Freyja's Day Thing, 8/19/22
Hello! There’s a veritable butt load of things to talk about. Let’s get to it!
Another batshit crazy person joins the ranks of The Gutter Founders’ Club. Seriously, are people finding oil deposits in their back yards all of a sudden, or is this a bunch of Pfizer escapees trying to buy some retroactive indulgences? Anyway, please welcome Jeffrey Falk, author of The Most Endangered Species (I know what you’re thinking, super cliche, right? But he’s actually talking about anal pinworms. Do your part).
This is normally the part where I tell a weird story about how this latest person with more cash than sense is acquainted with me, and it’s generally an embarrassing story involving prostitutes or public toilets or child protective services. But I actually know next to nothing about the mysterious Mr. Falk, except that he writes a really good blog of mostly reviews, is the other person remaining alive in this timeline who loves Beavis and Butthead, and had $100 last week.
Jeffrey- which is a name that nuns and moms yell angrily from adjacent rooms- check your email for your code for a free Gutter Mug, my questionably generous gift to Founders which the rest of you plebs can buy your way into (classless society!!1!1) on Check My Privilege, the official merch site of The Gutter and Brothermouth.
I have a podcast now.
LOL. No I don’t.
I’ve been getting the shit kicked out of me lately.
Last week, I discovered that if I lay my head on Dog #3’s back when we’re sharing the sofa, she bites me in the face. I discovered this when she bit me in the face. It drew a good amount of blood, with a tooth-shaped punctures on the bridge of my nose, my lower lip, and my left eyebrow, making me look like a millennial preparing for a job interview that they subsequently blew off. They finally seem to have closed up.
This past Sunday, at Viking Fight Club, I was going two axes against a sword and round shield, and we were sparring on a hill that was sloping left-to-right. I shifted left to hook the shield and my right knee just- I have no idea what it did, I think maybe it folded itself into another universe or it briefly intersected with a piece of dark matter or it was sublet by Airbnb to a morbidly obese guest- and I was down on the ground with our medic asking how bad it was, and I didn’t think of saying “like 2016 Ghostbusters” until the next day, which was the most painful thing of all. It has been 5 days and I took the brace off yesterday and am walking and climbing around normally, but it occasionally randomly catches something at a funny angle and I get a stab of pain. When I’ve been sitting or lying down for a while, it hurts in a sort of dull, cruel way for about 2 minutes until it loosens up. I will probably sit out of fighting this weekend, which makes me really unhappy.
Two weeks ago, around the time of my last Thing but before the essay, I strained my calves pushing a 500-lb pig across an interstate highway under 100-degree sun for about a half hour.
I’ll start at the beginning.
Husbandmouth and I bought a new livestock trailer late two weeks ago- until now we’ve had to rely on a not-very local friend to loan us his ancient, falling-apart one when we’ve needed to transport a cow or a pig, which further imposes a roughly 45-minute drive on him as he isn’t confident he can unhitch it from its current vehicle. It’s a silly, burdensome situation, but until very recently it’s been virtually impossible to find any such trailers for sale, anywhere, new or used, at pretty much any price. The main reason is that, surprisingly, such equipment is still mostly manufactured in the United States, meaning it’s subject to the ongoing shortages of steel and other supply chain bullshit. So when we finally saw two available at a farm supply 2.5 hours away from the house, we jumped.
Since we were already killing the day, it was a good opportunity to commit to buying the new breeding pigs I’d had my eye on. Our two current adult hogs will have been with us for a year this September; the sow has not reproduced since the small litter she arrived having already just delivered, and the boar, not their parent, doesn’t seem to have done anything at all. He’s become increasingly inactive and less friendly to humans, though never aggressive. He’s not old enough to be in any kind of natural decline; he’s just become kind of a lump, and the farmer I bought him from said his entire generation (most of whom remained at his ranch before being slaughtered recently) didn’t breed this year either.
The birth rate crisis is real.
