Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Glimmers of Progress and the Truly Sad and Dark Side of Farming

Glimmers of Progress

I think over there in the side bar somewhere, i've mentioned our desire to be less dependent on the grocery store for our daily sustenance.  Other people call that "self-sufficiency."  That's the fun word that has been passed around a lot lately.  But i am keenly aware that i am fully dependent on God, so i don't like to make goals or labels for myself that exclude Him.  I call it "vendor independence."

One of the elements of vendor independence, we feel, is to become good fishermen.  We live a very short drive from a very large lake, and after you pay quite a bit of money for a license to fish, the fish are something like free food.

At Christmas, we were given very nice matching rods and reels that have gotten very little use until now.  But this evening, we went fishing, brought home two decent sized catfish, and ate them for dinner.

This was very satisfying.

It wasn't a whole lot of fish, but it was very satisfying to truly fish for our supper.

We plan to fish again on Thursday.

And i'm sorry.  No, i don't have pictures.

The Truly Sad and Dark Side of Farming

If you've been reading my blog, you know that slaughtering chickens is a part of our routine around here.  Part of the vendor independence thing.  We raise them and from time to time, we eat them.  That part is somewhat unpleasant, but not dark and sad - if you are butchering what you raised specifically to be butchered.

Yesterday, morning, i discovered one of my laying hens behind the coop, injured in a manner i'm not sure i can explain.  I had hopes that she would recover, but in spite of my attempts to nurse her back to health, she does not seem to be improving.

Thus i have come to the conclusion that i will have to end her suffering.  That's the sad side.

Here's the dark side.

We raise animals for food.  Therefore, we will butcher her and have her for dinner.

But it's the harsh practicality of the whole thing.  Because i grieve her death, i want to simply bury her.  But because her purpose is to feed us, and there is nothing wrong with her body (like disease or something), it is the farmer's responsibility to not waste her.

I understand it.  It was even my decision.  But i will cry tomorrow morning when i put her down and prepare her for the table.  Her life wasn't supposed to end this way, not this soon at least.  The whole thing makes me sad.


  1. You're a good farmer. Brave and strong! Tears are OK.

  2. There used to be a programme on British telly where they took committed takeaway freaks and sent them to India/Thailand/China... wherever the food they most liked came from... Anyway the one I remember best was when two hamburger freaks were sent over to a farm in Texas ~ these meat eaters, totally turned to jelly when the time for slaughter came. I mean where do they think burger-meat comes from? A beef tree??!

  3. I know this is hard and I love you Beth


What do you think about that?