This is an annual event — three or four families gather to slaughter and preserve five hogs we’ve raised together. It used to take three days. Now, after 17 years of doing it, it takes us about ten hours. The salting, of course, will be quite a bit longer, but the cuts are all done, and the lard is rendered. The same bad jokes have been told, and new ones introduced into the script; pots of coffee and pans of cinnamon rolls consumed regardless of gory hands; two harvest meals prepared and eaten. Now Barry can drain the waterline to the barn before the ground freezes too deep.