Monday, December 21, 2009
Posted by Perri at 2:49 PM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Posted by Perri at 9:22 AM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We tried to raise and slaughter these pigs as humanely as we could, arranging for them to stay home rather than be stressed in a slaughterhouse somewhere. We gave them plenty of room and pig goodies, gave them no reason to stress or fear up until this day. The night before the slaughter, I even went down to town and bought the largest cheapest bottles of vodka in the liquor store (The clerk had a good laugh when I explained they were for my livestock) and Dan made the pigboys “White Russians” with the last few cartons of milk. Even so, when I returned home the day of, Dan was pretty tight-lipped. So I am left to imagine that even with the pigs drunk as skunks, it was not a thoroughly an easy passing.
These days, I've been avoiding the pig pen, and I do not quite look at the drying hides in the barn. BUT, I must also admit that when the meat arrived a week later, wrapped neatly and in such amazingly plenty—enough to feed us and several other families for a good long time-- I felt a sense of pride. We had done what we set out to do: Provide for our family in a sustainable way, provide for our pigs a healthy, free ranging environment where they could root and graze and eat healthy whole foods, work hard from May to November, recycle loads of organic groceries that would have filled landfills rather than swine bellies. (Pigs are the ultimate in recycling…) And be part of the food chain again.
But How does it feel? You ask.
Hmmmm…… so, so.
On one hand, pigs are curious, trusting creatures (At least compared to sheep, who fully expect that you will eat them every time you so much as glance in their direction) and this makes the idea that we would violate the “trust” and actually eat them all the more awful.
On the other hand, the Daves were gobbling close to 20 gallons of food a day, an untenable situation. I could not imagine standing out in the lower barn an hour a day plunking frozen yogurt out of frozen 8 ounce tubs with frozen hands to keep the boys plump and happy. The cost of their feed skyrocketed towards the end there. And they were eating vanloads of donated food a week. Not easy to fit in between ferrying kids and playdates and work responsibilities and hay for the sheep. Owing to the confluence of weather, school and size, three, 300 pound pigs began to feel like one thing too many.
On the other hand, the pigs were pleasant and sweet and so easygoing compared to the nervous flock of sheep. They were fun—if stinky—to have around. My oldest had taken to riding them! And they could be counted on to eat every kind of table scrap—much more efficiently than the chickens. I didn't mind the half sandwiches left in the kids' lunchboxes when I plopped them into the "pig food" bucket on the counter.
On the other hand, I truly believe that death is a natural part of life and that by removing ourselves so thoroughly from the food chain (Many folks get squeamish just thinking about the “cow” in their burger) we have created a sort of strange new taboo. Yes it is scary and awful and I have experienced death on many very personal levels, but it is real.
On the other hand, it is much harder to look at a pork chop when you remember the pig it came from happily slurping up gallons of milk and grain, its stubby tail waggling.
On the other hand, as barrons (Castrated Males), the Daves had no other “purpose” other than to feed us.
On the other hand, do ANY of us have a "purpose"?
Will we do it again? I’m not sure yet.
I believe that it is natural and right to have a personal relationship with your food. But it is also a whole lot harder.
Posted by Perri at 7:18 PM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Posted by Perri at 10:50 AM
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Posted by Perri at 1:12 PM
Sunday, August 30, 2009
We just got a new shipment of yarn back from the mill, and it is beautiful! We tried something new this year and mixed colored in the same skein. The effect is a sort of tweed... or zebra. I love it!
And it is for sale, of course. Soon to be posted on our website and on Etsy as well.
Posted by Perri at 7:26 AM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The weather's been brutal this month; rain then rain, heat and humidity, more rain, followed by more heat and more humidity. It's the perfect storm as far as parasites and stress are concerned. Maggie's Farm Forecast says "80% chance of livestock disaster." And we've had it.
Posted by Perri at 5:27 PM
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Luka, our little Icelandic sheepdog, has taken on a new role around the farm. She is The Enforcer, with an ego the size of Texas (or perhaps Iceland) and a zero tolerance policy for extraneous critters... and there have been quite a few extraneous critters of late.
Posted by Perri at 7:46 AM
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I promised to put up a picture of Dracula, Leela's humongous lamb, and here it is. He's the one on the right. Pretty ginormous boy, eh? Leela has the most wonderful fleece, and Drac shares this trait. He really did end up looking a bit like his namesake monster with and enormous rough of fleece around his neck and those arching "eyebrows".
He's a tough one to photograph. Here he is walking away from the camera:
Posted by Perri at 7:12 AM
The power is pretty steady here in Colrain, which makes these poultry outages all the more baffling. We usually have only two or three over the course of en entire year. But their timing is impeccable (ImPECKable???).
Posted by Perri at 6:53 AM
Saturday, July 4, 2009
(Yes, that's genuine Icelandic wool-- part of their cool new bedding material-- they are snuffling in the picture.)
Posted by Perri at 9:50 PM
Saturday, June 27, 2009
At long last, we've got reasonable pictures of MOST of this year's lambs. Now that they are on the big pasture next door, they're not much interested in us. Oh, the little families trot down to the barn now and then for a lick of minerals, but the siren call of fresh grass howls in their furry ears, and mostly, we see the tail ends of these little guys and gals.
Here are the twins out and about. This picture gives you a sense of their chunky builds.
Posted by Perri at 9:42 AM