Stage Right

Yes. It is that time of year again. The time for the Plonkers to exit stage right.

daily view

So John has backed the Black Mariah up to the barn door and I have begun to get the pigs familiar with running down the pretend corridor and jumping up into the trailer – by putting their food in there.  Then they get to know the trailer and load into the trailer without anxiety.  So far I have never had an animal panic. And I don’t intend to have that happen either.

It is important at this point to note that these pigs were bred for the family freezers. If I did not grow my own meat I would not eat meat here. When I am not milking my cow I do not drink milk, I eat very little butter and no ice cream at all. Off the farm I don’t eat meat that I cannot trace.  And now that GE salmon has been approved in America,  fish is falling off the menu too, so when I am not in my own house, I am (quite happily) a vegetarian.  I tell you this only so you will see why I have chosen to grow my own meat.  As well as the factory conditions these animals live in, it is the feed that these animals are fed that I find shocking.


Every year I send animals off to the abbatoir and every year I get attacked by certain groups of people for growing animals for meat. But I have an open farm, you can visit anytime and see the conditions my animals live in. You can work here or I will show you around. I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I grow meat and milk the way it should be grown. Gently with dignity.

If we were all asked to look our dinner in the eye, (which I do and many of The Fellowship do) we simply would not eat as much meat.  We would treat our dinner with respect. (I know that sounds weird but that it is how it should be). But we would eat LESS. And THAT would solve a lot of problems. In many ways.  There would be no need for feed-lots or enormous hog sheds. And our backyard vegetable farms would be big vibrant spaces again. Modern man eats too much meat.

Of course this is just my opinion.

Love celi



85 Comments on “Stage Right

  1. I completely agree with you and with pigs one can eat the entire animal, nose to tail, as Fergus Henderson would say 😉

    • You and Jake would get along like a house on fire – he has requested his pork uncut. He is going to do it all himself and with pop up dinners use the entire carcass.. It is great isn’t it!

      • Excellent! Make sure you keep the trotters, even if you only use them for stock. They contain a huge amount of gelatine. I’ve got trotter confit in the fridge (don’t tell Sheila) – it’s absolutely delicious 🙂

  2. I must say I battle terribly seeing animals being transported but that is just me and I eat meat. I have a double standard I guess. If I am happy to eat meat, I should be happy with all aspects. Oh well, I am just a real ninny. If you weren’t so far C, I would be over in a heart beat to help out for a while.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

    • You are not a ninny darling girl! Everyone develops a world that they can live in and it is our job to support, or have a quiet word and be done with it. I long for local butchers again – do you have a local butcher out there in South Africa? My daughter has a local butcher in Melbourne – they are on a first name basis – and he does his own buying and can tell you where your meat comes from – (I miss having a real butcher) you don’t necessarily have to grow it, just doing the best you can in your environment you have landed in must be enough. c

      • Yes, we have local farmers surrounding us which is great and we even get emails with what’s available and some even do door to door deliveries. Wonderful living in a small town. xo

  3. Yes, we hear it every year as well. How can you eat those cute lambs and goats? And I say, how can you eat that grocery store meat from feed lots! (Of course, we eat grocery meat a certain amount of the time, but we try to stick to our own and that which we get from fellow small farmers). I was a vegetarian for a long time, but this suits better.

    • The balance is good isn’t it. And knowledge. Being able to gather knowledge, being our own devils advocate sometimes, is very powerful in taking control of our lives. c

  4. I agree with you. We all should have to look our food in the eye. Your animals have a good life and know nothing but love. I don’t raise my own meat but eat very little meat and wish I ate more vegetarian. Let the haters hate.

