In 2001, I hung, killed, and bled a pregnant sheep.
There’s a house in Galicia in the northwest of Spain, near the Costa da Morte, where my great-grandparents raised their eight children. It has never been part of a town, albeit very close to two or three, and the hilly area surrounding it is now speckled with wind turbines, so its jurisdiction remains unclear.
The façade was originally painted white, then for a couple of years in the 90s it was salmon. Today the place is blue and home to my great aunt, Victoria, who is younger than my mother, her niece. During my family’s summer-long visits every five years or so, I was always the only one staying at Victoria’s. The homes of other relatives weren’t large enough to accommodate the four of us, and hers came with infinite backyard, so I would call dibs.
I spent most of my time with the animals. For every visit there were a different number of dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, sheep, pigs, and calves. I remember the summer of their first German Shepherd, a mutt-terrier-looking dog, two Siamese cats, about eight sheep, and over a dozen chickens and rabbits. Another time there were no sheep but a calf and pigs. Then sheep and pigs. Once, a donkey.