Monday, January 4, 2010

Building a life #18. Total bloody war.

                          'The lights are going out...'

I am exhausted and very frustrated. Our two pigs are ready to be taken to the butcher and the intelligent creatures seem to know this very well indeed. No matter what, they are not going up the ramp and into the pick-up truck. I have run out of options when an old prairie farmer drops by. After rolling around laughing for some while, he picks up a plastic pail, pushes it over the first pig`s head, and backs it up the ramp. Just so. I do the second one. Off to the abattoir.

Beside our regular exciting life with the goats: a foot in the milk pail, eating our fruit trees, eating our neighbour`s fruit trees, and our laying chickens: off lay, eaten by eagles, racoons and mink, we have also begun to raise meat birds. It takes a fine bit of guesswork to decide on the correct day of reckoning for them: too soon and we have rather light weight birds, too late and they start to die or become crippled. It is my job to do the killing and Heather`s job to do the dressing. The children and their friends help with plucking. There are the occasional shrieks as one child chases another with bits of chicken guts. Death and destruction is such good clean family fun. So much of farm life has death as its prime objective. Its not really life on the farm at all.

After one long day of slaughter we have buried the chicken remains under a big cedar tree and later that evening hear the oh too familiar sound of upset chickens: coons, we say and out I go with a flashlight to find a whole family of racoons have been digging up the remains and are now scrambling up the cedar. Many little dots, like Christmas lights, reflect down from all over the tree. They are up there, looking down. Perhaps it is the sound of jeering laughter from above that sends me to a neighbour to borrow his shot gun. With the flashlight held to the gun barrel I start shooting my way up the tree. The lights go out one by one and bodies start hitting the ground. “The lights are going out all over Europe.”, it feels like that sometimes. Total bloody war.

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