Guest Contributor – War Pig – Autumn Memories – Part 3

Wild turkey has a flavor totally unlike domestic turkey. They feed on insects, acorns and other goodies. Just as wild rabbit tastes better, in my opinion that tame rabbit. When mom was laid up in hospital one year before Christmas, I went up to dad’s and cleaned and cooked for him. My own dear wife had passed on by then. I took up three squirrels I had shot and the first meal I made for him was mashed sweet potatoes covered with squirrel gravy. Sauté the squirrels in a cast iron pan in butter until the meat falls from the bones. Then keep cooking it until the butter browned, add the flour and brown the resulting roux, then put in the milk and make gravy. He ate so much I thought he’d choke. Mom had been sick for weeks before her hospitalization so they had been eating mostly carry out or delivery fast food. Dad would only eat so much fast food before he just stopped eating. I also made him some pie crust cookies. He liked it so much we had leftover squirrel gravy and biscuits for the next two breakfasts

 

I made pork tenderloin fried in that cast iron skillet, baked him an apple pie after making the pie filling in the skillet (par cooking the filling means less liquid to ruin the crust). and then as a Christmas present, I bought them one of those spiral-sliced honey hams. I took most of the meat off it and we had ham for breakfast most mornings, and I froze a lot. Then I took the bone and the meat off the bone and put it in a pot of beans and put it in the oven for 6 hours on low. Hot damn, was it good. Made cornbread to go with it. When mom came home and was able to take over her own household again dad tried to get me to stay a little longer and cook. Mom was a great cook, but she insisted dad needed healthy food at his age. I just fed his belly with what he liked as a child.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Autumn Memories – Part 2

There’s nothing like a home smoked ham, is there? Uncle Dana liked his bacon. Autumn also meant that Grandma opened up the first of the bread and butter pickles she had put up the year before. Absolutely delicious. She always allowed them to sit a year in the dark root cellar before she served them to let the flavors mingle. Autumn was also the season for putting up apples and pears in jars. You make simple syrup and leave it plain, or add cinnamon or mint (makes the jars ruby red or emerald green). They have to sit for at least a year. Grandma (and my mom) also made jars of pie filling. Apple, peach, apricot, mixed berries. strawberries with rhubarb, pumpkin and sweet potato. That way you had filling ready for making pies after they were in season. Both my grandfathers were partial to grilled tenderloin or fish tail sandwiches and autumn was the time to eat them as the tenderloin was fresh from the hog slaughter. Us boys would make a weekend trip to Lake Erie and catch a mess of perch and walleye and we’d have a big family fish fry. The catfish we had was locally caught. Perch, walleye, catfish and crappie were the staples. If we were lucky the white bass would run in the local creek and we could bag a mess of them, too.

Fresh game was good, Rabbits, pheasant, quail, grouse, duck, Canada geese and deer. Me and my brother still make our own venison summer sausage.

Aye, we had good times, didn’t we?

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Autumn Memories

My favorite time of the year is Autumn. The summer temperatures moderate, there are usually fewer storms and rains, the air gets crisp, apples are harvested and cider pressed. The light is flat and the colors of the trees are amazing. Falling leaves are a pain to rake but they are also fun to run through, making ‘whoosh’ noises as you run. They also show up little dust devils, tiny cyclones a few feet tall as they whirl and crackle in the miniature tornadoes. We’d see them and run through them to feel the whirl of wind and the leaves. The nights get longer. It’s harvest time on the farms and I helped my paternal grandparents on their farm. Corn and soybeans were picked and put in gravity bed wagons, then hauled off to the local grain mill. The proprietor was a large man, some six feet six and at least 400 pounds. Every trip we made to the mill, he gave me a candy bar and a cold soda. If we made six trips, I got six candy bars and six sodas. I was rail thin back then with growth and constant exercise so they never bothered me.

My favorite month of the year was October. Not just for Halloween, but in general it’s moderate in wind and rain. The almanac says October usually has 19 fine days and I believe it. Football season on Saturdays and Sundays. Some days you wake up to frost in October. One year there was snow in October. It melted off the next day but there was a skiff of snow on the ground.

