Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dirt And The Dirty Life

"I had never in my life been so dirty. The work was always dirty, beyond what I'd previously defined as dirty, and it took too much energy to keep oneself out of it. I had daily intimacy not just with dirt dirt but with blood, manure, milk, pus, my own sweat and the sweat of other creatures, with the grease of engines and the grease of animals, with innards, with all the stages of decomposition. Slowly, the boundary of what I found disgusting pushed outward." -The Dirty Life On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

How could I not want to read a book with this title? And it is better written and even more interesting than I was expecting it to be -I highly recommend it for a perspective on what it takes to grow food. I grew up living in this dirty dirt. It takes A LOT of yuck to alarm me and I forget that the rest of the world doesn't think that way -that animal butchering is not an favorite or acceptable topic of conversation with most people. Too often I am babbling along on the topic of barn to table eating before I notice the incredulous look on the face of the person I'm babbling to. I've recently returned to working full-time and living more and more of my life OUTSIDE of the dirty life with people who are far removed from the source of their daily sustenance. The other day I came home from work and my daughter actually expressed approval for how I was dressed, rather than her more usual dismay at my farmer-fashion-style and "You're not actually going out in public like that are you?" question. Aside from acknowledging my ability to dress myself in a way that is socially acceptable, she says she isn't used to seeing me so clean and it's taking some getting used to!

Today, is a red letter day for us: it's pig butchering day! This morning, I cleaned rabbit trays, then dug out the entrance to the pigpen and separated two lambs from the flock -both in anticipation of the butcher's visit. I've been missing my dirty life lately, but I smell like rabbit pee, pig poo, and sheep grease now -which makes me feel much better. And the day has just begun. I'll probably be involved with some pig blood and innards! It is the smell of life and where our sustenance comes from.


  1. I guess yo are lucky you are getting 'the best of both worlds'....I think we should all do more of what makes us happy. I have great potential to get much dirtier! lol The other day I was pulling parsnips with a chicken on my back! I am only playing at it from my urban backyard...I could never kill one of my girls!

  2. you sound like you're in pig heaven (pun very much intended!)

    hope you had a great day getting down & dirty and are blissfully exhausted and stinky ;)