So I was quite pleased to discover a couple breeders nearby with hogs for sale. Raising heritage breeds makes regenerating a herd a LOT harder; you’re not always going to have a lot of choice, and sometimes the nearest person is 3 hours away. Not in the same direction as your new livestock trailer. Like this one.
We headed out in the morning, picked up the trailer from a cool father/daughter family business, headed a few hours in the other direction, spent an hour there using makeshift riot shields to chase 3 500+ lb. pigs out of a pasture into the back of our brand-new trailer with the help from a neighbor from the local sheriff’s department (which was as fun and as muddy as it sounds), paid the lady her not-insignificant pig fee, and headed out.
Husbandmouth had never driven with a trailer before, but barring some over-sensitive brakes (improperly calibrated), we seemed to be doing well.
About an hour later, we were hauling down the interstate at 65 mph, getting a little tired but feeling quite accomplished.
Until cars started pulling up alongside and yelling at us that the trailer gate had broken open and
If this was a more sensitive, caring substack, this would have been the part where I would have mentioned a “trigger warning” or “sensitive material” or something similar. Pull up your big-person pants.
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You know how you’re (if you’re living in the US, anyway) driving on the interstate, and you see traffic massively backed up on the other side of it, for like, MILES? Just, at a dead stop, with a line of tractor-trailer trucks?
And maybe, peeking between them, you see the flicker of a police car flitting down the line?
And maybe you can see some debris, but unless you’re on that side of the highway, you never really see what’s going on?
But it’s so dramatic you think to yourself, holy shit, I would not want to be whoever that was.
I got to walk a mile back to where the first pig had flown out- I spotted a big black speck on the empty lane far behind us. Along the way, I found the other two. Astonishingly, all three were still alive. There were blood spots where they had impacted, and they all had varying degrees of road rash.
And I’m walking down the line of this empty lane with the other two to my right filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic that’s still crawling slowly along because the state troopers haven’t showed up and closed it off yet.
And I’m looking down at these pigs and waving for Husbandmouth to get them contained while I go back for the far one, and my face is something like horror and despair and guilt.
And EVERY. CAR. is full of people pointing their phones at me. Smiling, laughing cyclops faces behind little plastic rectangles. One of the non-people actually calls out his half-open window, “you okay?” while still continuing to film this, and all I can answer is, “did you get a good picture, asshole?”
I get back to the last pig and she’s on her feet, frothing at the mouth from stress like the rest of them and keeps trying to wander into the lane with the semi trucks. Insanely, not only are all three pigs alive but they’re on their feet and walking around to various degrees.
I have to crouch down on the ground and put my whole weight against her like a runner at the starting line to keep her pointed against the concrete shoulder, and it’s 100 degrees over us with no shade and she’s panting from heat and stress. She eventually flops over.
And I just kind of sit like this for a half hour, with no idea what Husbandmouth or the cop cars that have gone by or the other two pigs a mile back are doing.
A truck goes by, slowly, and the driver throws two big water bottles out the window. They land too far away to reach without letting go of the pig.
Another truck stops behind me, and the driver gets out. He’s driving an empty livestock truck and tells me he’ll get some hog panels and we can box the sow in so I can get up. He asks me if we’re going to put the pigs down. I say, not if we don’t have to. He says he’ll stay with me until my husband can get back here, walks up and gets the water bottles, and we agree to dump them over the pig’s head instead of drinking them. It makes a small puddle of mud under her, which she immediately rolls onto her side and wallows in, grunting, and we laugh a little.
The staties have apparently helped Husbandmouth get the other two hogs off the road, onto their feet, and to climb back into the trailer themselves. They eventually get back to me and do the same. 4 of the 5 of them are farm boys, they tell us, and they don’t want to be putting down and incinerating anyone’s hogs if they don’t have to.
Think about the absurd resilience of these animals for a moment: falling from a vehicle moving 65 mph, from about a two foot height, weighing over 500 lbs.
