Fallen Empire

Empire

Sunrise with Empire.

Felipe and I left the US with 50,000 dollars, four suitcases and the dream of a self-sustainable life. In two years, though we had a house, 17 acres of land and no debt, we were flat broke, with only a small,(less than fifty dollars a week) finite stipend.

Though it had never been my plan to sell animals to market, our situation was dire, and Felipe determined he would raise pigs to make a living. He acquired a sow; I suggested he name her Empire, since she was to carry the weight of his endeavors. Once she birthed some daughters he bought a boar, Don Juan.  That was three years ago, during these years Empire birthed and mothered five healthy litters of piglets, and DJ fathered hundreds.

Like all animals, pigs have a fertility prime. Past their prime, they have lower birth rate, more health issues, and low milk production. Sadly, signs of age are showing in our founding couple.

Putting a pig out to pasture is not possible. Their life expectancy is 15 years or more. They become wild very quickly. They require strong expensive fences and they’re destructive and dangerous.

And so it is time for us to let Empire and DJ go.

It hurts.

Of all the difficult painful things we have done here this is the hardest that we’ve had a choice in. I love these animals, and I am indebted to them. I won’t be here when they are slaughtered, in a way I’m glad, and in part I’m not, I wish I could be here for Felipe, though he is not as sentimental as I am, I know Empire’s death will be hard for him.

I have said my good-byes and cried more times than is fitting a farmer. Thank you Empire, thank you DJ, I will pray for your swift and fear-free deaths.

Good bye, my faithful ones.

Empire's bath vsvevg.com

Empire’s bath.

Since my departure, Empire was sold to a family for a wedding feast, she left our home and died the same day. Felipe said he was relieved; she’d been suffering with a foot injury he couldn’t heal. Empire was free to roam her last 6 weeks with us, until she had to be housed to treat her foot. She spent most of her time bathing in the creek and foraging.

A benediction for Empire.

Settling Down

Empire to the Rescue

Empire to the Rescue

When we chose Empire as the mother of our herd we had no idea how much she’d teach us , and how many times she would save our butts. Here she is with her new litter of 13 healthy piglets. But even queens make mistakes.

Chupa

Chupa

This is Chupa, one of Empire’s daughters, Empire accidently stepped on her head. Due to her injuries, she could move her legs, but wasn’t able to walk. I think she had a concussion.  I have been bottle feeding her for a five days and she’s shown great improvement, she teeters, but she’s walking.  Though I would rather there hadn’t been an injury, it has been satisfying to see this piglet recover. Empire is helpful even when she makes mistakes.

selfie with piglet

selfie with piglet

 

 

 

Merry Xmas, Happy Empire!

 
I recently sent my Xmas Collection to 2AU, the gallery that shows my work.  Above are some examples, I am sorry to say word press no longer offers the slide show feature, which is why this post doesn’t look as nifty as my previous art posts
 
Below is the title piece, a pin entitled, Merry Christmas, Happy Empire. I am not much of a photographer and the reflection off the glass was very tricky, but I was so amazed by the image, which depicts a roman soldier standing on a chest of dead vanquished foe, I had to include the photo.

Merry Christmas, Happy Empire!

Merry Christmas, Happy Empire!

 

This image was on a box of candy! Wow–Yummm. Vanilla candies are so much more delicious when represented by the symbol of one culture crushing another.

In this collection I returned to my primary process; just picking up pieces of junk and placing them together until something fits. It is a peaceful ritual that requires an empty mind. I have a little chant that makes me laugh, “this is interesting” I say to myself as pick up some hunk of rusted metal. I repeat this process over and over,(including the chant) until two objects start their own conversation.

Amazon Breastplate, made of a blender plate.

Amazon Breastplate, made of a blender plate.

Some of the pieces in this collection have content, others are simply form.  With this process the objects reveal their own content, such as Chaos is King(spiral is the symbol of inevitable change, crown=king.) And by following the narrative of these fragments of the lost, broken and discarded, I am ministered to by my connection to the creative flow.

Chaos is King

Chaos is King

If you happen to be in the West Des Moines area, my work is available at 2AU along with many other fantastic and unique artists.

Merry Xmas, and Happy Empire to all! And to all a good buy!