Another thing that happened in the late summer and autumn was we would find radiosondes on the farm released by the National Weather Service. They were instrument kits sent aloft on balloons for atmospheric readings. They also had a parachute attached. When the balloon burst at altitude, they floated back down on the parachute. The instrument kit has a paper box you unfolded, put the instrument in it and sent it back, free to the Weather Service. You put on a note where it was found and when. We used to find three or four a month in autumn due to the wind patterns. We were allowed to keep the parachutes and us kids had a ball with them. We’d tie one around our waist and see how fast we could run with the chute dragging behind holding air. Or we’d tie various objects to them and go up in the hay loft of the barn and drop them to see how they floated to earth. On really blustery days we flew them like kites but you had to use strong cord as they really caught the wind.

Yes, Autumn is my favorite season, and October my favorite month. The scents of autumn. The smell of leaves, of fires in fireplaces, of smoking meats. It brings me back to my teen years. Hard work in the fields getting the harvest in then plowing and preparing for next year, or planting winter wheat.

A couple of other things happened in Autumn. Uncle Wink grew tobacco. It was harvested and put in special barns to dry. Sometimes in October or November, the weather was just perfect. The dried tobacco was too brittle to move as it would crumble. But in a certain weather, foggy, cool it was time to move the tobacco to the burly. The leaves regained their flexibility. The whole family descended on Wink’s farm and any boy strong enough was put to moving tobacco bundles (50 pounds or more apiece) from their drying poles. The smaller children and the women cooked for us all. I can still smell the tobacco from those days.

 

The other thing that happened was the hog slaughter and butchering. Again, at Uncle Wink’s farm. Every family in the larger family bought a hog or two as a feeder pig. Wink raised them and we all chipped in for feed and such. Wink and his sons, doing the labor raising the hogs, got their hog for free. On a Saturday when it was crisp and cool, we all arrived at Wink’s. The hogs were rounded up and they were slaughtered and butchered all in one weekend. They were killed, had their throats slit, bled, then were opened up and cleaned, washed then scalded and scraped. They were skinned and cut up and wrapped and put in Wink’s ice house or went into his large smokehouse. Each family’s packages marked with their symbol. In a monstrous copper pot, the cracklings were made over an open fire. Everyone got their share of cracklings. At first me and my brother could only skim the cracklings out of the pot or keep the fires in the smokehouse going with lots of smoke. Later we were set to grind sausage. Between two kegs of nails a board sat and on that board was a two-handed manual grinder. One of us would stuff fresh pork into the grinder along with the correct amount of sage for each family. Ours had a lot of sage in it as dad liked it that way. The other would grind using the handles. We converted a #5 tub of meat into sausage. When one of us had their arms give out, the other cranked and the first grinder stuffed and seasoned. We took turns grinding all day except for meals. I’d like to know how many tons of sausage we ground over the years. I can still taste those hickory smoked hams we got out of it. Can’t find anything like that now.

We both had amazingly strong arms due to the sausage grinding and we won several arm-wrestling bouts at school. A few bullies got their comeuppance when they picked on the wrong, skinny kids with the stout arms.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Comments on Antifa’s Announced Disruptions in Washington D.C.

I see where Antifa and BLM are calling for the burning of Congress and SCOTUS over replacing RBG. They should remember a little factoid, to wit:

The Third Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) is mostly known for guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and performing ceremonial duties at the White House and Arlington National Cemetery. However, they are a fully trained, fully armed and equipped infantry regiment filled with motivated hard chargers. They will have something to say about burning down Congress or SCOTUS or the White House. They are fully capable of putting down an insurrection.

It would not be wise to provoke their use as infantry. A little reminder for the fools at Antifa and BLM.

And since it is Washington, DC, posse comitatus prohibitions do not apply. Trump does not need to even invoke the insurrection act. He can just order the Old Guard to saddle up in full battle rattle and stand by.

When the American Indian Movement occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs HQ in Washington, they strutted about showing Winchesters and such and declaring they would never move until certain things were fixed to their liking. Nixon, being a clever sort did not call out the Old Guard. He just called in the Rangers to look things over. The rangers observed and allowed themselves to be seen observing. Ranger patches in full view.

