Skip to content
January 5, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Pokes, poison, and black eyes

None would be welcomed on airplanes right now, so don’t try:

Defensive pokes, targeting the hog wild crowd, or, historically, the incorrect.

Silhouette of person. (Image:© NO permissions granted. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted)

With martial art moves hindered by long skirts, alternatives were found.(Image:©)

My ancient grandmother, determined that I would not grow up in ignorance or be at risk, clued me in.

She sat me down as a kindergartener and said “Here. This is what women used to wear to make sure gentlemen kept their hands to themselves.”

It was a hatpin: A sturdy metal spike about 8 inches long – but decorated with lovely jewels at one end. To anchor a hat or to tuck into a French Twist hairstyle.

I have three of hers still: the fancy party one, a plain everyday at the office one, and a short, yet lethal, one 4 inches long with turquoise embedded in the flat end.

Vintage fan and hat pin. (Image:© ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted)

Vintage fashion accessories were not for amateurs. Fans broadcast clear messages and hatpins had a point.(Image: ©)

Didn’t the others get theirs?

Maybe their moms, aunts, or grandmothers were just too busy singing with Helen Reddy in the 1970’s, reading about the 1960’s Friedan and those 28 women, or  marching around parroting Steinem to actually teach their daughters and young charges any real skills and techniques of how to deal with unwanted attention or situations with predators.

High ideals floated; old practical knowledge overlooked.

“The Hatpin Peril” Terrorized Men Who Couldn’t Handle the 20th-Century Woman”. “…If New York women will tolerate mashing, Kansas girls will not…”  (Read the rest of the Smithsonian article.)

Hatpins. An idea destined to return? Old hat, but might happen. People love vintage.

One thing people outside cities do not love is wild hogs.

Traveling in groups, feral pigs do more than $1.5 billion a year in damage in this area alone.

The USDA is set to start field tests during the summer of 2018 in West Texas and central Alabama of a poison bait which uses the meat preservative sodium nitrite. (That’s what they use to cure bacon and sausage for human consumption). Basically the hogs gobble, then the poison keeps the animal’s red blood cells from absorbing oxygen. Usually the hogs die within 90 minutes of eating the bait.

While the chemical, sodium nitrite, breaks down quickly when exposed to air or water, there are a few concerns.

First they had to create a powder that hid the terrible taste of the sodium nitrite, find something that would stand up to being chewed and swallowed, and make sure the it would be chemically stable for the entire time between mixing the formula to pig’s gut.

Some worry that scavengers/birds who feed on dead poisoned pigs will die.

The poison bait will be placed in feeders, so of course other animals could also get into it.

A quote from USDA swine project leader Kurt Vercauteren, ” They’re working on making bear-proof boxes, using cameras and sound recognition so only pigs can get in, but that’s probably a couple of years away. Right now we just won’t use the bait where there are bears.”

Well, that makes me feel better.

Hope the bears get the notice of what areas they aren’t allowed …and the smarter deer, squirrels, raccoons understand their standing reservations at dinner are not advisable.

Food. cornbread and black eye peas. (Image:© NO permissions granted, all rights reserved. Copyrighted)

Add a salad and you’ve got a perfect supper for patio or in front of a fireplace. But not for hogs: cured bacon! (Image: ©)

As the New Year begins, people talk a lot about cooking traditional “lucky” foods from around the world. Some guest “experts” find it too easy to get on a roll and ramble too much.

At the end of one local show, the anchor asked the guest chef “Why do people say you have to eat black eye peas for New Years?” Without hesitation, the woman responded, “It must be because they look like coins.”

Uh, no. That coin thing would be the reason for lentils on New Year’s in Italy . Black eye for the expert.

Here’s how the tradition got started. During the Civil War, as General Sherman marched from Atlanta to the sea, he ordered his troops to burn everything, destroy all food sources, and take or destroy all livestock. There was nothing left. Except black eye peas which were totally ignored as those were only used to feed cattle. A humble field pea kept people from starving.