The pigs collapse in the back of the trailer, to which we add a chain on the gate. We eventually get home. My legs remain swollen and strained for a couple days. One of the pigs dies a couple days later, apparently from an internal injury. She acted normally upon arriving home so we had no real clue. Too far out into the pasture and way too heavy for any of our equipment to move her, we have to burn her in situ (she had apparently been dead overnight, which is too long laying in heat to harvest the carcass), and just take turns watching the fire because it took the entire day to burn down.
The other two pigs are, insanely, just fine. The boar spent his first week fighting with the existing one for dominance and the surviving sow demanded her own swimming pool. She gimps slightly on a leg when she stands up, but less and less every day after two weeks now. Our existing sow has cozied up to both of them, so I’m considering giving her a while to see if she’ll breed with the new boar instead of processing both her and the old boar next month.
Fathermouth sold his house. He reached some kind of critical mass where he just couldn’t live alone in NC a moment longer, and would begin all of his phone calls by telling me he was “going crazy down here.” So, without much warning or preparation, he just called a broker, put it on the market, got offers at asking price within about 18 hours, and called to say he needs a place to stay while he figures out where to move to when he’s out at the end of next month.
The roughly 12-acre square that our farm sits on has a notch cut out of it on one side from when the previous owners, about half a century ago, subdivided it to sell a small secondary house when times were lean. (In this part of the US, it’s quite common for farm properties to have two or even three separate family homes on them; for most of the region’s history, it was more typical for children to build or move into a separate home on their family’s property with their new spouse than to move away altogether to another side of the country. It’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Most of those families are still here. Just saying.)
From the moment we moved here, the little donut bite out of our field has driven me mildly crazy. The house on the tiny cutout lot was for sale at the same time as ours and looked more or less condemned (which was, we learned later, pretty close to the truth). I walked over and introduced myself as soon as it sold, to a young couple who were buying it to renovate and flip after waiting long enough to avoid capital gains tax. I told them (at the time), please let us know first when you’re going to sell. We can make you a good offer, we can both skip brokers and save a lot of money, please please reserve the house. I figured by that time Husbandmouth would be working again and with this house owned outright we could get a loan against it. We’re still young enough that it’s kind of crazy that we own a big house with no mortgage, so I wouldn’t have minded making that kind of investment.
You can probably see where I’m going with this and why I smelled opportunity. As most of you know, Fathermouth went through hell following his vaccine injury late last year and, once his hospitalization nightmare was over, lived here on the farm for about 3 months while regaining his mobility and strength and getting all the finances and legal stuff in order that fall apart when you’re semi-comatose for six months and your only daughter has nothing but about half a paper trail to go on to try to manage your affairs while you are in the process of being expected to die.
By the time he left here, he knew the area well enough that he was driving around running errands on his own, had favored places to go eat and hang out, and, to the extent he was capable, liked pitching in around the farm and the house.
After returning home on his own and, not long after, deciding to sell his house, dad went through a brief whirlwind period of fantasies about how he would spend the rest of his life, among them moving down to Florida (where no friends or family live and more than a day’s travel by car from here), living out of a camper, or… nothing really specific. He has spent a lot of time traveling up to NY to visit old friends and colleagues and tried rekindling a friendship with Mothermouth which mainly seemed to culminate in him imposing on her a lot for a place to stay while he was in town and making her kind of uncomfortable but, in her way, too passive to say anything about it but complain angrily to me over the phone. He got a little demanding and pushy with everyone, myself included- he lacks even the most basic technology skills and was calling me daily for assistance with things like looking up a business on a browser or navigation app or answering texts, and becoming snarky and impatient if he wasn’t assisted immediately- and not really seeming to understand that wild, impractical plans that he was clearly not going to be able to handle 100% independently were going to place added demands on, let’s face it, just me and maybe possibly Mothermouth if I reached some kind of breaking point and it was do or die.
