go back out and get the day’s job done.

Early on the next morning, everyone went to the meat house and as the sides were brought in one by one each person processed their respective part of the hog that they had been assigned. I liked day two as the blood shed was over and as the sides were brought in they were minus the head. To me this made it less personal as their glazed eyes were no longer staring at me so blankly.

A hog weighing over 400 pounds carried a lot of fat and the fat was cut into cubes and placed into an iron kettle that was built on to a wood box under it. The fire caused the fat to melt and the rendering of the lard began. There were hours and hours of cooking and stirring until the cubes would squeeze flat at which point the cubes and liquid lard would be ladled into a device that allowed the hot grease to drain out a spout and into a five- gallon crock pot for cooling and storage. A lid with a threaded device on top was used to squeeze the rest of the grease out of the cubes of fat leaving only a packed together cake formation of the pork skins that were referred to as the “cracklins.” While fresh and hot, they might possibly be the tastiest morsel you probably have never had the pleasure to eat.

This took days and nights to complete but when the work was complete there was no doubt that our family and everyone that invested in a hog were set to eat well for another year and were thankful that the time for this blessing had come again. There is an old German saying that when a hog is butchered there is to be no waste and that every part of the hog has a use and therefore must be used. So when the scalding pan was put away for another year, they would say “ The only part of that hog wasted was the squeal.”

Rick Houser was raised on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at

The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 People's Defender