Friday, March 14, 2014

Pig Love

For the past week my Mountain Boy and I have been pulled into some kind of exhausting wood vortex - a place filled with wood and saw dust and sweat and swollen knees and sore backs and too much time in the truck.
Just on the outskirts of Aberdeen there is a family that owns a nice home and an even nicer piece of land surrounded by snow capped mountains and silence.
They moved to this home not long ago, kept their smaller trees but for some reason known only to them decided to cut down huge and very beautiful cottonwood trees that lined the front of their property along the roadway.
Desperate to get the mangled and tangled yard cleared out, they posted online that there was free wood available, and so we have been getting free wood.
The drive was very long the first time LC, Kory and I went to their home, and the jumbled and dangerous mess of logs and branches was truthfully overwhelming.
After our first trip we found a back way - and a shorter way - to their home, that travels mostly on gravel BLM roads.
Since the time of our first visit we (and others) have made a huge dent in the mess, and we now have an overwhelmingly large pile of logs sitting as a hill in our own back yard.
Waiting for splitting and stacking and drying.
It will have to wait for a while.
It's been a very tough week.  My knee is swollen and sore and I have worried a lot about LC.
He is a strong man.  Stronger than most his age but I still worry anyway.
After being severely injured in the line of duty and then retiring early from a law enforcement career, his life was supposed to be quiet.
Emotionally it seems as though it hasn't been quiet for too many years.
Physically a week such as the past week can be draining.  The potential to aggravate electrical storms in his head, and aggravate old injuries in a body too stubborn to die even when somebody was deliberately trying to make that happen.
Sometimes we both have to just force ourselves to stop.  And this is one of those times.
Enough already for a while.
I need rest.  He needs rest.
Enough free wood to last for at least the next two winters is nice, but enough already.
It can all sit silently in a huge pile in the back yard until we are ready to slowly tackle it down into a manageable size and stack it all in a manageable place................

While we were surrounded by wood one day I took a needed break for a few minutes, walked to the back of the property and snapped a few pictures of the area around us.
The sky has been unbelievably blue and the temperature has been unbelievably warm recently, but we have been too busy and too tired and too sore to even enjoy it.
But on this particular day, for just a few minutes, I walked away from the continuously annoying sound of a chain saw and moved into a world of blue sky, mountains and quiet farm animals...........
This beautiful goat was tethered by a long rope to a post beside a wood pile.
When I first noticed him he was standing on top of the wood pile, balanced easily on his high perch and chewing the bark off random pieces of pine.
When I looked up at him again a couple of hours later (and this time with camera in hand) he was happily grazing on the first green shoots of grass that have begun to make their appearance.............
This little home made structure is used for housing garden pots and hoses.
At first glance it looks as though the structure has a window, but as I moved closer I realized that it wasn't a window at all.  Rather it was simply a dark piece of tarp surrounded by a wooden frame.
The appearance of a window but actually not.............
Our pup spent a few hours tied off to a tree each time we went out.
Although we had to continually untangle her from tangled messes, she was content to sit and watch the world going on around her...........
A very beautiful and slightly dilapidated old stone structure that is actually a working barn............
I walked over to the fence line in back of the yard and looked out over the world that I had seen but not really seen because I was too busy to see.
With the too-loud drone of the chainsaw still buzzing behind me I took a deep breath and finally realized just how beautiful this area was.
We had seen a lot of beautiful while riding the back roads to this home, but we were always rushing.  Always rushing to cut or rushing home to unload.  As with this property, we had seen but not really seen, and we have both resolved that in the coming weeks we will drive down this way and just enjoy the area.
Check out each of the public accesses to lakes and reservoirs.
Stop to watch agricultural equipment that is now being prepped for the coming planting season.
Stop to look at all the baby cows that are beginning to appear in so many fields.
The farms in this area are huge.  Absolutely huge.  Endless fields that are mostly brown now, but will soon be filled with the color of growing hay and potatoes and beets and the other crops that are grown in this region of SE Idaho.
It is supposed to be 57 degrees on Sunday.  Spring really is here.............
After snapping a lot of pictures very quickly, and feeling guilty for being a slacker, I turned to walk back to my hard working man.
As soon as I turned I heard the noise, and looked to my right, momentarily startled by the unexpected sound of an animal.
I hadn't even noticed them, and wondered how I could have missed them all this time.
Hidden among large clumps of small trees, these huge pigs were a surprise.
I walked towards them, and as I reached a break in the trees finally took a good look at these huge beasts............
I had never really been close to pigs before and slowly walked towards them, not really sure how they would react to my presence.
When I got close to their pen I stopped and watched these very large things for a minute, before realizing that they were paying me no attention at all.
Rather, they were very (very) focused on each other.
I continued watching them, and smiled when I realized that they were more intent of "pig love" than they were with this intruding human...............
The male grunted (sometimes aggressively) and the female responded.
Well.........OK then..........I snapped a few quick pictures and turned back to my own business at hand, still smiling to myself at this unexpected encounter.................
The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
Julian Grenfell

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