Most recently, he backed his truck into a utility pole while staying at Mothermouth’s, apparently causing major body damage, and fell off her stoop, tearing a ligament in his knee, and she kind of lost her mind as he sort of just expected to be cared for by mom regardless of the disruption to her life that, until last year, hasn’t involved him for over 20 years.
Long story short- I confronted dad about some of this stuff, on behalf of mom and myself, dad basically said he simply didn’t want to admit that he couldn’t be independent and it hurt too much to give up, realized that it actually makes my life 1000x easier if he lives close at hand instead of the other side of the country by himself (he was doing one of those “it’s my job to stay out of your way” things), I pulled strings with the house flippers, and after a rigorous inspection involving Fathermouth hobbling around with a tape measure and a flashlight and growling a lot, he’s buying the house in the cutout of our field for a fraction of what he sold his for. It was fully renovated just one year ago and is incredibly modern and I’m honestly kind of jealous, and it is entirely habitable and spacious on just the first floor if need be (which presently isn’t an issue but, I strongly suspect, will be in a few years). He will live less than 500 feet away from me, the rest of the lot will get reabsorbed by our pasture space, and his dog will have a straight shot to our yard to rejoin our pack.
And it didn’t end up costing me a flat dime. And dad is thrilled. And the neighbors, not needing to lose tens of thousands of dollars on a broker and a lawyer, are thrilled. And I’m thrilled. And when dad passes, if our efforts to finally grow our family in the coming year pull off, we’ll have a family home for Futuremouth to inherit, along with the rest of this amazing thing we’re building.
I fucking love it when a plan comes together.
We just got rabbits.
They’re Rexes, one of the most ideal meat breeds that reach a slaughter weight of about 9 pounds in 5-6 months. An awesome lady I met on a homesteading exchange sold us a “breeding team” of one buck (the black and white one in the pic) and two sister pairs of two dams each (the dark grey ones). She was also over two hours drive each way, and the truck broke down stranding Husbandmouth and I for a while yesterday, slamming us with another $650 for repairs, after which I was told we are 100% finished taking long drives for livestock for a long time.
This gets us more or less protein self-sufficient, though; if things continue as they are, we can look forward to processing one cow and 1-2 hogs a year, a continuous supply of chickens and eggs, and now rabbit meat and fur. Vegetable production was so-so this year, but we mainly focused on infrastructure (we are currently up to 10 fruit trees/bushes and about 100 square feet of raised vegetable beds, besides 2 acres for grain crops) and learned a lot, so I will probably actually end next year having harvested something besides three million tomatoes and potatoes and cabbages (which is honestly nothing to be ungrateful for).
We also just finished installing a solar power system. I have very strong feelings about so-called “renewable” energy as a public policy and political agenda, and consider it nothing short of literal suicide to attempt to wipe out the entire energy infrastructure and force a modern 21st century society to attempt to limp along on “green” bullshit. I didn’t do this as any kind of high-minded moral gesture.
I did it because, if you can afford it and have the right conditions, on an individual level a renewable system can make you self-sufficient. The system we bought includes a high-capacity battery system/capacitor installed in the home, and we are able to toggle settings as to how much of our panel generation feeds the property’s power usage, how much charges the battery, and how much gets sold to the local power grid. So, if we end up in a grid-down or grid-cut or other complete collapse situation, we can be entirely self powering. (If you’re reading this and drooling, be very aware that NOT ALL home solar systems being marketed are actually off-grid capable, and it makes it more expensive- AFTER very big rebates/government reimbursements, this cost us $35k. It is a pretty large system, though).
It’s only been up a little less than a week, but so far every day except today we were power-positive- today was a scorcher and the A/C blasted most of the day. We’re looking into other stuff we can do to make this very old house more thermal efficient- Fathermouth has decades of construction expertise that never really gets outdated when it comes to this kind of shit and has had lots of advice.
On to current events.
This toy is absolutely glorious and I intend to use it so much in the coming months you will grow desperately tired of it to your very core.