Seeing that, the protesters held a quick meeting, declared “victory”, and left for home. Rangers do not play well with others. If you want to influence hearts and minds, call the Green Beret. If all you want to do is break sh*t and hurt people, call the Rangers.

This of course would be more of a job for the Old Guard than the Rangers. The Old Guard are expressly allowed to defend the capital with no martial law being declared. Since DC is a federal city most laws are a shade different there. Besides, the Rangers are currently employed elsewhere.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Comments on American Military Capability

Proposition: The United States has technological and tactical superiority but it must maintain these if it wants to avoid the consequences of being a super power in decline.

True. When you fight the United States, you are not fighting our Army, or our Navy, or Air Force or Marines, you are fighting them all at once, along with their technological superiority. Your Sukhoi fighters may be close to our F-35 in capability, your submarines sneaky, you may even have an aircraft carrier, although I hesitate to call what China and Russia have aircraft carriers. Your army may number in millions and you may have as many or more tanks. But to fight the USA you are fighting an interlocked and integrated system. You have to get past the eyes and ears of our satellites, AWACS and Hawkeye aircraft. You have to prevent our electronic snoop aircraft from hearing you. In the weeks before the actual confrontation, when posturing is the mode, our Rivet Joint aircraft in conjunction with other reconnaissance will have compiled a complete electronic order of battle on you. We did it to Saddam, which is why we were able to target his command and control structure so precisely. We are constantly updating the electronic order of battle on both China and Russia. Especially China.

 

Even though our forces are interlocked, if you manage to blind one source they can act independently. No communist or former communist government will trust its military to take initiative, as motivated and initiative-taking officers could threaten the political structure back home. Commies and other dictators always fear a coup more than the enemy. In training the Saudis to be an effective fighting force, we had to overcome the basic totalitarian structure which feared its best leaders. Trying to train troops at platoon level to overcome, improvise and adapt is hard when for years they have been trained by rote and varying from the rigid structure one degree was not tolerated.

 

The ability to take initiative when an opportunity arises is one reason why Israel has kicked Arab ass from day one. Even outnumbered several to one, with nations attacking from all sides the Israelis manage to seize tactical opportunities their opponents dare not try for fear of reprisal from their superiors.

 

Some nations can out range us (for now) with tube artillery, and they may have more artillery but nobody, and I mean nobody, ally or foe, can mass and control artillery fire like we can. Add in that with the possible exception of the Israelis, nobody does close air support and long range strategic air strikes the way we do, either. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have only made us better at conventional war; (other than Israel), what military right now is more experienced and blooded?

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Comments on General George Patton the Elder

Question – Was the motion picture Patton, well done?

 

I only knew his son, personally. But from people who knew Patton Sr that I have known, it was pretty good but played too much on the prima donna aspects. Patton senior had a rather high-pitched voice and he cursed so much to make up for it. His son was just as liable to break out in profanity. Patton was anything but a prima donna. He wanted to hurl headlong into battle and wrest it from the enemy. It is true he had a distaste for Montgomery as he found Monty far too cautious and a man who took too much counsel of his fears. One of Patton’s mantras was from Julius Caesar (Gallic Wars I believe) who said to not take counsel of your fears. A lot of the dirty aspersions attributed to him were Hollywood gunk. Yes he did pray and did curse like a stable boy. But he was a tactical genius and had great concern for supply and logistics., Without his careful planning and logistical mastery, he never could have made that sharp turn and relieved Bastogne. Patton’s theory was to grab the enemy by the throat and kick him in the balls. Fix the enemy in place then maneuver against him and hit him where he was weakest, then fold him up like a geisha girl’s fan.

 

If he had gotten those 400,000 gallons of fuel he requested before the German counteroffensive he could have spoiled the Bulge attack and cut the war short by several months. But Patton had shown himself a logistical master as early as the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. Without his logistical mastery the war in Europe may have been over after the war in the Pacific, and we may have seen a mushroom cloud over Berlin as a result.