Cattle food now elevated by many to be a symbol of survival, the will to go on, and hope for prosperity in the New Year. (Add onion, jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce for zip – everyone wants zip in the New Year.)

Well, enough of peas, pigs, and pokes.

Stay warm and safe out there

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related post: “Killing Bacon”.  Last year’s controversy over Kaput Feral Hog Lure which contains warfarin, a blood thinner, which basically causes the animal to bleed to death internally. Environmental concerns for land and water, as well as impact on other wild life, caused this bait not to be approved for use in any state at this time, although it is USDA approved.

Cat and hatpin. (Image:© all rights reserved. copyrighted, no permissions granted)

No need to get out the claws. A sharp jab keeps the woof at bay. (Image: ©)






  1. Jay E. / Jan 5 2018 7:09 am

    So if I’m able to fend off a wild hog with my grandmother’s antique hat pin, it’s because of the lucky dish I ate on New Years Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 5 2018 8:12 am

      You’ll get your wings if you manage that! Thanks for shooting over with a comment. (Hope you’re weathering that frigid blast)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / Jan 5 2018 7:14 am

    We are overrun with deer here and “they” are always working on ways to contain the herds. A few years back they tried contraceptives for does. Very intense as you had to make sure a doe got it. It’s not like they could set up clinics and the deer would line up. We live next to a wildlife refuge so there is no hunting at all. We have learned to share everything with deer (until we put up an 8′ fence around a part that we wanted to look pretty!). Good luck with your hogs. There is a reason the phrase “hog wild” was created.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 5 2018 8:19 am

      One cousin used to live near San Antonio in a very nice gated community – so nice crowds of deer became numerous lawn ornaments. They pretty much gave up trying to have decorative landscape. Moved…near National Forest which was more attractive to deer most of the time.
      Hogs and deer may be the advanced guard/recon for the Animal Kingdom?
      Thanks for adding a comment to this feed bin

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres / Jan 5 2018 7:24 am

    Black-eyed peas for good luck, but collards for money. You DID eat your collards, didn’t you? It’s the only day of the year I eat them now. No riches so far, but I haven’t starved, either. Onward!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 5 2018 8:22 am

      I looked at them longingly at the store…not able to get any takers in The Realm. We ate them a lot as kids…with the windows open (Soooo, tell me again, cabbage without windows is OK, but collards aren’t? HAHA)
      Thanks for cooking up a lucky comment (and why you ended up in spam, I don’t know…another WP mystery…must be they heard about the coat?)


      • shoreacres / Jan 5 2018 8:24 am

        Uh oh. I landed in spam in another blog, too. Methinks I need to explore this. Let me know if this one comes through.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 5 2018 8:48 am

          Had to double approve you the first time, but this one’s OK. Glitches…they keep sayin’ problem solving is good for grey matter…but beginning to suspect that’s just a cover up HAHA

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Littlesundog / Jan 5 2018 8:49 am

    I have never eaten black-eyed peas over the New Year, but this year we were with family in Dallas and partook in the good luck beans. We’ll see if they work.

    The USDA would approve anything that could be a benefit to the agricultural industry, whatever the outcome. I’m against baiting. Even 90 minutes of suffering is a horror. It’s an easy fix. Yes, a bullet to the head and hiring skilled hunters to track down and shoot would be expensive, but it’s clean and effective. In these parts wild hog meat is popular… and it’s quite tasty. Make the best of the situation. Poison only adds to the problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 5 2018 12:05 pm

      Hey – you can be the one to prove the black eye legend! Fingers crossed. With as many ties to NOLA here, usually there’s black eye pea casseroles, black eye pea dips…well you get the idea. (Now everyone is into King Cakes)
      The USDA quietly slips things along. Not always a wise idea. Only public outcry and environmental/hunters kept the last one out of the states forests and fields. Hogs are a real problem, but slow suffocation isn’t painless…and baits and create real problems. (and treating live things like that makes me squirm a bit. Karma or not, we should be better than cruelty.) Hunting used to be a prized skill – should be again.
      One of our neighbors was a state hired hunter and did a pretty good job of it. ..until some in the state decided to not employ trained specialist but to encourage weekend hunters to go after the hogs. (We also lost all the meat that the state processed and sent to food banks with that).
      Top quiet some loud complaints, sometimes you may have to tell people if you build subdivisions in habitat, you’ll have varmints and natural issues.
      If I hear of petitions or public meetings, I’ll send up a note.
      Thanks for hogging some of the comment space

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne Mehrling / Jan 5 2018 5:04 pm

    “Hatpins had a point” GROAN!


