Thursday, December 10, 2009

Belated Thanks

While Thanksgiving has come and gone, I am still very much in "thankful mode".

Our group (16 strong, this holiday!) sat around the table and created "Thankfulness Pictures" to share before dinner. (This is a tradition that took on a life of its own a few years back.) And aside from appreciating the family connections, the aspects of place and plenty that are a consistent theme, we thanked the animals that made our meal possible.

We had a very real sense of gratitude to the critters in our lives, owing to the bounty before us: The 30 pound turkey that had been free ranging about the orchard just a week before, the ham from our very own pigs, the sausage apple stuffing, homemade cider, blueberry pie, & apple pie-- all harvested with our own hands. These things felt different somehow, owing to our relationship with them.

Honestly, I am still wrestling with that relationship. Thoughts of the pigs (our three affable "Daves") continue to give me pause and-- although the ham was absolutely deliscious and I was very proud to provide it to our friends and family-- I ate it with reservations, with each bite totally mindful of the sacrifice it entailed.

The kids don't have the same reservations. At the holiday table, they thanked "The animals that feed us" and meant it, but to them, it seemed the natural way of things. Is this better than my agonizing and introspection? I just don't know. But I do know that time will give me more perspective on this, and time (relentlessly) marches forward.

We've had the year's first "snow day" and are moving headlong into the holiday season.
We were unable to harvest the TONs of apples out in the orchard this year and although we invited every friend, neighbor and acquaintance to load up, peeled and froze bushels full, made cider, brought apple crates to work and school, fed the sheep daily snacks, and donated a bunch to the food pantry, our orchard is still a mess of unpicked fruit. The deer will enjoy them at least... And Luka will enjoy barking at the deer and running them off with gusto.... And we will enjoy (not!) rushing out into the snowy night to call our bravehearted little dog back home. And so it goes...

The farm seems so quiet without the pigs and turkeys. The sheep are in their breeding groups and the chickens snowbound in their coop. Maggie-- although she'd sit hip-deep in the snow all day for the chance to watch over her flock-- is in the house much of the time.
The kids are building snow forts and perpetually losing gloves. Dan is plowing snow and chopping wood and worrying over hay bales.

Winter has happened.


carol said...

Nice blog. I honestly don't think I could eat animals I raised. I know people do it all the time, I guess if I was hungry enough I would but if there were vegetables I think I'd have to forgo. I know that is hypocritical because I eat meat all the time. It's just having that relationship. I remember a friend who had a lamb named coconut and one night at dinner the kids asked what they were eating and the answer was "coconut." I would have freaked out but his kids were ok with it.

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