April 12, 2010
the weekend update
if you told me i’ve been living in my new house for just a few days, i wouldn’t believe you. the dynamic schedule of tending to living things, working when work is to be done, causes a blurring effect for things like calendar dates, day of week, and time itself. before moving from brooklyn to athens, i was beyond sharp with time. working on the floor of the new york stock exchange, surrounded by clocks—hour, minute, second everywhere you turn—and performing tasks that require a day’s worth of focus and adrenaline in a span of a few seconds, i developed the sometimes humorous ability to tell you what minute it was, even without seeing a clock for hours. down here my ability to follow time is more like the nudey magazine day scene in billy madison. “what day is it? i don’t know…october?”
after not writing for a week, i figure i might as well bring you up to speed across the board. on the home front, my great friend the cattleman helped me build an awesome fence in the backyard to keep in the beast. look at him…viscious.
we used mostly salvaged materials as well as bamboo we sawed down from the back end of my yard. it was a late evening effort on the night i moved in and the cattleman’s help on the fence, which included bringing over leftover beef stew for dinner, was a total game changer.
the next morning i woke up to some sad news. one of our new eight piglets had died in the night. despite not having given birth to these piglets, our sow tammy has taken on the mother role and began producing milk when stimulated by the new arrivals. unfortunately, in the pig rearing world, it is a common occurrence to lose piglets as a result of the large sows rolling over and crushing them. below, in the milking shot, you can see how one little roll over by tammy and a piglet could be squashed. the second picture is the little piglet in his final resting place. despite his death by crushing, he looked peaceful.
above is the piglet’s grave. a nice spot in the woods marked with a tree root from the hole. today, only a few days after burying the piglet, we found another dead pig up on pork chop hill. based on this pig’s behavior over the last two days, and the irregular bloating on his left side, the running theory is that he was poisoned by a snake bite. this pig was almost up to market weight, probably tipping the scales today around one fifty as we hauled him out of the paddock. not only is it sad to see a living thing pass before its time, but from a business standpoint, this is an almost full grown animal, raised on your food, money, and time, who is now underground. on the farm, as with all living things, death is automatic. these two unanticipated deaths aside, i hauled two cows and two pigs to the slaughterhouse within the last couple days. up until now, my previous history with animal death has always ended in tears. childhood dog, tears. childhood pet goldfish, phil and fil, tears as well.
over at bent spade, the vegetable farm, things are leaning more towards the staying alive side of the spectrum. the process of putting food in the ground and watching it grow, although simple enough, is blowing my mind.
look at an old post to see the progress the plants are making in such a short time. soon they will be feeding many. unbelievable.
lastly, but never leastly, i spent another day with our chickens over at the darby farm. in my absence, the chickens have exploded in size and are almost ready for market. dan’s new egg mobile (working title “the wild wild”) was just modified from a salvaged cotton trailer, and soon the world’s finest pasture eggs will begin appearing.
well, some things are dying, but most are thriving, and the season is really starting to pick up. the days are getting hotter and siestas are becoming commonplace. i’m looking forward to the hard work to come.