Thursday, March 10, 2011
But it is what it is, which is to say: not pretty.
Farming (even vegetable farming) is, at its most basic level, about manipulating natural things so that they serve you. In other words "using" them. It is not really a quaint, idyllic pastime. It is messy and brutal, beautiful and hard and very, very real.
I have to re-learn this every few months here on Maggie's farm. Yesterday was a case in point.
Y'see, we had five too many roosters. They'd been part of the batches of hen-brooded chicks that blessed last spring. The ones that survived the fox attacks and hawk swoops. And they were now grown up enough to bully each other and stress out the hens and generally act like the feathered bags of testosterone they were.
We knew we should eat them. But Dan wasn't up for it after the last time, and I didn't want to try it alone. (Have I mentioned we are wimpy farmers)
So I put an add in Craigslist knowing that what I was too soft to manage, some other person could do with a quick twist of the neck.
Then I chased down those five roosters, feeling all the while so sad and sorry as only an absolute farming wimp can. In the crate, the cocky birds continued their squabbles, the weaker ones, crouching in the corners, the toughies crowing victory. "Soccerball," who'd turned out to be a beautiful feisty rooster was in there, and the soft ginormous "Mongo Rooster."
(LESSON LEARNED: Never name your rooster chicks.)
And then the guy came to get them and I felt..... awful.
I know. It makes no sense. They were making themselves (and the hens) miserable. They'd kicked our formerly-dominant rooster, Jaguar, out of the coop, they were all fight and fury, but I felt so responsible for their fate. I hoped the guy who bought them would give them a decent life/death, but I had no more control over that.
But I sold them. For $2 each. And washed my hands.
And then I moped about the way farming is not the bucolic wonderland that is sometimes portrayed.
Posted by Perri at 12:04 PM