PART III: THE ANIMALS
The meat tasted amazing, and was eaten with more thoughtfulness and appreciation than I typically tend to give my food. I thought about the good life our pig enjoyed; the open, sunny (sometimes) space, the daily food scraps from our table supplemented with organic feed, and the fresh country air. I thought about what she contributed to us not just in terms of bacon, but how she composted our scraps and fertilized our field to prepare it for planting potatoes next spring. I am a little late to the party in finally reading Michael Pollen's excellent book "The Omnivore's Dilemma", but he describes it this way:
In fact, when animals live on farms the very idea of waste ceases to exist; what you have instead is a closed ecological loop-what in retrospect you might call a solution.
I adopted two lambs. Unlike the pigs, these two were treated like babies, bottle fed, cuddled and coddled and given names. Though right now they are about ready to eat, I just can't quite surrender them to the butcher, and neither can my boys. Johnny and Violet will remain pets, but they will earn their keep with annual wool contributions. And sheep, like all ruminants (animals whose amazing stomachs can convert plant matter to protein), are also really great at burying seeds into the ground with their hooves, fertilizing the ground with their, well, fertilizer, and generally keeping our field in great shape.
The fleece in the photo above were given to me by our friend and neighbor Kitty, who has about eighty of her own sheep. Though she sells her wool, she kindly set aside a few fleece for me when she heard that I was interested in learning how to spin it. (I still haven't taken my wheel out of the box, but its high up on my to do list.)
Tomorrow we're going to the Moreton Show, which is a huge agricultural fair. Stay tuned for a post on some new chickens. And perhaps a recipe for chicken soup.
PART IV: THE EARTH
Still with me?
Okay, the garden. I'll keep this bit brief.
We're still a long way from total self sufficiency here, but we're taking steps in that direction. Maybe we'll never get there completely, but that's okay. We're enjoying our efforts all the same.