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.
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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.