When I started this blog, I wrote a lot about my experience as a new teacher in a school in eastern Arkansas, and I wrote a lot about the projects and challenges and rewards of living way out in the country, raising animals and growing a garden with my partner, Sean. The event that inspired the name of this project was a messy one, to be sure, but it seemed to sum up the fun and the fatigue of our life in the woods.
That first spring, Sean and I spent a cold, wet, Sunday afternoon chasing a piglet all over the ridge behind our house. Alert for hoof-prints in the clay, we slogged up and down the steep ravines. We would spot her, we’d try to tackle her or herd her toward the pen, but she would vanish again, trotting off smugly while the two of us wallowed in the thick mud. We should have been lesson planning or grading, making lunches for the week or cleaning the house, but that pig was bacon on the hoof and was not to be relinquished without a fight. We did finally recapture her. Exhausted, covered in muck and walking on inches of mud caked to our shoes, we tumbled into the house, into the shower, into thick stacks of paper and tangles of laptop cords: our other universe.
Teaching and raising food sometimes went well together and sometimes didn’t, but I think Ms. Frizzle would be proud of us: we were never afraid of a little mess.