    • I feel sorry for the haters. I say, I forgive you. (Which seems to make them wilder). But I also need to be careful that I don’t force my manifesto down other peoples throats too. We can all live together. But one must be able to explain ones position – at least once. Then let things rest. c

  5. Amen and d’accord to all of that. No GM stuff allowed here, but we still eat very little meat (a lot of fish).

    Jock is embroidering a swatch of peacock feathers from a photo pinched from here. Starting to look good.
    Lots of love,
    ViV xox

    • It is very hard to be GM free out here. But I think I am winning. Fish is a difficult one for me – I grew up by the sea and watched out fishing fleets dwindle as they fished the Bay to empty over the 17 years I lived there. We literally saw smaller and smaller catches with the boats having to go further and further out. International poaching is awful. The waste is just terrible. And they are dredging the seabeds as they trawl the nets. So we need to be very educated about the fish we are eating too. Jocks embroidery of The Duke is one of my favourite pictures and my daughter has nicked the one he did of me! She has it hung in her room in Melbourne. You are a talented pair. c

  6. That little tree there still got his nice brown leaves on. – I fully agree with your thoughts on meat, I hate what the animals are fed and how they are threatened, not to mention all that medication that goes into them. That you’re being attacked I find just awful and daft. These people are kind of fanatic ones. So sad. But – we have to deal with them, whether we want or not.
    Love, Irmi

  7. Good morning Celi, I wish I could raise my own meat. I once heard another say, “My animals lived a lovely life and suffered for one brief moment. Can you say the same thing for the animals you eat?” He was so right!

  8. I agree 100%. I was a vegetarian for years, but the family likes meat. We raise our own poultry, kill them humanely. Our beef and pork come from a friend’s farm and I know they are well raised on unsprayed pasture and treated well.

  9. I have looked my dinner in the eye, and said “Thank you” before it became dinner. I was fortunate that I didn’t need to transport my beasts. They trotted up happily and the moment was fleeting. There is a great deal of finger-wagging in the world, lots of people telling lots of other people what they should or should not do. Let us all do as our conscience dictates, and if we eat meat, let it be meat that has had the best kind of life.

  10. I’ve never had to look my dinner in the eye or “process it” myself, and you’re right, it would probably change a lot of things. I am prone to getting attached to animals so if I owned a farm it would probably become a zoo and a vegan farm before long. LOL But I am thankful that my local grocer sells organic grass fed meat! 🙂

      • I can’t imagine anyone thinking that you are a hard hearted person! It’s obvious and quite clear the love and care you put into the farmy and all of the animals whether they are pets or not. And yes, I would become ill without protein, so I guess I would eventually just get used to looking my dinner in the eye! LOL

  11. I was raised on a self sustained ranch & when we stopped raising our food, I became vegetarian, as it was hard to find happy, healthy food without traveling far. That was the 70’s & 80’s, now I eat wild food if I want fish or a burger. I can’t stomach the store meats & dairy-I am so with you, this is why I love your farmy. Happy food is the best food. Have a wonderful day Celi.

  12. I guess this lovely internet world we live in makes people feel safe and free to say anonymously whatever they like in criticism of whomever they like with whatever harsh language they like. I’m sorry you have been the recipient of that. You are always, ALWAYS open about what you are doing and why. Why on earth does anyone need to be unkind to you for that?

    • The internet does cater for stalkers and anonymous bashers.. I find myself avoiding Facebook lately just because of all the hateful attacks on other peoples. Cruel words said to a keyboard are easier to write but devastating to read. c

  13. Completely on target. I was on a rant about how people condemn each other for doing things they do not endorse and decided to let it go. I so agree with everything you said and do. Wish I could find good meat here but it’s not possible with my meager funds so I make a little go a long way. Always have. Don’t let them get to you. People that attack need to look inside and see what’s wrong there.

  14. I was raised on a self sustained ranch and when we no longer raised our food, I found it difficult to find happy, healthy food without traveling far. This was the 70’s & 80’s, so I became a vegetarian. I now eat wild food if I want a burger or fish. This is why I love your farmy- happy, healthy food. Have a great day Celi.

  15. “Gently with dignity”. I like that. The same goes for hunting. It’s for the meat, not for a human’s power over a wild creature. You’ve given your animals a pleasant life and done an enormous amount of educating your farmy people. Thank you.

