Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Dan Sullivan tries on elk antlers at home of Vincent Hogan.
Dan and Florence Sullivan and Dan's relative Mark Sullivan

Working an subsistence farms was labor intensive. There were no weekends off from animal or weather-related chores. With no radio or television, people created their own entertainment. In the fall of the year, animals were "thinned out", to save on grain and fodder needed to feed livestock. Only "brood" stock was kept over the winter. The rest were slaughtered and preserved by smoking or salt-curing. Survival meant using every bit of a slaughtered animal.
Here Dan and Florence Sullivan are engaged in the rendering of a hog's fat into lard. (Those were the days before anyone ever heard of transfat.) Lard was used for deep frying, baking and other things such as the making of soap. It was dangerous work involving boiling water and sharp knives.
To keep children away from the process, pig's bladders were removed, scrubbed and blown up into crude footballs and baloons. Some families covered the pig bladders with hog leather - thus, we have the origins of football and soccer, both played at harvest time.
These photos were shared by our kinsman Dr. Dan Sullivan of Omaha, Nebraska. Photos between 1920s and 30s

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