Hog killing time on the Farm.
In the cold weather of Fall there would be a gathering of men with guns, and women in clean aprons, armed with sharp knives at the farm. It was when the unsuspecting pigs were to be made into hams, bacon, sausage, scrapple, and soap. That was a most unpleasant time for me. There would be the sound of gunshots, terrible squealing and then, finally, silence.
Big boiling vats of water were made ready for the poor dead pigs. Bristles would be removed from their carcasses by strong men with big brushes, and the pigs would then be carried to wooden trestle tables and cut up into bits.
Women who normally looked like sweet, harmless little creatures would hack and cut and grind and stuff parts of those pigs until finally the smoke house was full of hanging meat. Hickory logs were laid on the concrete floor of that building and lit on fire. Soon the logs would be reduced to hot coals. The coals would be tended for about a week or more, producing the fumy smoke that was needed that was needed to cure the meats.
In warmer months, when there was no longer any meat hanging in there, the smoke house would still retain the distinctive odor of smoked pork. The pig-killing time was always followed by a group picnic for all the workers, with fiddle music and dancing outdoors in the evening.
I always tried to find another place to be when that day’s work was being done. Even though I appreciated the bacons and hams, and could eat them without remorse, the killing time was stressful for me.