Every week the Wisconsin State Journal runs “Roughneck Grace,” a weekly column written by Mike (many of the columns will be adapted from Mike’s Tent Show Radio monologues). Today’s column (about achieving inner peace via pigs, the cosmos, and Victoria’s Secret) was printed on sturdy newsprint this Sunday and can now be seen online here.
Just got a note from the folks at Public Radio Exchange reporting that the Tent Show Radio episode featuring Gaelic Storm and Mike’s monologue on why he listens to Bloomberg Business News while feeding the pigs was the the #5 most listened to piece (out of 21,537 pieces) of 2012. You can listen to the show right here.
So last winter your freezer conks and you find five whole chickens on the outer edge of thaw and you think they’d probably be fine but you just don’t have the gut-based gumption, so you refreeze and wait ’til windfall apple season and you make the following recipe:
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.
This is when I really got rolling on the writing, finally. Just under three hours of sleep then it was up to fix the chicken coop (the original one, the one on the cover of this book), move the barred rock chicks out of the stock tank and into the repaired coop, clean the stock tank and move in the 50 fluffy yellow meat chicks that arrived today, then move the new coop and chicken fence, then put up pig fence. Never would have finished without the help of my pal Mills, a friend going way back to the “Silver Star” days. We spent the last 30 minutes fencing in a deluge, but got’er done. Yessir. Got’er done.
Now some more writing. And a heart-shaped thought for my wife, who is running the whole show in spite of my ridiculous hours, obsessions, and avocations.
Four years ago I scored a major scavenge: a giant plastic pig hutch made from an industrial chemical storage silo cut in half with a Sawzall by a man named Garth. Garth was using both halves to house heifers, but when he got out of the business he said I could have the hutch for free. The only catch was that I had to haul it home – an adventure I’ll describe some other time. Let’s just say that thing is impossibly heavy (the plastic is over a half-inch thick…you can’t budge it without a tractor and hydraulic loader) and was 11 feet, seven inches wide. If the DOT had been on patrol that evening, I’d still be filling out paperwork and they would be auctioning off my truck and trailer. I mean, this thing was big:
Rest of the story (and action photos!) after the page break. (more…)