Page 11 - With Ralph MacDonald
ISSUE : Issue 36
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/6/1
low him right down. They'd always follow the lead? er. There was no problem at all. Do this, oh, prob? ably about twice a week. (Take the same ram down.) Oh, yes. We always named him Darby, I don't know why. He got docile after awhile. He was contented all by himself. Say now, if a lamb gets loose right here. No good trying to chase that lamb. No, you wouldn't chase that lamb. You'd take out Darby, or you'd take out a young lamb, and you'd hold it. Af? ter awhile, the other one will come over. Then you reach over and grab it. Darby'd stay till the end of the season. And then when the season was all over, we used to feel sor? ry for it • after using .him for the whole fall like that • and we'd get kind of more or less attached to him. We'd say, "Too bad, he's all through now." We'd exterminate him. We'd feel kind of a little bit queer • not too much, though, 'cause after all, we were doing it all the time. (Butchering is hard work, and I wonder, did it toughen your heart, or toughen your father's heart, about animals?) No, no, 1 don't think it did. I don't think it affected us. It never bothered me, anyway. See, if somebody cut a head off a chicken, that would worry me more than anything they do in a way with a lamb. It was a job to do, so we just had to just fall in line. But that was something else. When we were butchering them, when it got down to one lamb • we'd never leave one lamb there in the shed, in the pen, for the last time. While there were two there • contented as anything • you'd just walk in and knock those two over the head • bang, bang, and that would be that. But if you just knocked one, and took it out, and one lamb was alone • it's an altogether different ball game. And you'd have a heck of a job later, to catch it. Very seldom would I kill a calf. 'Cause like you were saying, about being hard-hearted • killing a calf to me was different than killing a lamb. I don't know why. But the calf was a little bit hard? er to kill, in a way. A lamb, it seems like it goes to the slaughter without a bit of trouble. A calf will bawl and everything else. Of course a calf is younger, and it's looking for its mother. That'd kind of give you kind of a little So I • I won't say that I never did it • but I kept clear of killing a calf. But what you were saying, asking the question if it hardened us. I don't think it did. God, we're no more of a gentle group than what we are, you know. That was the only way. You must remember, at that time, you couldn't run to the government for this and you couldn't run to the government for that. You just had to suirvive, that was all. So, if you didn't do that, you couldn't survive. When you, say now like for instance, when we're butchering • say if we had a coffee break • which we never did • but if we had a coffee break, then it's hard for you to get started again. You noticed there when we were working yesterday, one fellow never told another fellow to do anything. Every? body was doing his own little chore, and you just work right along. So therefore, if you stopped, then it takes a little while to get back into it a- gain. We weren't sharpening the knife at all • that was just resting! We were sharpening the knife, but we were still giving ourselves a little rest. Some fellow used to come in and watch us, and we didn't realize it at the time, but there'd be one going over every 4 minutes, every 3 minutes. We'd be doing 20 lambs an hour. There'd be probably 4 of us working. And each fellow doing his own, like on an assembly line. There'd be one every 3 min? utes, going over. But we wouldn't be able to keep that up too long • that would be only at the peak, and then, naturally enough, you're going to start getting tired, and you get slowing down. But every once in awhile, if some fellow'd be watching, see? ing what's going on, he'd say, "There's one going over every 3 minutes." That's pretty good teamwork. (11)
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