Simple Life

I was ready for some life.  There had been too much death on White Flint during the morning.  But I was not expecting our nanny goat Sheena to kid this afternoon.

I was going to the back pasture to check on the waterer and I saw that the goats in the front pasture were in the far distant corner.  For some reason I decided to trudge through the snow to them, hopefully to trim the hooves of  a couple of them. 

As I got near I noticed a baby goat lying in the snow and I knew immediately that Sheena had kidded.  I was expecting Judy to kid first, but I’d just left her at the barn–so it had to be Sheena. 

That’s when it got weird.

Joey, our Great Pyrennes guard dog, was sitting next to the kid, vigilantly protecting her–from her mother!  The kid was crying for her mother and Sheena was crying back.   But whenever Sheena tried to approach the kid, Joey would attack her.  I had to drive him away in order to let Sheena come to her.  By the time I got there Joey had torn off part of one of Sheena’s ears (he controls the goats by grabbing their ears).  I gathered up the kid and carried it to the barn, with Sheena following me.  I had to stop every few steps to chase off Joey.

By the time I got Sheena and the kid into a stall, she was having her second kid.  Both kids (females) are strong and healthy, and other than losing part of an ear to a freaked out guard dog, Sheena is fine.

But while Will and I were cleaning off the kids (and desperately hoping Cherie–the goat midwife–would return home soon), he noticed that Judy was making odd sounds in the next stall.

Within an hour of Sheena delivering twins, so did Judy.  Two more does.

Today is Will’s 20th birthday, and he’s not likely to forget how he spent it.

So we welcome into the White Flint family Barbie, Blondie, Ramona and Sharona, on a day that I’m sorry to say we had to say goodbye to Rita.

Love Wins

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Process

Today I processed one of our roosters. “Processed” is a euphemism for: caught him, carried him to the kill cone, cut off his head, dunked him in scalding water, plucked the feathers off him, burned off the pin feathers, eviscerated (gutted) him, put him a freezer bag, and put him in the freezer. It’s not pretty and it’s not fun. In fact, it is the thing about farm life that I dislike the most. But it’s part of the process that puts healthy food on our table.

I get annoyed at folks who say things like, “I don’t know how you can eat an animal you raised. I could never do that.” I’ve heard that or something like it many, many times. Not consciously, but what the person is saying is that he or she is more sensitive or compassionate than I am. Of course not one of the people who has ever said something like that to me was a vegetarian. They all happily eat meat that they get from the supermarket, conveniently wrapped in plastic and looking unlike any formerly living creature, or processed beyond all recognition, wrapped in paper and served up at a fast food joint.

It is this disconnect between eater and animal that gives a blank check to industrial agriculture to be as cruel to animals as it likes, in the quest to maximize profits. The consumer wants no reminder that meat begins as an animal, and certainly doesn’t want to see the methods used by industrial agriculture to raise and slaughter these animals. Because the consumers don’t want to see that, industrial farms are free to do whatever they like to the animals. If consumers did look, many would become vegetarian.

So today I performed a necessary step in the process of creating meals for my family. The rooster that we will someday eat was raised naturally and humanely. He was hatched naturally here on our farm, and brooded by his mother. He ranged freely and ate a natural diet. He was never put in a battery cage. He didn’t have his beak cut off. He was never given growth hormones or antibiotics to stimulate growth. He crowed whenever he wanted to. He chased the hens around. He lived a natural, healthy, happy life.

And the process is perpetual.

Love Wins

Scientists

From the Pew Research Center…

Percentage of scientists ages 65 and older who say they believe in God:  28%

Percentage of scientists ages 34 and younger who say they believe in God:  42%

Love Wins