Later, after several consecutive years passed with the pig pen empty, I began referring to myself as an “intermittent” pig farmer, but eventually dropped even that wiggle room as it implied the pigs would return, and while I hold out hope, all signs point to nope.
At this point I’m down to a motley flock of chickens. They did not make the Wikipedia page and are frankly rankled.
I am of rural stock, a boots-and-pitchfork boy, but neither my flock nor my passel qualify me to claim the farmer mantle. Also, plenty of city folk keep chickens.
But it’s good to have a few daily chores, something to keep me tethered to the land and its cycles. Something that pre-empts my own priorities. To start the day by pouring feed and water for the critters before downing my coffee and eggs.
In the cowboy books I read as a child, the good guy who came in starving from the trail never ate his beans until he’d fed and watered his horse. It’s a modest but noble responsibility.
Pigs? Perhaps again one day. Until such time, among other things not reported in Wikipedia, tonight when I crossed the yard as a defunct dilettante swineherd bound to close up the chicken coop, the full moon illuminated a thin sweep of cloud positioned just so that it appeared Orion was clad in a toga.
“Huh!” I said, addressing the universe out loud, as we sometimes do.
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