Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Monday, January 30, 2006

Breaking Even

It feels more like Spring than late January here in the Appalachians, but hogs are still being killed.
I drove back from Hot Spings with G* today, in the cab of the rollback, with the Blazer perched on the flatbad out back. We made sure to make the rounds around town first, so everyone could see that the Blazer is broken down again. Up this street, down that street, then back up this street .....
"Gettin' lost, G*," I queried.
"Ya gotta find just the right way," G* said, downshifting. He had a George Jones tape on, and a biscuit on the dashboard. "Jus' the right way. Some of those roads, ya jus' don't fit down."
We finally made it to 209, and started up the creek.
"Killed four hogs this mornin', and jus' didn't feel like killin' anymore. Oh, we'll probably kill a few more next week-end."
G* gets a dollar a pound for his hogs, a dollar twenty if he pieces them out for you. A hog can run 250 pounds, and sometimes up to three hundred. But his feed bill runs a grand a month. I know that from previous experience.
"Picked one out of the creek there, and another one up yonder. And one took out that telephone pole right there. They're comin' from all over for the hogs, Feller came up from Brevard the other day." G* changes subjects as deftly as he changes gears. "Oh, a feller will have some folks over, you know, and they'll get to talkin' about where the sausage came from, and the next thing you know, he'll be wantin' him some, too."
Word of mouth, I said.
"Exactly. Like the way you do your produce. And a feller knows where his hogs are comin' from, and when they was killed. Not like these stores. And what they was fed. My hogs have never seen a scrapin' from a human plate."
I thought that was what you were supposed to feed hogs.
"Jus' look at some of the people sittin' in some of these diners,"G* reasoned. "The way they look, hell, I wouldn't feed my hogs the same things."
It was beginning to make sense to me.
"All the illness and everything these days, and it's because of what people are eatin'."
G* looked up the rock cliff, and then back at the road.
"Hain't fit for a dog or a hog, most of it. One went of the road there, and I pulled it out. And up there. Don't look forward to the IRS this year. The wife hasn't added up all we spent on the hogs last year, or what we made. I kinda hate to see it myself."
I knew what he meant. "Kinda like growin' vegetables," I said. "In a good year, you break even."
"And that's a good year," G* said. "That's what a good year is. When you break even."
We crossed Meadow Fork, where G* had pulled one out once, passed S**'s house, rounded the bend, where G* had pulled one out once, and came up on my road.
"And I've pulled a few out of this holler here. But you know that."


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