HERD ABOUT IT? by Ana Grarian The past few days I have been living the life I am supposed to be living. The life I planned for. I have been watching the farm for a friend who is on vacation. We are raising four little pigs, for eventual butchering. They are on pasture. The pasture in question has not been used for a decade or more. Brambles have crowded the fences pulling down wire and bending fence posts. Some young men tried to help her secure her worn gates, by putting hog panels across them, mounted securely. Need I say the men are half our age and at least a foot taller than we are.
I pulled the panels off. Moved them sideways and secured them to the fence posts. Then I mounted a portion of a hog panel on the gate, and developed a secure latch. It’s still a cob job, but we can now open the gate and walk through. I also finally got the automatic waterer hooked up. As the pigs clear out the weeds and dig up the briars, we will be left with access to the fences to fix them more securely.
Yesterday morning they scared the heck out of me. I had come home to attend to some family stuff, and decided to sleep in my own bed. When I went back out to the farm, the pigs were no where to be found. I called. They didn’t come, they didn’t answer. No weeds wiggled betraying their whereabouts. I went into the pasture and inspected all the work I had done. It was all still tightly fastened. There were no hoof-prints outside to show they’d escaped. Calling I began to walk toward the back of the pasture on a narrow path they’d made through the weeds. Ah – there’s Ellie – and the rest curled up in the sunshine, fast asleep.
My friend’s old farm needs a lot of work. She had to leave it when the mega-dairy next door made her water unfit to drink, and her air unfit to breathe. Not just unpleasant. Actually a health hazard. Things are better now. She has a filtration and UV system on her water supply. There are manure ponds further away from her house. And right now the wind is blowing in the right direction.
I had to leave my farm because – well, never mind, it’s personal. Every time I went to look for a tool or a part today, I would remember where I could have found it if I was still at home. My dog lived her old life too. The back door was left open. She could sit on the back porch, or under a tree, or she could roam back to the creek, whenever she wanted. It was a good day.
I got tired, and filthy and scratched up and I loved every minute of it. I get one more day. Then it’s back to the city,a regular job, the dog on a leash. But,-my gardens are doing well. I have new pile of mulch to spread around, and before I leave the farm – I’m shoveling up some well rotted sheep manure.
You can take the girl out of the country,
but you can’t take the appreciation for good old fashioned manure,
out of the girl!