Some of the bowls and buckets are deep, some are shallow plates and platters. Sugar bowls and cups in the trees. Every day when I water the pots and plants, I refill these little oasis with fresh water.
Everyone loves water! Yesterday was a hot day and the pigs have lost their swimming pool privileges because they were using the paddling pool as a toilet. The smell was horrific, not to mention the stink on the pigs who were wading in it. So no more pool. They have two outside pens that are open to them all day, one is always in the shade, that will have to suffice. And I hose them down a couple of times a day as I top up the water in the barrels.
Good morning. Yesterday was a beautiful hot sunny day.
Now I need to say something Important. Something that I have been avoiding writing about. Something that I hope will not scare you all away.
I was speaking to a young man a few days ago and he said What do you raise the sheep for? Well, I said gently, all the ewes I will breed from and the wethers (castrated rams) will end up in the freezer. I have a few little families that I feed. He looked at me askance. How can you do that? He said. Do you eat meat? I asked him. He said, Hell yes. Well, I said You do realise that meat comes from an animal that used to be alive. Oh, I guess, he said. But I try not to think about it.
Well…. I searched for the right words because this is an important discussion.
Well, I do think about it. I said. And it is hard but good in a way. I think it is honest and right to know where your meat comes from. Wouldn’t it be better if the meat you are eating has had a good life. Where he has been respected. Just because I am raising an animal for the table, does not mean that he cannot have a good life. To degrade a beast by raising him in a feed lot or crammed with others into the dark corner of a barn with harshness and cruelty, then transforming him into little cellophane wrapped sanitised packages in a supermarket, should not make it any easier to have steak on the table. We need to remember, and be thankful.
My animals roam the fields, they chase each other through the barn. They play, and eat and drink freshly grown food and lie in the shade of a tree in the afternoon. They have a good life. In the end I take them to a small abbatoir, run by compassionate professional men who take the animals to the next step swiftly without stress. There are no mean men with tractors shoving them to the next stage or days of waiting in a pen listening or any of that. It is all done as it should be. Quietly, immediately and with respect.
I told this young man that it is good to think about that. It is good to know. It is hard but honest.
I do not name the animals that are destined for the families tables. So if one of my animals has a name then you know that he or she has reached character status and you can emotionally invest in the animal. But this is a small self sufficient farm, run sustainably, gently and carefully. The farm must feed the farm and the families. My reason for the Kitchens Garden Farm is to grow food in a good honest old fashioned hands-on way.
My young friend understood my little lecture I think. And maybe next time he has his favourite lamb dish he will remember and be grateful to the animal that feeds him.
Is this too hard? I don’t mean to scare you away. I just want to be transparent and honest.
All animals deserve respect. And this is why I have water everywhere. All my animals have fresh clean drinking water all the time. Even the snakes and the field mice can have a lick of clean water as they sneak past. Or skunks or pheasants. Or squirrels, gophers or badgers. Cats and dogs. Chickens and Cows. Maybe even deer and coyotes drink from the barrels down the back, who knows. All we can do is our best to look after the animals who share our life.
Good morning. Time for me to start the day! It will be another lovely day on the farmy. I hope you all have a good day.