 

Hollywood did as Hollywood does. As one director said in answer to fictional embellishments of a factual story; “We ain’t making a PBS documentary, here”. While they did show Patton’s tactical genius, they tried too hard to make him a frail man, which he definitely was not. You could say that Patton and his men saved the European war for the allies.

 

Our greatest generals in WWII, Patton and MacArthur were both masters of logistics. MacArthur was the better strategic general and Patton the tactical. If MacArthur had been in charge in Europe, he would have let Patton run wild through Germany and been in Berlin about the time that Hitler started the Bulge offensive. With Patton charging at Berlin Hitler would have been too busy to think about Antwerp and splitting the allies in two.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Fall Color Ride in Ohio

Takes a little longer for the change (which comes from East to West) to get to Ohio. our best leaf-peeping times are mid to late October. To remember mom, I go on a fall color ride in October at peak color and take a few pictures. She loved for me to take her after she could no longer drive. We made a day of it. I’d pick her up early then meander our way to the Hocking Hills area. We’d go usually on a Saturday to avoid rush hour traffic. We’d eat breakfast at McDonald’s (she loved the McGriddle sandwiches) and I made sure to brew two big thermos bottles full of black coffee for us on the road to refill our insulated travel cups.

We’d drive and look and comment. She’d remind me of stories from my youth and told me stories of her youth. I told her stories of the far-off lands I’d seen in my military career. How Bavaria in Germany looked a lot like Ohio during the fall colors. We’d eat lunch in a sit-down diner, then hit the road again, stopping as necessary as dictated by mom’s water pills. See the colors, stop at roadside rests and breather the crisp air. Refill the travel mugs and go on. We’d stop at an Amish restaurant for supper that had superb baked steak in gravy with home fried potatoes and German chocolate cake for dessert. Mom always got another baked steak diner to go and I put it in a warming chest that plugged into my rear electric outlet. More driving, more leaves, more color, seeing the buck deer with full crowns, seeing the geese and ducks fly south for the winter in squadron formations. I’d get her home after dark (later, it was to the nursing home). She’d then eat the second baked steak dinner as I had more coffee. I’d leave her and she’d go on to bed.

Autumn for me has always been the color of the trees. That’s what I hated about Vietnam and the Middle East. No bold change of the seasons, wet or dry, hot or very hot. No crisp days when apples still on the tree were as sweet as nectar. No gathering of hickory nuts or black walnuts or butternuts. No toasting of pumpkin seeds for snacks. No fresh apple or pear cider. The Amish restaurant is still in business and I still stop for a baked steak dinner in mom’s memory. I talk to her as I drive even though she’s not there. Been gone 14 years now. The Amish store bowed to using electric cash registers as the state got pissy over sales tax receipts. I miss the ring and cha-ching of the old mechanical registers.

One day it will be my last ride. Being over 70 that day is closing in on me but I’ll hang on as long as I can. I’m like Slade in Ghost Rider. One day I’ll have one last ride in me. I hope to make it a good one.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Service Stories – Part 1

I got trapped into a tour as an Army Recruiter. It was after my sister was killed in a car wreck (she was a passenger). I thought I was okay and could go back to work but I blew my cover and had to be pulled. Instead of putting me in planning, the general decided that I needed to be taken down a peg so he sent me to recruiting. I went to the school at Ft Ben Harrison in Indianapolis. Then I was sent to Pennsylvania.

Recruiting command is the most anal retentive, micromanaging, pack of nervous people you’ve ever seen. They make the pointy haired boss look good. This was before 9/11 so half the time when we went on campus at a high school or college, we were given the Nazi salute. The good thing was I got to meet Joe Paterno. But the command had a formula they insisted everyone follow. You had to make so many phone calls in order to get so many appointments to talk to a kid face-to-face. Then of those you’d get so many enlistments to fill your quota. You were to emphasize the educational and training and slack off on patriotism and adventure. They actually counted your phone calls and how long you were on the phone with each potential recruit. You had to account for every minute of your day.

