Monday, April 06, 2009


My husband decided that the recent stock market plunge was an optimum occasion to use the knowledge of farm animals he gained by growing up on a pig farm, and to begin our conversion from "Haus Shirefeld" to "Shirefeld Farm." So we cashed in on what was left of one family savings fund, and, as my husband put it, "sold our stock to invest in livestock." With the money, we bought baby chicks, ducks, and a formidible two-hundred-pound pig, whose ultimate destination will be our deep freezer.

Suburban Girl that I am, I was mostly unaquainted with live pigs (though I am very familiar with my favorite food, sausage), and I was amazed when the first thing our hog did once he came out of the livestock trailer and into his pen was to start rooting up the ground with vigor. Within 48 hours, he had reduced his 16-x16ft grass pen to nicely-tilled soil. Since we had struggled to rotatill a garden on the other side of the property earlier, our kids were quite impressed, and named him "Mr. Tiller."

It didn't take long for my husband to plot out a new, larger garden near Mr. Tiller's pen, and last week, we moved him to a new grassy spot, and he joyously began to till again. I saw echoes of Eden in his energetic activity: of the time when beasts and unfallen man worked together in harmony. It was yet another reminder not to take the food we need to live for granted: being nose-to-snout with the animal we will one day eat forces us to realize we live at the cost of a life-sacrifice, whether that life comes from a farm factory far away, or from our back yard.
May we always be truly grateful.