    • I agree that education is the key.. and in a way that allows us to truly consider and think about how another person does it. We don’t have to agree, but it is good to know. c

  16. I once had a ‘discussion’ about hunting… as the very same person who was against hunting was eating a steak….. Animals raised on a small farm have a wonderful life and are well cared for. Animals raised in huge enclosures suffer stress and disease – and are not allowed to move around freely. There’s a huge difference! If someone wants to be a vegan – that’s their business. If someone wants to be a vegetarian – that’s their business. If someone eats meat… that’s also their business – no matter how the animal has been raised. We are each responsible for our own actions. You have no need to defend yourself against those who don’t agree with your actions. You are, in fact, a shining example to all of us Cecilia!! ; o )

  17. I have not spoken much on my blog about the fact that venison and wild hog are the mainstays for meat at our house. Early in my blog, I got a lot of questions about how could we be hunters after we raised Daisy deer? My neighbor blurted out how we would probably EAT her. I just don’t speak of it often. FD and I always thank the animal for giving its life for our nourishment… and I always say a word of thanks to the animal while I am preparing meals. We can no longer get clean chicken in our area so we will be raising broilers next year. You are correct also in the quantity of meat eaten. We are a meat-eating nation, which contributes so much to large feedlots, tremendous grain production which leads to water shortages everywhere. I suspect the Midwest will be a desert in decades to come… the water will be scant, and the land depleted of nutrients. How will corporations run their massive livestock operations then? What on earth will they call “meat” ?

    • It certainly is not sustainable – it will be interesting to see what happens where there is no fish and no water for livestock.. we are out growing ourselves i fear. c

  18. I completely agree. I only eat meat that we have raised here. I need to know how an animal has lived and died if I am going to eat it – but this is just my view. The animals we can’t kill here we take to a tiny abattoir behind a butchers shop that only kills on Mondays and does meat for the shop and a few smallholders’ animals. I always wait right outside the door for our animals to be done as I need to know it has gone OK. I also know that we are really really lucky to have this as an option. And we don’t waste a bit of them. I collect the blood for black pudding, the dog eats the skin and bones, we eat the trotters and offal and we eat some of the meat, but sell a lot of it to people on the campsite so they can enjoy it as well. I agree we should all eat a lot less meat – we really only eat it a couple of times a week and for us that is more than enough.

    • We are SO lucky to have these small abbatoirs, there is nothing like this in New Zealand – well not that i have ever heard of anyway – but these little slaughter houses that only handle a few animals a day are a bonus for us and our animals. c

  19. I’m surprised that you get a talking to when you slaughter. I don’t understand the motive. I’ve had a couple of discussions in the past with vegans wearing leather belts ( my new favorite band name ) about meat. I usually avoid the topic unless I’m confronted.

    • Though also many vegans do not use or eat anything from an animal – (including woolen socks) I have a number of friends who are vegan and they are very strict even with their wines! I love them and they love me so we balance each other which is nice.. But yes, i don’t want to get into arguments about it with anyone.. c

  20. I don’t know how anybody could say a word against how you look after your animals and that they are for food. I eat meat and I try to buy organically farm assured meat, and I always buy organic milk and cheese and it is expensive, but I don’t buy crisps and biscuits ect so I save money by doing that. Those big trucks that you see on the motorways haunt me, when I see the animals all squashed up in them. I saw a big container lorry the other day, with hundreds of white chickens in it and their feathers where being sucked through the gaps in the side by the speed of the truck, horrid, poor things. Least your plonkers do not get stressed like the majority of animals grown for food do when they are dispatched, same with your chickens least they don’t have to have a terrifying ride.

    • It is a good equation, spending a little more in meat and a lot less on biscuits and sweets, and junk food. Even buying a coffee at starbucks on the way to work adds up to quite a bit.. c

  21. Such a thoughtful post- we live in the upper regions of Northern California and yes we have local butchers and yes we buy our meat from local growers like you who give a damn about how their animals are treated and fed. They love their animals and treat them with respect. Bless you for what you do.

    • I would LOVE to have a nice local butcher – who knows his meat – we have a lot of meat cutters out here but ah well, there you are, hopefully the small businesses will come back to the midwest.. c

  22. Bless you for raising your pork and the rest of your animals, it allows you eat clean and I totally understand and support the whole process, as you know, we are on the same path, and like you. I find myself shocked at the feed as much as how they are raised..

