On the farm.

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

On the farm. [Clean.]

Two thougths before I begin:

1. Talking about meat (and bees and keeping animals) has the potential to be a sensitive subject. Everything said below is based on my own truth. I urge each of you to seek out your own truth as well. Ask questions. Sit with the answers. And then live what feels best to you.

After a long and varied journey, this is the path I have chosen today.

2. Not everyone can grow their own food, much less their own meat. And not everyone can afford to eat sustainable, local fare. What I share below are reflections for those who have the means to consider different, more sustainable choices. If you are living too close to the line already and can't consider making the leap to sustainable food, I get that. In fact, I've been there.

I suggest picking up the book "Long Way on a Little" by my hero, Shannon Hayes. While you're add it see if you can get your hands on her book "Radical Homemakers". It might change your life. Shannon is amazing and knows how to make one chicken feed your entire family for days.

Blessings to all, whatever your journey may be.

~ Rachel

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

This week, like most in the summer, has very much revolved around the plants and animals with whom we share our farm.

The vegetable garden – though I has though of as a bit of a failure because of the abundance of thistle and bindweed, and the countless seeds that never found their way into the ground – is bursting with produce.

I went in to weed last night and emerged with more vegetables than I could carry.

How did this happen? Zucchini. Kale. Yellow squash. Peppers. Tomatoes. Cucumbers. Beans. Kohlrabi.

So. Much. Food.

And so so we can. We ferment. We freeze. We dry.

We put food by for the lean months of winter.

And we eat. Oh, how we eat!


And then this morning the phone rang at seven, a call from the post office to pick – peep! peep! – up – peep! – our chicks – peep! peep! peep!

While we have an adored flock of frisky laying hens and miniature fancy pet roosters (Um, yes. Really.) these birds will be a majority of the meat we enjoy for the next many months. (The remainder of our meat will be our two male lambs and some beef from the farm across the road.)

And while it might seem strange to some to hold these fuzzy – and yes, cute – animals and know that they will end up as dinner, to me it feels natural.

It feels honest.

Because if we're going to eat meat I want to know where it's coming from and ensure that each animal is treated respectfully throughout it's time on the farm. (The same reason we choose meat, eggs, dairy, and honey from small local sustainable growers whenever we can when purchasing.)

I think in our greater culture food is often something we don't give much thought too, much less weigh the ethical implications of. And I think that's vital.

Choosign to eating meat is a conscious decision for my family. And while it's not for everyone, it's the path we have mindfully chosen. And we want to be a part of that process from farm to table.

Because it's real.

When my children have chicken for dinner, they truly know what that means.

And that matters to me.

It's part of the learning that happens here every day.


So we'll spend our days caring well for the plants and animals that will sustain us.

We'll find gratitude for the abundance that surrounds us.

And we count our blessings one tomato, one chick, and one honey bee at a time.


22 thoughts on “On the farm.

  1. Jenn says:

    I love this, Rachel. You’ve given words to what I thought myself. We recently started raising our own rabbits for meat,and I’ve gotten a lot of slack from people, especially as rabbits are so cute and furry. However the decision was important to us as we really feel that we should know where our meat came from. Similar to you , we feel that raising and caring for these animals teaches us (and our kids) to respect food and where it comes from. (You can read about our rabbit raising adventures on my blog if you like: http://simplyelemental.blogspot.ca/2013/07/raising-meat-rabbits.html)

  2. Val says:

    I think mainstream people have a disconnect as to where their food comes from, especially meat. Good for Jean for teaching your kids where food comes from. And rabbit meat is very healthy. Rachel I always love pictures of your farm. Most people only dream of having a home like that.

  3. Taryn Kae Wilson @ Wooly Moss Roots says:

    I think it’s awesome that your family is raising your own meat. I love seeing all the wonderful things happening on your farm.
    We don’t have pasture to raise our own meat, but we produce as much food as we are able on our small homestead, a little more each year.

    Thanks for the book recommendations by the way.


  4. Cathy says:

    I love that you’re doing top bar beekeeping. It’s beautiful and amazing to see their progress throughout the seasons. I have top bar bees hives as well.Thanks for sharing.

  5. Amy says:

    Yes tell more about top bar beekeeping! I am/was a beekeeper but lost my bees this year and so won’t have more until next year. I read “The Thinking Beekeeper” and I want to do the top bar hive really bad but beekeepers around me are very discouraging about it. Tell us how it’s going…

  6. KC says:

    Yes Rachel! Yes Yes! You also have worked really hard to get where you are at and it has taken years. People who just happen upon your beautiful blog need to realize that. This lifestyle is something you have been actively working at an implementing step by step. And not giving up when you had a setback. Like you always say manifest and it will come true.

    When entering into a more sustainable and connected way of living you can’t just jump in and do it all. But slowly. I started down my path because I knew there must be a better way to eat brownies then out of a box. I started from the desire to make it from scratch. Buying flour, eggs, milk, butter and sugar was much cheaper than a single box of pre-packaged brownie mix.

    I think it’s about priorities and mind set as well. If your priority is to eat well then you will make the necessary sacrifices to afford the food. Buying clothing second hand instead of full price, so you can buy local pastured eggs is not so much a sacrifice. I always think of the higher price of real local food as the real price of food. you are paying for the labor, paying for the land to be worked in healthy way, paying for happy animals and happy farmers. You are paying for your own health too. But I am soap boxing to choir here.

    I love that you are considering people who are living in places that don’t necessarily have access to good food or eco friendly products. You are certainly a messenger of peace and love!

  7. Elmirapond.blogspot.com says:

    Farming can feel like truth-sowing. Hands in the dirt, you get to know better who you and your family members are. While I have not yet branched out into my own chickens or bacon or beef, I come from the western ranching culture and remember what it was like to push cattle to and fro summer pastures and know–truly know–my food. It is an intimacy that may puzzle vegetarians, but truth is the best way I can think to describe it. And I want my food to align with the truth of who I am. Love your thoughtfulness, as always! And thanks for the book suggestions (Shannon Hayes).

  8. Tristain says:

    Rachel, every time I visit your blog I am inspired. This is mine and my husband’s dream as well… to own a small farm, live off the land, the food we grow, and the animals we raise. We are still a long way from that goal, but we do have a bountiful garden this year, which has provided us with an over-abundance of zucchini, squash, beans, beets, and cucumbers (both pickling and regular). Having four small children, it is important for us that they know where their food comes from, how it’s grown, and what goes into the process. It is our responsibility as parents to teach them that. I so long for the day when we are able to raise our own chickens. Thank you as always for this post. Simple but profound. PS… I am so happy that your dream of owning a farm has become reality! For now, I will live vicariously through you!

  9. susan says:

    After being a vegetarian for many years, my truth has evolved over the years to now include local, well-raised meats. And while I don’t have my own farm where I can raise my own meat (yet), I’m lucky to live in a place where it is widely available. I helped a friend process chickens for the first time a few weeks ago. I did it because I felt like I should be able to if I’m going to participate in the eating part. And I was amazed at the connection created. It was not hard to eat an animal I had helped kill (although, I acknowledge that I did not help raise it); on the contrary, I felt a far greater respect and gratitude for the meat on my table. Oh, to be able to watch a conversation between current me and vegetarian me from nearly two decades ago 🙂

  10. Rachel Wolf says:

    Most of the people I know who think the deepest and hardest about the meat they raise -and want so much to be involved in the process – were long-time vegetarians. Myself included. Thanks for your note, Susan!

Leave a Reply