My cousin’s make-believe hog farm

Collier's_1921_Hog_Hampshire_HogMy mom’s cousin died a couple of weeks ago. He was my cousin, too, but he and Mom grew up together and were about the same age, so I think of him as her cousin. I didn’t know him well, but I always liked him, and I’ll never forget the story he told about the time he threatened to open a hog farm and slaughterhouse in his backyard

Morris lived out in the country. I don’t know how many acres he had, but it was a big backyard, big enough for a hog farm, anyway.

Some developers bought the land behind his and applied for a change in zoning so they could put up a subdivision. The county said OK, as long as the developers built a berm around the subdivision and planted enough trees to give the surrounding homeowners some privacy.

The developers built the berm but planted only a few trees and called it a day.

Morris didn’t like that. He complained to the county and the developers, but they didn’t do anything. The developers said they’d followed the letter of the agreement with the county and they weren’t going to waste time or money planting any more trees.

Morris didn’t think that was right.

He lived out in the country, on land that was zoned agricultural, so he went to the county and pulled a permit to build a hog farm. Then, he paid a guy to make him a big sign that he mounted on his side of the berm, positioned so everyone who came to look at lots in the subdivision could see it:

Coming soon: HOG FARM and world-class SLAUGHTERHOUSE!

Ands he listed his phone number.

Pretty soon, the developers called.

You’re bluffing, the developers said.

I just pulled the permits, my cousin said. They’re on file at the courthouse, if you want to check.

You’re not really going to build a slaughterhouse, the developers said.

Sure I am, my cousin said. It’s gonna be great, too. State of the art. Gonna have a few hundred hogs, make a lot of money.

Pretty soon, the developers sent a crew around to cover every square in of that berm with trees, and Morris pulled down the sign.

20 thoughts on “My cousin’s make-believe hog farm

  1. Bravo to Morris! That’s a man who knows how to get things done. It’s wonderful to have great stories like that, so that his memory never dies. So sorry for you and your family’s loss.

    1. I don’t want to paint developers with too broad of a brush. I’m sure there are a lot of decent developers out there. These guys, though, weren’t among them.

  2. A few years ago I moved my family to a farm where we rented the old farmer’s home. I worked in the city as the sales manager for a technology company, but I always wanted to try living the “country” life. I thought I had found the best of both worlds because the old farmer’s son ran the farm while my family enjoyed the open fields. Just after moving in we realized we had made a huge mistake. The son had a hog farm about 50 yards from our back door where he raised 250 hogs. Needless to say, we only lasted a year.

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