Death On The Farm

When I had finished hoeing my first morning in the garden high above the cabin, John yelled up and asked me to untie the dogs and bring them down with me. Kali headed back to her doghouse and dragged what I thought was a chew toy out from the back wall. Upon closer inspection, I realized that her toy was a dead cat. I told John and his immediate reply was, “Oh okay, will you bury it then?”, as if this sort of thing happened all the time. Before I could respond he said, “Oh, I’ll do it.” Whew. I would have said no anyway, but I was relived nevertheless. Later on, John told me that Kali had been very fond of that particular cat. They were friends. I had initially thought that Kali was eating her, but it turns out she just missed her company. Kali just hadn’t been ready to say goodbye.

Another one of my tasks on the farm was carting various items – groceries, meat, water, propane and organic humus (soil fertilizer), from the road below up to the cabin. The day Rose returned from town, the load was immense and I took almost all evening making trips with the wheelbarrow to get it all up. The dogs eat dog food for most of the week, then Sunday is their lucky day. Rose picks up two crates full of unwanted scraps from the butcher. They smell rancid, attract swarms of flies, leak blood and just like everything else from Rose’s trip to town, must be carted up the hill. Bleeeh. One crate was extra macabre because it contained, among other bits and pieces, a cow head with the eyes still intact. I gagged a bit while wheeling the crates uphill, but I made it. The dogs then spent the next couple of days tearing the raw meat to shreds. Kali must have gnawed on the cow head until Friday, its vacant eyes staring back at me from the darkness of her doghouse.

John and I harvested leeks on Friday to sell at the Saturday Market in St. Girons. This time, we were the hunters and the leeks our prey. That day the entire area was enveloped in a mist so thick I could feel it on my skin. We walked up the dirt road, past the barn, to another small piece of land that contained row upon row of pointy, green leaves sticking up from the earth. Unplucked leeks look surprisingly tropical to me, almost like mini palm fronds. Their roots are strong and they’re not easy to unearth. It takes slipping a long kitchen knife into the dirt right alongside the leek, slowly working the knife around, tugging the leaves, and ripping it out hopefully without cutting any of the edible white flesh in the process. John and I harvested two wheelbarrows full and then I spent the rest of the morning making them market-worthy. I washed off the dirt, held the leeks at the meaty end and whacked off the tops of their leaves, and then cut off the little roots at the base of the leek. I had successfully massacred the poor leeks. They would soon be purchased and cooked by a smattering of residents in the St. Girons vicinity. If given the chance, I would vouch for them at the market. Je ne se quoi, “These leeks are fresh from the garden. Get ‘em while the getting’s good!” S’il vous plait.

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