Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Head, Butt

Razing Children

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This blog was begun as a way to muse spontaneously
and non-scientifically on soil, to scat about scat.
I grew up in the country, knowing that mud was a thing
to be in. Later in life I've found myself half-perched
in urban places, but often recognize in peoples' faces
that I am still a country girl. Recently I wooed my
sweetheart with the dirt underneath my fingernails.
This dirt seems to always be there - not grime, not dust -
and I am most reminded of it when I write. To me
the soil feels clean and alive, not dirty, & perhaps
as I carry it in my frequent journeys from farm to city
I am accomplishing a sort of seeding.

In any case, the dirt that's there now must surely be
from the Palatial Preston Pig & Hen Pen, out of which
I cannot seem to stay. My latest greatest delight has
been to run along the ever-shifting fenceline & incite
the pigs to run along after me, grunting, kvetching,
maybe calling out endearments. Moments later the entire
platoon of 30-odd chickens begins to storm behind the pigs,
determined to keep up, as if their whole sense of security,
their very feeling for true home, was with the pigs

And I'll conjecture that it is. It's something of a marvel
to watch the two pigs root and forage in the dirt - softly
snuffling for worms and grubs and probably imbibing a
great deal of dirt besides - while witnessing the chickens
semi-patiently waiting to get their beaks into the same
snout-loosened holes. Their heads stay very close together.
I think I've even seen a worm held between a pig and a chicken,
like a noodle.

So what I'm getting at is that there's a lot of unsung
love happening in that nomadic pig & pollo pasture, which
picks up and moves on every few days. The soil left behind
is beautifully tousled, tilthy. If the conditions are right
it's possible to see the molded imprints of the mouths that
broke dirt & ate there. Mixed with a healthy dose of pigscat
and the nitrogen-rich droppings that fell from the eaves of
the Roaming Egg Hotel. I'm inspired to say that this is
what we humans could do, and at best do do, for other
creatures: to loosen things up, to make nutrients available.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Full moon nights in Dry Creek are not quiet.
The indigo sky, seeming like a sea beneath a powerful
lighthouse, is traversed by the music of a roaming ark
of animals, who call to each other in the encrypted codes
of--as far as we can tell--whistle, bark, & wail.
The main melody seems to be held by a young sisterhood
of sleepless coyotes, who prowl the creekbeds & hedgerows,
ululating wildly while leaving the hairy signatures of
their scat on the pathways and property lines:
county assessors rewriting the agreements.

But night is also home to the animals who live within
the lacey suggestion of fences, like the soft & single goat
Calliope, who throws her front legs up into the olive
trees, rising to embrace them before ripping off their
tenderest growths. I've heard her address the moon
in a plaintive staccato, and her scat are compact
and raven-colored, strewn like dark, tiny olives in
the grass. Across the creek, in the plains where Semillon
& Viogner grapes once grew, the baseline is provided
by a pair of snoring piglets, dirt and shit sloughing
magically from their bristles and returning to the cold
ground, which waits for water and daylight to will it
back into mud. This is the January song.