I remember when my Sister was about 3 or 4 years old. We lived in a rural area of Logan, Utah. It was a former Fox Ranch. They raised fox for their fur. My Dad and Uncle used it as a base for raising mink for fur. There was also a large fenced pasture next to the house for two horses - Star and Tony (correction added - 10/21/12)
I recall one winter when my Sister and I were walking with my Dad to the mink pens for feeding time.
The mink were kept in wire-mesh cages with 1/4" mesh on all sides. There would be a small wooden box inside each cage for the mink to make their nests.
Feeding the mink would entail grabbing a hand full of ground horse meat and plopping it on top of the wire mesh. The mink would raise up on their haunches and eat the meat through the wire mesh.
The weather that day was very cold and we were all bundled up in our coats and mittens. When we were done with the feeding and got back to the house, my Mom found frozen horse ahhh... droppings in my little sister's coat pockets!
"I found 'ball-o's'" she said (balls).
My little sis had seen the droppings frozen to the ground and thinking they were balls, she put them into her pockets. Mom threw them outside and then threw the coat and Sis's mittens into the wash.
Some kids grow up with odd hobbies! I wonder if she still collects crap?
Around the same time, certainly while we lived in the same house I had an experience that still makes me chuckle when I think back on it...
I mentioned the mink food being ground-up horse meat... well we didn't grind it up ourselves (we only had two horses!). There were several mink ranchers in the area so they had formed a cooperative, a "Co-Op".
The Co-Op would have the horse meat ground and delivered to the mink ranchers weekly. The truck would arrive in our driveway and we would place large wheel-barrows beneath the chute at the back of the truck and several hundred pounds of ground horse meat would go into each tub. They were then wheeled into the barn to await being taken to the mink buildings for feeding time.
Often times the full wheel-barrows would remain in the barn overnight. When we would go to the barn in the morning, we would find the loads of meat covered with feeding rats.
The rats would be so fat from eating all night that they couldn't run away and were very easy to catch.
One morning I went to the barn and managed to catch eight rats. I held them in my hands with each tail between my fingers so that I could hold them up and they would dangle from my hands. I was excited to have caught so many and I wanted to show someone what I had done! I was sooo proud of myself.
I made my way back to the house and shouted to my Mom. She called back from inside the bathroom. She was taking a bath. I told her that I had something very cool to show her so she said, "Come-in". I went in... holding the rats behind my back so as to surprise her... I did!
"Look what I caught" I said as I held out eight rats dangling from my little hands.
"Yeeaaaggghhhhhaaaeee!" my Mom screamed (Very loudly). I was so startled that I let all the rats go at once. They promptly all fell into Mom's bath water while at the same time my Mom was making a valiant effort to walk on water, wrap herself in a towel and scream all at once. It all happened so fast!
Okay, it wasn't very funny at the time. I cried as I pulled drowned rats from the bathtub and put them in a bucket. Mom was screaming at Dad who was laughing so hard that Mom got even more angry.
My Uncle Ted, who lived a half mile down the road had come running because he had heard my Mom scream (She was only 4' 11" tall, but she could scream!), was also sitting on the floor laughing so hard he couldn't stand up.
Mom pouted for about a week before she came out and forgave me, but I don't think her heart was in it.
I learned that the rats belonged outside and that no matter how many I had managed to catch, Mom didn't want to see them. Ever!
I was in my teens when I was reminded of this incident from my childhood by my Dad retelling the story to a relative... It all came flooding back to me! This time though, it was funny! I have never forgotten it! Great memories!
The Geezer is slowing down but my precious memories keep me young! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!