I am of two minds of the current weirdness that the COVID biofascists are doing. “Phase Eating Each Other” seems to be getting rolling- MSM (not in the US) is saying things like “lockdown deaths dwarf COVID deaths.” People are getting furious at the CDC- but read that one very carefully, because at least as much of the noise on social media is bitching that the CDC is backing down from authoritarian ‘recommendations,’ not because we knew they were wrong all along: angry Karens and other Branch Covidians are pissed off that they “aren’t being protected anymore” by big daddy security state. I’m very interested to see how the various public health agencies that are using this situation to blame each other and try to grant themselves more future power are going to move when they face anger on BOTH sides. This is usually the time at which organizational entities, facing the very real possibility of their demise, begin some very vigorous human sacrifices, escapegoating, and let’s just say you should call an Uber because the axles of every bus in the city will be jammed up for quite a while.
Here’s the part of it that should interest us: when organizations enter this phase- throwing their individual members and their rivals to the dogs to escape consequences or dissolution- they lose the lockstep, united front that has enabled the “us vs. them” state of war between those who want to control all life and their slaves who beg to be controlled vs. those who reject their agenda.
There are enough people who were simply opportunists that will be sufficiently faithless whores to gladly change their tune to “the vaccines aren’t safe or effective and masks aren’t either and we- I mean THEY- knew it, I’m just glad to finally be away from those monsters and in the arms of Teh Peepul. Embrace me as your hero, fellow victims of the tyrannical machine.” And they will spill the beans and dump the dirt just to be able to keep muh paycheck, muh government title, muh social media reputation. There are good reasons why employing people who aren’t motivated by loyalty or honor to do dirty work will always eventually bite you in the ass- you’re just as much a target of opportunity as the people you pointed them at in the first place.
I worked really, really hard on this meme for you. Shut up.
I’m starting to see similar results where weaponized (and mobilizing) federal agencies are concerned. Enough people that can’t be labeled far-right white supremacist homophobic Islamophobic transphobes are disgusted with the FBI that, along with the entire basket of deplorables, has given their reputation a thrashing of late. It seems like the voices of the “anything, at any cost, to destroy Trump/save us from COVID/advance progressive agendas” are overwhelming, but actions are starting to show they’re not.
Brandon is absolutely fucking done. On both sides, for the same mixed-feelings reasons I mentioned above about the CDC- on one side, he’s the barely-conscious, bullying, demented puppet of the most radical progressive leftists in history; on the other side, he’s a slimy politician that didn’t cancel student debt or put Trump voters in reeducation camps or, hilariously, tear down the southern border wall (I actually saw several completely unironic tweets by strident leftists referring to Biden as a ‘right-wing conservative’). His political future is as laughable as Miss Piggy’s, and I think it’s very realistic that he won’t make it to 2024.
If Brandon’s warm corpse were propped up at a podium in 2024 and made to win the election, I don’t think they’d be able to keep us divided enough anymore. It would be the Big Show and the absolute end of this little game.
There may be a time in the not-too-distant future where there is too tight a technological net woven around us for the allied tyrants of the world to fear us, but that time is obviously not here yet.
It is becoming abundantly clear that the people we rightly despise and fear do not trust each other, are disloyal to much of their shared causes, are of wildly varying competence, and ultimately still fear our wrath.
Stay angry AND EXPRESS IT. Don’t isolate yourself from people that you can trust to stand with you- we are out there.
I will definitely have more to say about this in the coming weeks and months.
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Really enjoyed reading this. Hysterically funny in the beginning, serious towards the end.
Well. You screwed up with the solar. I could've donated you panels. One of my business sells and installs solar.
For a commercial business, that is an owner operator, it is hard to beat as investment and hedge against rate hikes.
I lease them to tax-exempt entities so that I can claim section 179 and monetize the tax credits. I'm a libertarian; so feel like I'm taking back from the government what they try to take from me.
That said they are never going to be viable as a solution at the utility scale level.
Anyway. Sorry about your pigs. Sounds like a fucking disaster.