As a professional NCO it was insulting. I did it my own way. I talked about patriotism, I talked about hard work. I told them their drill sergeants would not be nice to them and why drill sergeants had to act as they did to find out who could handle stress. To those who said there would be no more wars I said there will always be another war. I took them out to where the Guard and Reserve were training and had them rappel down walls and shoot M-16s and ride in tanks. And they had to help maintain and clean equipment, too. I was always the high scoring recruiter of the battalion. Professional Development (recruiting command’s tattletales) would come down, look over my numbers and tell me I was doing it all wrong. So, I brought out the score sheet for the battalion, laughed and went to go get a coffee while they fumed. I found out as long as I was bringing in quality numbers, I could get away with murder, pretty much, so I did. I’d fill my quota early then take my family to Hershey Park or somewhere. When my year was up, they wanted me to stay, badly, I said not just no, but hell no. So, I was able to go back to counterintelligence and special ops command. The general said I was too stubborn to teach a lesson as I got an Army Commendation medal for getting a gold recruiting badge in only one year. I told him I had indeed learned a lesson, that if they ever tried to put me back in recruiting command, I’d go AWOL first.

Being in recruiting command is worse than being at the Pentagon, which I thought was impossible until I was in recruiting command.

 

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Guest Contributor – War Pig – In Defense of Western Civilization

[Editor’s Note:  The following post by War Pig was in reaction to my essay “The Paradox of Western Civilization.”  I thought it was such a good antidote to the usual anti-western diatribes that it deserved to be appended to that earlier piece. – photog]

I am half Blackfoot. The North American Indians were not peaceful, elven protectors of Mother Earth. Being an Indian in the days before the Palefaces is almost a religion, even to Indians who know better.

The tribes in those days were beset by continual internecine warfare. Enemy camps and villages raided, women and even girls raped and maybe carried off or murdered, children old enough to be adopted into the attacking tribe taken. Slaves taken. Children too young to be of use were slaughtered, even babies in their swaddling. Often killed right in front of the mother as a cruel joke. She could then look forward to being gang raped and either taken as a slave or killed. All goods and animals not taken were burned to further try to completely wipe out their rivals. North American Indians committed genocide gladly when they could. Those males and older children too old to adopt were taken back to the victor’s camp where they were tortured to death in slow and devilish ways. It was what the tribes had instead of movies for entertainment.

Even if not under attack, the life was hard. Little agriculture meant hunt or gather or starve. Eventually planting maize caught on. Famine was a threat at every turn, the environment was also cruel. In hard winters the very old would wander off into the winter to die to save resources for the rest of the tribe as the elders were of no use anymore. Also, epidemics could run through an area and kill most if not all.

The North American Indians were not simple Neolithic hunter gatherers. They wasted and polluted. They exploited their environment and committed warfare to the limits of their technology. They stayed in an area until they used it up then moved on, following the buffalo. They littered, leaving broken things carelessly behind them. When they hunted buffalo, it was often near “jumps”. Cliffs where they would stampede the buffalo over said cliffs to die, some instantly, most slowly, below. They killed far more buffalo than they could eat or dry or use the hides and sinew. Most of the dead herd would rot and draw scavengers. They did have some herbal knowledge but most of their medicine was shaman tricks.

When Palefaces arrived the Indians gladly traded with them for metals and especially weapons and liquor.

Now, many a Caucasian group has been a thorn in the side of the world. Leopold of Belgium, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc., etc. The British taught the world how to run a drug empire and taught the world that cross-ocean slavery could be very profitable. But in that they were just parroting the mores of their Neolithic ancestors. Today, Africa and lower Asia are the main flash points for trouble. You mentioned the Rwanda Genocide. Arabs want to kill all Jews. Milosevic wanted to kill all Muslims in his nation. He had a cute trick of forcing them into a mosque or other building, then setting it on fire with men, women and children all dying as his soldiers stood outside and shot any who tried to escape. Slavery is still practiced, sometimes openly, in Africa and lower Asia. Hard line Islamic nations allow girls as young as 8 to be sold or given into marriage to old men to pay debts. The girls are then raped over and over again, often by men sometimes 50 years their senior. When old enough, usually at 12 they become pregnant and many die as a result as they are seldom afforded medical care.

