I call it that because she’s the one who makes sure it gets planted. I help eat it.
Instead of rambling off on a tangent at the Midwest Value Added Ag Conference this is what I meant to say.
That chicken coop on the cover of Coop? When we moved it this weekend, we found a surprise:
In the three weeks since I shot this video, the pig have grown markedly larger and more aggressive. These days when Mills or I go in the pen to feed or move fence, the pigs nudge at our calves and take tentative nibbles at our boot toes. During such moments I am always reminded of Montaigne’s essay “That To Study Philosophy Is To Learn To Die,” in which he lists all the many ways his contemporaries and their ancestors have died, including Philip, eldest son of Louis le Gros who died “by jostle of a hog.”
A sentence or two later he writes of the men he has known who died “betwixt the very thighs of women,” so danger is everywhere.
Good 4th last night. Sat on our ridge with a fire and 70% homegrown food (have never successfully grown marshmallows), just enough breeze and woodsmoke to keep the mosquitoes and gnats in fly-by mode, and for miles in all directions, amateur fireworks (some of which get bigger every year).
Have never been a fireworks guy. Don’t care to play with them, and figure you might as well light five dollar bills and throw them to the wind. But yesterday I harrumphed and approved the expenditure of $16.50 toward a simple grab-bag batch. We parsed them out over the evening between homemade campfire pies and watching the bigger bursts in the distance. Saved a bunch of colorful ones for the very end. And after watching the 11-year-old dance across the yard writing with a sparkler in the dark, after hearing the four-year-old’s peals of laughter at the colorful ones that spun in the driveway…well, sometimes a guy has to unbend a little, huh? We spread that $16.50 out over two hours and while I stood holding my wife’s hand in the dark as the last colors fizzled, we did the math on any number of other manufactured entertainments and figured we took the cash for a decent ride.
Earlier in the day my wife and daughters went to the river with friends while I stayed home to write, move some chickens, and help my neighbor (same guy who did this) bale a batch of hay. (Later that night when we were going to make campfire pies and realized we didn’t have any bread, I ran back over there and he lent us half a loaf – there’s yer rural barter system in full effect).
Y’know how it is in the country, sometimes you’ll get a call from the neighbor needing some help with unloading a cow. So you get on your tractor (OK, your mother-in-law’s tractor) and you head on over there.
In the company of Mr. Mills, our four-year-old performs the initial inspection:
And here we are unloading the last one of five. She goes 18 pounds. How we came to have an 18-pound feeder pig is a whole ‘nother story. Workin’ on that for the next book…*
*I always get emails when I say that, so: sometime in the Spring of 2012.