  6. Amy / Jan 6 2018 10:02 am

    Very interesting article about hatpins and the right of women to protect themselves. I wish people would leave the hogs alone, but that’s a pipe dream.


  7. PiedType / Jan 6 2018 11:31 am

    Hadn’t thought of hatpins in decades! They were around when I was a kid. Perhaps we women should start wearing hats again, to justify carrying the weapon. But the airlines would have a cow.
    Remembered to buy the black eyed peas this year … and then forgot to eat them.


  8. LordBeariOfBow / Jan 6 2018 6:27 pm

    That seems a very cruel way to kill the pigs, but then I get the impression at times that the Americans like to kill in a cruel way,
    I wonder if it’s a left over thing from when they were English and got great delight out of hanging drawing and quartering those that upset them?
    Probably !


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 7:49 pm

      Leaving any live thing to a tormented death is pretty ugly.The feral hogs are a terrible problem and a solution has to be found (Most of them descendants of imported animals brought by explorers…the ones in CA are actually not long ago Russian ones imported with the idea that they would make good tourist hunting. Now running amok. Foolish, right?)
      Hey, who was it that buries people up to their chin on sand…and make adds a little honey to draw insects? Some place that has grit.
      Thanks for poking around here (and for your patience – hopefully toddler herding about to come to an end so hope to catch up commenting and reading blogs soon!)


  9. Robin / Jan 7 2018 10:54 am

    Good grief. Why don’t they just let people hunt the pigs?
    My grandmother had hatpins. I’d forgotten all about them. What a great weapon they make! I might have to see if I can find one or two (for decorative purposes, of course… 😉


  10. Curt Mekemson / Jan 8 2018 1:29 pm

    Let’s see… we are faced with a few too many deer in our neighborhood. A cougar stopped by lately and helped save the problem. Maybe if ranchers weren’t so excited about killing off all of the predators… Hmmmm! No fan of black eyed peas, but in line with Linda’s comment, I love collards. Learned to like them in Africa when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer. Bring on the hot sauce. Yummm! Instead of a hatpin, the ladies of the 60s and 70s spoke of a well placed knee. Bummm-er!
    Just saying, Phil. 🙂 –Curt


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 9 2018 6:38 pm

      Sometimes around here it’s the subdivision newcomers that want to kill off everything. If you build in a habitat, just remember you’re the visitor.(Like the woman last week whose tiny dog that was collected by a large hawk…hey, he dropped it and the dog was returned home…but apparently refused to go outside now. It ain’t Disneyland)
      I can’t believe you were introduced to collards in Africa – those greens were a staple for poor dirt farmers forever. I’ll have to check if collards are an import from explorer days, or local plants here, too.
      (Knee action is effective, but many found just as effective was a swift sharp hard kick right in the front shin right above the ankle by loafers, spiked heels, or to 60-70’s platform shoes – a classic show stopper for sure HA HA….everyone knows both of those moves, right? Apparently not…or lack of will to do something.)
      Thanks for the perfect comment (and patience. Hope the toddler herding is coming to an end shortly and I can catch up)


      • Curt Mekemson / Jan 10 2018 4:35 pm

        Toddler herding is important! (grin) Probably much more important than keeping up with blogs. Toddlers have a long memory, not so much, bloggers.
        I always wondered what those spiked heels were all about. I can see they would be a formidable weapon used with a little imagination!
        The little dog was ever so lucky! Don’t blame it for staying inside now! 🙂


  11. cat9984 / Feb 3 2018 7:55 am

    Do those feral pigs hurt humans and other animals? They look pretty scary


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: