I guess I’ll have to send myself flowers

My husband and I don’t take much stock in Valentine’s Day cards and such. One year, I shamed him into getting me a heart-shaped box of chocolates because I wanted to save the box and use it as a fireplace mantel decoration in future Februarys.

I used the box faithfully for several years, now it’s buried in the bottom of a buffet drawer.

We don’t get overly excited about anniversaries, either. Lucky to get a card. For Keith, that is.

My good friends Steve and Jane Moff went to Hawaii for their 25th anniversary last year. I swear I’ll never talk to them again. Other friends, Wayne and Tara Willis and Lou Ann and Neil Zehentbauer, jet-setted to Hawaii last month for their respective anniversaries. Tara told me she simply negotiated the trip up front. Before they got married.

“I told Wayne we were going on a cruise for our 10th anniversary and to Hawaii for our 20th,” she said. End of discussion and that’s what happened.

But she admits she didn’t think far enough ahead when making her prenuptial declaration.

“Now, I’ll probably celebrate our 25th in a tree stand in Montana somewhere.”

* * *

My Valentine’s Day reminder to you: Don’t feed chocolate to your dogs.

Yes, chocolate is toxic to dogs (it depends on how much, type of chocolate, size of dog, etc.), but once upon a time, I held my breath to see if it was also fatal to hogs.

Short story: two Crowell kids in 4-H showing hogs; two boxes of expensive, but oh-so-good Heggy’s chocolate to give to the buyers on sale night.

With kids in their clean sale duds, I chained them to their hog pens so they wouldn’t miss their place in the sale lineup (OK, so I really didn’t chain them, I just sternly warned them, let’s say). Placed said boxes of chocolate on the ledge above the pen until needed. (Yep, some of you know where this is going.)

Right before my son and daughter’s big moment in the sale ring, I came to retrieve the boxes. Saw one on the ledge. One. Not two.

Looked in hog pen. Two hogs. No chocolate nor remnants thereof.

All of a sudden, became aware of jubilant hogs in pen next to ours. A little pre-sale snack of turtles and French mints and haystacks. The Tenzek hogs. From our own 4-H club. I was going to have to buy two hogs from two wailing girls if the chocolate was toxic to hogs, like it is to dogs.

Try wrestling a box of chocolate away from two 260-pound hogs. And explaining to Mr. Tenzek why I pole vaulted into their pen and was manhandling his daughters’ hogs.

Happy ending: No dead hogs.

Sad ending: Did I really have to throw away all that wrapped chocolate? It didn’t look like those pigs even touched this one piece…

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

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