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Friday, April 20, 2012

Whistle Pig.

Rachel's cute little facebook inquiry--"How do you cook a whistle pig?"--was, I thought, just clever. But no. She really wanted to know. The ground-hog pelt curled up tidily in a bowl on the table and the skinny little bald carcass marinating on the counter transmitted the brutal reality swiftly and unmistakably.

Whistle-pigs, AKA ground hogs, look pretty darling standing on their hind legs, little arms tucked into chests, surveying their territory. But these most innocuous of creatures can destroy a garden patch in no time flat, and the gentle vegan farmer becomes a raging homicidal maniac when one shows up inside the fence. The Barefoot Farmer once told me that he impulsively flung a pitchfork at a ground hog, and rejoiced in exultant surprise when he nailed the little bastard.

Our own whistle-pig was brought down by Red, EricTheFarmer's dog, carefully dissected by Rachel and a visiting German veterinarian (she knows her anatomy!), marinated, and transformed into a lovely stew.

I thought it smelled good, anyway. Not quite up to tasting it myself.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


At daybreak this morning, the sun flared behind Vanderbilt Hospital, and a perfect full moon was still afloat just south of Love Circle. At noon, Tom, Sumter, Barry, and Keith are pruning and weeding last year's hops, Barry ensconced in a Dick's folding chair rescued from the river and repaired with plumber's fittings. Ollie trotted crookedly across the field to watch.

The new hops patch, a German variety, I'm told, was planted under the new trellises on Wednesday, volunteers appearing from nowhere to help. Although Loren had calculated the tractor turning radius to the inch, one set of anchored cables has been pulled loose and reanchored a bit closer to the pole. (I'm contemplating running prayer flags along the cables.)

Apparently, in addition to weeding, one prunes down to four strong shoots, then the lower 20 inches of leaves are stripped off for better breezes below the vines' knees. Like shorts.

My old rose, which blooms in tattered chic, is out, as is the purple clematis, and I did just manage to paint Di's tree peony, which waited about thirty minutes after the last brushstroke and let go its pink petals all over the table top.

And there is an elaborately decorated egg-shaped cake on my countertop, unknown provenance but we extend our thanks.

Maybe this isn't a traditional approach to Easter, but themes of renewal and mystery are certainly resonating here today. Along with the most ancient of beverages, one of the earliest marks of civilazation, and a group of folks to get stuff done. Jesus probably didn't call them disciples either.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring. Or something.

Ok, Ok, I give up. It really is spring, even though it's a month early. Though we are reveling in the beautiful weather, we are apprehensive about what this means about changing condiditions over the long haul.

However, here are our local signs of spring: Come home, all doors open, tax papers almost all put away, cat lying outside on patio, candytuft, phlox, quince, and Tom's little lettuces all madly green.

Last week Tom organized the Big Koi Pond Cleanout, so pump and fountain now burbling once more. Kabir brought yet another 17 yards of concrete, so we all helped--at least a little--with screeding and smoothing area around the shed.

First shed potluck of the year.

This weekend, I'm on call, but still: a dozen cars here for hops pole raising, Rachel teaching park kids about opossums, and a couple of Canadians overnighting here on their way to a midwife conference at The Farm. Ina Gaskin is still going strong!

The great Henry Isaacs has a show opening and is coming out to the farm to paint today. If I can get home in time. (Look him up.) Fortunately, my knee, which blew up in sudden agony on Friday--my intern pushed me around in a wheelchair on rounds, much to my embarrassment--has been aspirated and injected and I am now almost back to normal.

So. Rounds. Art. Hops. Iris. Spring.