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The Tillers


Often, I look upon my husband with humorous exasperation, sometimes not so humorous. What I find to be most impressive about him is that although exasperating, he is frequently correct in his opinions, ideas, and practices. Of course, I will never admit this to him. Can you imagine the swelling of that handsome bald head that would occur if I did? There really would be no living with him. However, I digress. Often, my husband takes advantage of my naïve nature and tells me things that are plausible but never true. One would think after so much time together I would know to not believe anything he tells me; he is a chronic jokester. On that rare occasion that I do call nonsense, I frequently find he isn’t joking. Those times are few and far between mind you, but they do occur.


Rudimentary practices of the past are still of benefit to us today. The Bibbed Wonder approached me with an idea. He informed me he would like to use the piglets as rototillers for our garden plot. Initially, I laughed at him and gave him my standard, “Just stop, I don’t have time for your nonsense today.” You see, I abhor the use of Round Up. I understand with the acreage and maintenance that we have, there are places where it is necessary for my husband’s time management. However, being used around the house, the barn, or (insert horrified gasp) where we are going to grow food in nonnegotiable. It has taken awhile but after our last battle over landscaping, he conceded to no Round Up in the areas I designated. Initially, he wanted to use Round Up on our garden plot. He was met with a stern and sincere refusal. Instead, we put large tarps down and hoped the grass would die off after a few weeks. Any time I put anything in the yard, it kills the grass and I (well actually, Eric) has to reseed it. Of course, when you want this outcome it doesn’t happen. No, quite the opposite happened. The tarps acted like large, flat greenhouses and the grass grew in extra green, extra lush, and extra dense. Seriously Karma, was I Attila the Hun in a past life? The Bibbed Wonder, decided to just stop wasting time, got out the rototillers and began to fight with the sod. The extra green, lush, dense grass just cleaved to the tilling tines and rendered them useless. I felt guilty watching Eric fight with this debacle all day. We are not twenty-two and thirty anymore. As I watched him struggle and jostle the rototiller, all I could think was, “that is going to be painful tomorrow.” After hours of fighting an uphill battle, he decided to let the tilled soil dry out and try to rototiller it a few days later. It is Western Pennsylvania in the spring, it never had the opportunity to properly dry out.


Instead of being beaten to a painful pulp by the rototiller, Eric went to the local feed store and bought hog panels. He zip tied them together, made a simple pen the size of the garden plot and informed me I had to help catch the rototillers. I have no true love for little pigs…except Eugene. They are rude, pushy, intrusive, loud, and dramatic. I do not jest, they could win an Emmy for their dramatic performances when picked up, doctored, petted, or made to do anything they do not want to do. Did I mention they poop when frightened? Yes, they are fright poopers. I’m not talking about a harmless dropping like my darling goats, no it’s more like foul, grain filled toothpaste that just keeps coming...vomitous, really. By the time the seven little tillers were caught, we were all covered in poo. Poor Jordan even had it in her boot. I have a strong appreciation for colorful language and I had to laugh because it was so genuine, so pure, and so innocent, my bean who never uses foul language, to the best of my knowledge, declared, “Ewwww, it shit in my boot!” I don’t think she was even aware she said it. Eric and I simply could not stop laughing long enough to reprimand her.


Once “the Tillers” were inside their garden oasis, we just sat in all our stinky glory, watching them do what little pigs do best, destroy everything that is in their path. They had the sod broken up and turned over in no time. It really is impressive to watch animals do what God created them to do. They were just happy, roly-polys having an adventure and unbeknownst to them, being helpful. I’m sure, if they had known how helpful they were being they would be non-compliant, they are truly incorrigible creatures at this age.


At this point, they are half way through the garden and happy to comply. They are very smart little creatures and have caught on to the new routine quickly. Only two of them are dramatic about being taken to the garden plot. I am pleased to report they have even stopped pooping on us, for the most part. Betty White (she looks like her mama, rest her soul) and The Tongue (she was born with her tongue sticking out and it took a while to regress) are still a bit dramatic and rude. They really are doing a bang-up job of tilling the soil, The Bibbed Wonder isn’t in pain for days at time, and there are absolutely no harmful chemicals being used.


As we approach day forty-something of this stay at home order, I can’t help but wonder if this is not the universe at work; giving us all a reality check. If we could just slow down a bit, appreciate our world, resort back to the natural order of things, allow the universe to work instead of constantly trying to force our power for our own selfish gain, maybe, just maybe we would all be better off. Past practices were gentler on the land, the creatures, and mankind. If we could all reset and work as one with nature, perhaps this world would be a better place. Again, these are just my musings, no harm, no foul.


As always, continue to stay safe, continue to stay smart, look to the past for inspiration, and continue to wash your hands really well for at least twenty seconds with hot water and really good goat’s milk soap.

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