I have gone over wether or not to share this with you all and I have done my best to spare you but the truth is that we eat meat in our family. We raise it and give it the very best life possible but many of our animals are not pets and we want to own the responsibility of where our food comes from. From beginning to end. After lots of thought, it feels wrong to share our farming experience without including the final phase for some of it. If you choose not to read this blog then please come back another day to see what else we are up to :)
Saturday, during a very rainy day, friends came over to help us butcher our first pig. Normally we send large animals to the butcher but I feel that knowing how to do it for oneself is part and parcel of raising ones own food and becoming self sufficient.
Our friends Nate and Charlei are smart. They are way smarter than I was at their age and I am lucky to know them. Fun times are to be had when we are all together and my children think they are cool. Though they are in the middle of their own life changing project they took the time to come and share their knowledge of butchering with us. Of course, fate would have it that the day we picked turned out to be quite a rainy day but even the rain could not hamper our resolve to get this job done.
There are some of our children who preferred not to participate and they kept busy with other activities but for the most part we all took part in butchering day. As the rain fell, we worked under the cover of the barn roof with fans blowing and tunes playing, sharing some wonderful homebrewed Chocolate Porter, didn't I tell you my friends were cool?
We laughed and talked and many lessons were learned by my children which I am so grateful for. Every hand available had a job and the little ones where so interested in the process much to my amazement since I thought they would not want to stick around.
It is no secret that some of our animals are raised as food. Our children understand this fact since very little and it is just part of our life. I definitely do not want my children to be disconnected from the reality of food and so far they have embraced our role as stewards of this farm and its inhabitants with pride and joy.
Of course it feels bad to take an animals life and it should. We are grateful to our animals for feeding our bodies. Charlei told us of a saying that native Americans would say. It went something like: Thank you for feeding our kind, when we die we will grow the grass to feed your kind.
Our friends also brought us a sweet surprise from their urban farm, Gnarly Farms (cool blog too) and it is as delicious as it is beautiful! Have you ever seen raw honey that was this color? It is almost red and has a slight tang to it...absolutely wonderful.
It was a long day, starting in the afternoon, ending around 1 AM when we put the last packages of home raised pork in the freezer and said goodbye to our friends. I was pretty exhausted on Sunday and everyone pretty much kept busy with quiet projects and lots of naps! Tomorrow I will be rendering down the fat into lard. Not going to lie...that is probably my favorite part of raising a pig. Lard is something of magic to me and I will share the process with you.