  23. We don’t eat much meat in my house. It’s expensive and not completely necessary. Anonymity leads people to thinking they can say whatever they want, and often they don’t know what they are talking about. Zoos regularly get letters from PETA. We received one such letter several years ago from someone who had never actually visited our zoo, complaining about features of an exhibit they had never seen. Their letter contained the words “I have heard…” several times. Their informant had flat-out lied to them, so they ended up looking like a horse’s behind. Folks like that are never going to change their opinion, no matter what. Sometimes that’s a comforting thought because it means it’s not about you at all.

    • When I was child i hated zoos until it was explained to me that zoos have programs to breed animals and study them and in fact SAVE some endangered species.. I think the back yard of a zoos must be so much more interesting that the public side. The age of the Victorian concrete zoo is past thank goodness.. c

  24. I haven’t eaten meat or diary for over 30 years because of the ‘industry’. I could buy meat now, here where I live, organic, raised with love, from a local farmer, but I couldn’t stomach it I don’t think…it doesn’t appeal anyway, and I do very well eating just vegetables. I eat eggs now because I know the hens and what they eat, but don’t eat eggs outside my home. And had to laugh at Jean’s comment about vegans wearing leather, I know, I hear them rant about the sacredness of animals and they’re wearing leather shoes and belt, and usually a famous brand bush hat made from animal skin. I admire and respect the meat eaters like yourself and others who’ve commented who raise their beasts gently with love, or take wild food to sustain themselves with respect for the animal. There’ll always be haters and critics, often people who haven’t examined their own lives and philosophies, or choose not to, it’s easier to project their displeasure outwards to others. I think there are more like ‘us’ than the others.

  25. I’ve been a vegetarian for quite a while now, but I have a HUGE amount of respect for people who raise their own animals and go to the ‘trouble’ to make sure they know where their meat is coming from. I like what you say about respecting your dinner. Now that I have my own chickens for eggs and bake my own bread, etc, I respect those things so much more than when I buy them from the store. Each egg is eagerly anticipated (though that’s easier to do in December, I think!), and I try to never waste a slice of bread. It’s good to have that connection.

    • Anna I am so humbled by the number of vegetarians who visit my farm pages. For you to comment on todays post with such support and compassion brings me to tears. Thank you so much.. c

  26. Absolutely no criticism from me, just total respect. In Spain I did not actually have to slaughter the goats, lambs or chickens we ate but I butchered them knowing that had lived good lives and been fed naturally. In England it’s all about less meat but of traceable origin and organic. And as Anna says above, we learn respect for what we eat and don’t waste our precious food – meat, bread, eggs…whatever it is.

  27. Integrity touches every aspect of your life. It’s a chain, i.e., mineral goes into animal, animal sacrifices itself for the human to eat, a circle chain for sustenance. The industries out there have gulags for animals; and your farm is a beacon of hope.

  28. Living in the Northwest, we were appalled to learn about the gmo salmon (frankinfish). Horrid!!
    There is however an excellent guide that is put out by the MontereyBay Aquarium called the Seafood Watch. You can download the guide or they will send you the lists in the mail-free. They list every seafood that is the best choice to buy and the ones to avoid that are being overfished or not sustainable. The lists are by region..there is even one for the Midwest. It’s good to have them all when traveling.
    I too am terribly worried about our precious marine life. Oh and just ignore those bubble headed, uninformed, haters C. You are an amazing inspiration and so much more to so many of us!

  29. Being a city dweller and not a vegetarian, I am well familiar with the meat produced for mass consumption. It is simply not the same as it was when I was a kid… the pork, beef and chicken have almost no flavour any longer, certainly not what it once was. I do envy your situation and wish I was in the position to do the same. I doubt I will ever become a vegetarian, and I don’t know whether it is age creeping up on me or other reasons, but I do eat less and less meat than I once did. There are always those who look down on others, regardless of situations… just follow your heart. Sounds to me like you’re doing a great job! ~ Mame 🙂

      • Interesting — I never had thought of this or even noted it. But according to this web site, and who knows if it’s accurate, men require about 56 grams of protein a day and women just 46 unless preggers… ( ). Perhaps that has to do with muscle density. Now it did say ‘adult’ males and females but didn’t elaborate on age. Whether that generally increases or decreases due to age, I wouldn’t know.