Women’s rights as a whole are not respected outside of the Anglosphere and those places conquered by the same. Women in most of the world outside the anglosphere can be bought and sold. Bride murder is common in rural India even today. Oh, it is made to “look” accidental and no real official notice is taken. Go get another wife with a higher dowry.

Look at Mexico and see a failed narcostate. Look at Venezuela and see a failed socialist/communist state. Dictators and “ruling councils” abound.

And what are our children taught by socialist union members in our public schools? That all is okay, every point of view is valid. People who are successes must be dragged down to the common level, except for the ruling oligarchy, of course.

Our Constitution was not in effect 20 years before the professional politicians began taking over. Why? Because they are ruthless enough and amoral enough to do anything, literally ANYTHING which will get them elected and reelected. The founding fathers figured there would be a complete change in the House of Representatives every 6 years at most. Where they erred was in not establishing term limits from the get-go. Russia, and before them the old Soviets, have been after our institutions of education since the late forties. Agents provocateur planted in universities. Half of FDRs cabinet were closet commies and more than a few Stalin’s agents. Then they began infiltrating the newspapers and magazines. As more commie professors turned out more commie-leaning graduates, their long-term effort saw fruit. Khrushchev would have been so proud.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – The Chicken Story

In addition to his other occupations, War Pig is a gifted story teller and that is an honorable profession.  —  photog

 

Since people seem to like my stories of life pre-1980, here is one from my callow youth.

Another tale from my youth.

When I was quite young, in the middle nineteen-fifties, I went out to watch my paternal grandmother catch, kill and clean a chicken for supper. It was my first time watching. I helped her catch a fat, old hen (her chickens were all free range, plus they got feed). She took it up and with her dangerously sharp butcher knife, she beheaded it in one fell swoop. That didn’t bother me. What got me is that the headless chicken was set down to run and pump out the blood. Chickens can run for an amazingly long time without a head.

Well, the chicken, by chance, came straight at me, spraying blood. That was too much for my young mind and I took off screaming bloody murder while the chicken followed me. I ran to the fence and climbed up the post and perched there, crying, while the headless chicken finished its act of terror by flopping on the ground, spurting blood. Mamaw was laughing so hard she could hardly bend over to pick up the chicken, tie the legs together and hang it on a hook on the side of the shed to finish bleeding out.

She eventually coaxed me off the post and to come and watch the rest of the operation. It didn’t help that the chicken’s head was still apparently alive, it’s beak moving as if to curse the both of us. I stood behind mamaw, putting her between me and the soulless fowl. She heated up a wash pan of water to boiling over a small gas burner, then took down the chicken’s body and drenched it in the scalding water. With a gloved hand she removed most of the feathers then used a small paring knife to pull the “blood quills”. She opened the chicken, keeping the heart, liver, gizzard and egg sack (the egg sack is what mamaw kept for herself, papaw got the rest) and throwing the rest of the offal, and the head, to the farm dogs and cats. A cat grabbed the head and ran off with it.

She then went inside and cut up the chicken. Mamaw had likely cut up hundreds, if not thousands of chickens and she took less than a minute to do it. Her butcher knife had been made for her by papaw from an old truck leaf spring and boot heel leather for handle scales. It was scary sharp. It seemed she just waved the knife over the chicken and it fell apart into the bowl. She then filled the bowl with water, added salt and set it in the fridge to brine. She put the back into the freezer for making chicken stock. She changed the water twice to get rid of leftover blood. Later, she put the chicken into buttermilk and let it set for two hours until time to cook supper. She got it out of the buttermilk, dredged it in flour, waited until the coating softened, then dredged it in flour again and fried it in lard. Better tasting chicken you never ate.

The brining and changing the water drew all the blood from the meat so mamaw’s chicken was always clean down to the bone, none of the red nonsense you see by the bones in restaurant chicken today. The buttermilk does something magical to the meat and frying it in real leaf lard imparts a flavor vegetable oils or shortening cannot match.

As she set the table, she told papaw the story and he almost choked laughing so hard. I got a wing and a drumstick all to myself to go with the mashed potatoes and fresh chicken gravy, made from the fond, melted lard/chicken fat and leftover bits in the pan and considered myself a lucky boy.