Three times since I started this blog I have written about our butcher and it never works out. This weekend I wrote something, and how I can write about our humble butcher whom I adore and yet have the writing be as miserable as it is, is beyond me, yet it has happened. Billy came into the room to ask me something and I must have pushed some mysterious button on the keyboard as I turned my head because out of the corner of my eye I saw what I had spent the good part of a morning working on disappear. Three times! Although, in fairness, I pulled the plug voluntarily on one of those occasions.
Here is the one little bit left…
When we arrived, he was just getting to work for the day and was hanging the clean white aprons on their hook in preparation. It is a small place, nothing fancy but it is clean. The stainless steel equipment was spotless. The knives were lined up by size on a terry towel. He told us a story of a man who bought at an auction a 600 pound boar and then immediately resold it to a man from the city, the worst scenario for our butcher who often gets stuck in the middle of these bad deals. Our butcher chuckled when he described the man buying the pork. He wore black leather and had several gold chains around his neck- not, in his estimation “a country boy who knew what he was getting into”. But the man insisted on going ahead with the plan. A pig that weighs 600 pounds is not young and old boars give off a very peculiar smell that is extremely unpleasant. In effect, a grey smoke will permeate your house and leave an oily layer of grime on every surface. Afterwards, our butcher called him with dread.
He asked, “But isn’t it tough?”
“Oh, it’s the toughest meat I’ve ever eaten. I can hardly get a knife through it.”
“And what about the smell?”
“Well, we can’t cook it in the house. We have to cook it outside on the grill. But we love it!”
Our butcher laughed and said, “See, you never know with people.”
. . . . .
On Sunday afternoon I helped my friend Barb and her husband Bob stretch 1000 new feet of line in their sugar bush. This unusually warm weather is making everyone who farms nervous. Just yesterday morning Billy and I laughed that between the two of us nearly every interest we have in life has made for an unsteady salary- farming, art, writing, teaching nursery school. “Oh, it could be worse,” Billy said, “You could be a poet.”
Actually, I find that appealing too.
The woods are quiet and I can’t help but hear my grandmother saying, as she was told by her father: During tough economic times, sugar always sells.
It may be a mirage but I am following it. Building boxes for bees comes next.