      • When I had gastric bypass surgery years ago, I was told by the docs that the human body can’t digest more than ten grams of protein at a time. Wonder where the excess goes? Lots of love, Gayle

  30. I use a Local Butcher who sources his meat Localy. His meat is off a very good quality. His mince especially is good not bulked out with fat and other unmentionables. Draycottnear STOKE ON t

  31. Some errors in the posting. Have just recenly returned from three weeks touring NZ. Main food eaten at Lunch time hot PIES from the local Bakers.

  32. You often make me go to Mr Google to compare Australian and American conditions . . . workday or not, today no different! I have largely been living on kangaroo meat lately: no feedlots, lean meat which grows on the land like yours . . . yes, well – not all OK in that ‘paradise’ either. And we are getting more and more feedlots for cattle . . .tho’ they photograph ones which look way better than yours! GM salmon . . . being a doctor and nutritionist I firmly believe in salmon, sardines, mackerel etc at least 2-3 a week to avoid so many illnesses . . . but I know that even in the pristine waters off Tasmania all is not ‘kosher’ . . . . healthy pork for Yule for all of you will be wonderful . . .

  33. I am fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, where the only salmon, steelhead and crab I eat are either ones me and my husband caught ourselves or our friends did. We also have a small local slaughter house, and buy our beef from a pasture-raised grass-fed cow from a local guy who only raises two cows at a time. My only conundrum now are the chickens and pigs. I haven’t found a source for the meat and.or eggs as of yet, but try to buy organic and humanely raised when I can. Other than that, one can only do what they can with the resources they have, and I’m afraid my family would never go the vegetarian route. But I have made much progress over the years in this area! Hugs to you Celi.

  34. We are very fortunate to have 3 small butcher shops within 50 miles -2 within 8. I also have a local farmr who raises pastured beef pork and chicken and I’m always invited to meet the meat. (Ummm, I think not-ha). I have my own chickens for eggs.
    Right now my John has been in hospital 7 hrs from home for 1-1/2 weeks for a heart attack while hunting (not the vacation break I was thinking of-a hotel by myself, ha) and I’m amazed at the hospital food. There seems to be no concept of fresh and natural food at all. There seems to be an obsession with low fat, and margerine and no idea of the benefits of the good fats from naturally raised animals. They still have vending machines with soft drinks but they’re all diet. Apparently chemical sweeteners are ok. It truly boggles the mind!

  35. You know my thoughts on those people, Celi. They’re not worth our time nor keystrokes.
    My neighborhood suffered a big loss when our butcher closed shop about 2 months ago. He and his partner should have retired years ago but there was no one to apprentice and eventually take their place. It’s an unfortunate sign of the times here and, I imagine, elsewhere. The neighborhood butchers are disappearing, one by one. Time to find another and give him/her/them as much business as possible.

  36. You are right Celi .. Modern man eats way too much meat. I know how much you care for your animals .. They are the lucky ones. Sadly those hog sheds are about money .. Horrid places. Hence I only eat free range pork and chicken .

  37. I hate that you must justify yourself and your practices to anyone. I read your blog, in part, to soothe the scars of growing up on a feedlot farm, to know you as an farmer who treats all her animals with compassion. Butchering should be hard. It should be a prayer of thanks to the plonkers whose antics we’ve enjoyed. We get to see what clean, stimulating lives you give them, free from fear and suffering, and you tell us from the beginning that they are not pets, but livestock. Thank you, Celi.

  38. It is easy to forget in this world where we can be very detached from where our food comes from that the animals and plants that we eat depend on us as much as we do on them. There is a truly reciprocal relationship at work here, and in this way when you do look your meals in the eye (and weed around them) I believe that you have actually earned your dinner.

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