Since three p.m. today:
I’ve jury-rigged an outdoor pen for my fifteen chickens, fighting to pound t-posts into rock-hard dry ground though I wanted to give up, and my reward was watching young birds safely explore the outdoors and find their way back into the coop at sundown.
I have a story told in cuneiform on my shoulder, written by the claws of a terrified young cockrel who sought shelter on my body when I tried to integrate him with a flock of larger birds.
I’ve cut my loses in the garden, accepted that a week without power and water plus half a month’s vacation neglect during a drought added to hundreds of marauding squash bugs equals a big fat zero for my garden. I ripped out three rows of pumpkins, eggplant, kale, chard, zucchini, beets, and radishes.
I ferried three heaping wheelbarrows full of my former garden to the compost pile, then came back and took my flamethrower to the insect-infested soil.
I dumped another wheelbarrow filled with fly-infested chicken manure on the compost pile. Green, brown, green, brown. I felt the heat rising as I wrenched the wheelbarrow end over end, green briars drawing blood on my legs.
I took six brushloads of hair out of my unkempt dog and learned that painful grooming is more easily tolerated when done by a pen full of young chickens. It’s like t.v. for dogs.
At nine p.m. I came inside to shower, and when I peeled off my sweated bikini top it left dirt outlines on my skin.
Two weeks ago I was in London wandering the Damien Hirst exhibit at the Tate Modern, appropriately grossed out by his maggoty cow head and formaldehyded farm animals. It makes me wonder: If that’s considered art, then what is it that I do?