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It’s 22 Below Zero
It’s 1954 and I’m farming the home place here in Edina but I’m living three and a half miles northeast of Edina in the Klocke’s parents house, just north of Paul. I have Landrace sows ready to pig, of all times mid-January. It was my notice that one of the sows was showing signs she might give birth that evening or night, this gave me deep concern thinking she might pig that night. My conscience got the best of me about midnight, that she might pig in which case the piglets might not survive 20 below zero.
So, it was about midnight, I tried to start my old Chevy car to drive into town to check on my sows. But the old Chevy would not start so I jumped on my John Deere model A and though she labored, the A started and I headed for town. Wow, it’s 22 below zero – I mean it’s cold! I could only go about a mile before I had to jump off and hug the exhaust manifold and try to warm up a bit.
It’s about one o’clock when I get to Highway 15 and head south. I only go about half mile till I have to jump off and hug the manifold again. It was then the thought hit me. What if the tractor gives out on me? I’m almost too cold to walk. But Johnny stayed with me and I pulled in the drive and forgot about the hugs and ran in mom’s house and warmed up some. I’m almost too stiff to walk.
When I shut the old A down, I wanted to kiss it but first things first. Mom’s old white oak was still burning and the heat had never felt so good. As soon as I warmed up, I beat it down to the barn to check the sows. Sure enough, one sow was pigging. Three of the first five out froze. I dried the other two and got them to suck. Once full of milk they will survive. She had 8 more, all did well once I dried them off and got them to suck. With all the pigs born, dried, and sucking, I put an old horse blanket over her and her piglets. They seemed warm and secure with the heat lamps and blanket.
Satisfied that I had done all I could I beat it to the house and fell asleep in the chair, soaking up the heat from the old heating stove. Mom fixed me a cup of hot coffee. I spent the next day helping sows have pigs at 20 below zero. It had warmed up to zero when I headed home on that trusty old John Deere A tractor.
Contributed by Bill Lewis