A story by Bob

Susan Manzke
Now Media Group

Nothing new is happening on Sunnybook Farm. Winter has Bob and me hibernating.

I had to think hard about what to write today. Instead of something new, we're going back to the old days, when we were young. This means I'm going to pick Bob's brain about different happenings of farm life in the 60s and 70s.

Right now, during this cold spell, Bob is happy he doesn't have livestock to milk and feed. But after watching a news broadcast about the amount of food being wasted, Bob started remembering things about feeding pigs.

On the Manzke farm in Mokena, old bakery goods were fed to pigs.

"My Uncle Bud worked in a bakery in Tinley Park, Illinois. Bud had an old pickup truck, and he would bring out the waste bakery in it —mthe stuff that came back from the stores. (Those macaroons were good, Bob admitted.) Dad fed the bakery goods to the pigs, and he brought the whey home from the dairy where he worked. The pigs loved to drink it, and when we didn't have any, they didn't want to drink just water. Our pigs went to market a month ahead of our neighbors, they grew so fast on that stuff.

"If we didn't need what Uncle Bud brought out, others did. One neighbor had a setup with 100 feeder steers and pigs running together in the same pen. This was their way of cleaning up after the steers as the pigs would eat the corn that fell out of the feeders — or passed through the steers. One time my uncle pulled into this feed lot, all the pigs came around his truck and ate the valve stems off the tires. Before he could get out again, one tire was already flat and the others were right behind it.

"Relatives on Alpine Farm went into Chicago to get leftovers from high end restaurants. They fed this to pigs, too. The thing was, after the pigs were done eating, the farmer would go out and gather up the silverware left behind — an added benefit to getting restaurant food.

"These people also had connections at a Brach's Candy factory. One time they got a load of candy turtles that were faulty and couldn't be sold. They brought this candy to Frankfort Grain Company to blend with grain, but there was a problem. The sticky candy gummed the mill and made quite a mess for the work crew. But oh, did it smell so good." (Bob thinks not all of the turtles made it into the grinder. Yum.)

"By law, anything with meat in it had to heated up before it could be fed to animals. They had an old cement truck mixer on Alpine Farm to help with the heating and mixing. They built a fire under the mixer to heat it up, though it didn't look like it was used much, but it was there for inspectors to see," Bob said with a laugh.

"Another time, Orville Yunker got a call from a bakery that a bunch of dough needed picking up right away. It was holding up their production. Orville went up to Chicago with his truck, and they ran the dough into the truck box and he headed home.

"He figured his steers could eat it, so he drove into the steer lot. Before he could do anything, the tailgate popped open and the risen dough rolled out. Orville had a mess on his hands, but at least it wasn't on the highway where the growing dough could have popped out." (Bob can't remember if the animals ate it or not.)

No waste going on back in the old days. We still recycle table scraps by feeding them to our chickens — except never, ever have they had leftover candy turtles.

When I speak to groups, I tell family stories and urge others to save their stories, too. This column today is an example of such family history tales. It doesn't have to be long or earthshaking to be fun and worth saving.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;