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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Announcements, pigs and chickens

Several announcements about the pending layoffs came out yesterday. None of it was unexpected but  the news was not welcome either. The company refers to the process as a staff reduction – which sounds somewhat more businesslike than layoffs though the end result is the same to the affected parties. Though we are all too aware of the pending severance, the announcement made it a little more immediate, more serious than it has been to some so far.

The formal timing is for early to mid-October. The worst part of that timing is the tax burden that will result from the severance package (which is a mixed blessing) being given to each person laid off. The announced number of potentially affected employees in my division of the company (Lower 48) is 600. Things are looking more and more like those who are laid off will be the real winners in this effort but time will tell. I am counting my blessings. Whether I am let go or retained by the company, God will take care of me.

The feeder pigs we bought are growing very fast. I am glad that pigs are not normally aggressive toward their pens because I am not sure if the pen I built will hold them when they get to the weight we need them to get to for “processing”. That’s a softened term for…you know what.

Mama and Victoria are really enjoying them. They are finally settling down and adapting to the three of us as their caretakers. So every time we fill their water trough or put feed in their feeders they do this crazy-time dance for us; running in circles and spinning while making what amounts to “happy noises” for pigs. It is quite entertaining.

What makes it even more hilarious is when the chickens have gotten in their pen during this time. They chase the chickens around the pen while the chickens are making very unhappy sounds, flapping their wings, darting right then left then right to avoid the charging pigs. I have been tempted to catch a few chickens and put them in with the hogs just to watch it happen. But Mama has not allowed it so far.

Mama’s new chicks should arrive late today or first thing in the morning. We are ready and the Wycoffs are standing by to take over for us this weekend as we go to see Grandma and Grandpa Kline. It will only be for an overnight visit but we need to take the time to go now. Grandma Kline is pretty worried about Grandpa Kline’s memory. It is rapidly deteriorating and she is concerned that he will not last too much longer – either physically or cognitively. It is a sad but not unexpected series of events. He will be 91 in December.

The plan for the chickens is to keep the new batch at our farm while we take the mature hens we now have to Victoria’s place. That will require a lot more time and effort on out parts to prepare Victoria’s place for them. It will also require us to go to her little house at least daily to care for the chickens. At this point we have not gone to the house for extended periods of time but that will change when Grandpa gets back and starts his work there.

Yes, we are still counting on Grandpa Thaxton coming back.


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