Old Man

by Scott Smith

I turned 40 this year. And, for my sins, I have moved the pig fencing and cleaned the chicken coop.

The pigs made a desert out of their original pasture. Which is good, really. I will be tilling this area — once the wallow dries up.

You want some happy pigs, you got ’em. I moved the hog panels and the pig’s shelter is now the barn. Behind our barn a rain forest grows. We got smart and took a few before pics before the pigs made waste of this area, which also is just fine. We’d like to put a horse arena behind the barn, and we’ve learned that pigs do a fine job of chewing up the earth.

A few other things I’ve learned: mow the area around the fence. Cleaning a pig pen is bad, but having to fight high weeds and grasses makes it nearly impossible — yeah, flicking pig poop into your face will educate you.

My parents are visiting, and I want my father to help me build a better roost for the chickens. I didn’t want him to experience the full noxious chicken odors, so I cleaned the coop today. Move hog panels and clean the coop within three days is a lot for an old man.

Every muscle hurts.

Like most of the U.S., Michigan got really hot for almost two weeks. I stopped doing physical labor during this time. Hey, I don’t have insurance and stroking out seemed like a bad idea.

The sin of taking that time-off has been realized, and I have vowed to spend an hour (at a minimum) each day working around the farm on a project that makes me sweat. The urban and suburban types amongst us have Bally’s; I have 10 year-old goat manure to remove.

Besides the heat, a new venture has kept me indoors — BTC Technologies. I started this with the intention of getting small businesses, trades people and professionals to blog. Commercial warning: If you want a blog, a domain, email marketing, and someone to yell at it when it isn’t working right, call (269-671-5303) or write.

You may ask why start this kind of business. Well, when I search for certain services in the Richland, Michigan area, I get lists that resemble a phonebook. How can you tell who to trust from an ad? Word-of-mouth is key to small businesses, and I think blogs extend that word-of-mouth digitally. One Google search for restaurants in the Kalamazoo area netted me one site. Insane.

Commercial over.

So, the duck house, chicken coop and pig pen are ready for my parents’ inspection. I guess that just leaves the house — hope we have some extra vacuum bags because the Jack, Meg, Falco, George, C.C. and Martha fur tumble weeds are starting to meet me at eye-level.