Thursday, December 9, 2010

Home Grown Meat

I have a confession to make, I have never actually killed a chicken or  a rabbit or any animal for food.  I seriously don't know how I ever will, but know I probably will at some point... learn...maybe.  Even our brave and fearless captain Jarin also has no desire to do the deed (even growing up the son of a butcher).  So my son  who is 15 decided it was up to him if it was ever to get done, and so he does it.  He brings it to me skinned, and I cook it.   He tans the hides, and makes beautiful rabbit furs.  I have never asked him to do this, he has studied my Back to Basics book, read how, and just does it.  I had a serious talk with him about giving honor to the animal, being conscious in your heart, and thanking them for giving us life and sustenance.  I believe there should be a certain reverence for these animals that we have loved and nurtured.  It should always be done quickly, humanely, and never where another live animal can see it.

We have only just started doing our own home grown meat in the last few months.  Of the rabbits he has done 4 of them, bucks just at maturity, and a couple of   1 1/2 year old does.  He did them 2 at a time on different occasions, and never told me he was going to do it until after the fact.  He knew I would have a really hard time with it, as these were raised from birth at our farm.  The feed store that bought several litters over the summer, did not want  to take anymore because of the time of year and going into winter.  When you only have 4 rabbit cages, this naturally keeps your numbers in check.

In the early Fall he processed our first young rooster from our first batch of chicks that one of our sitting hens hatched out in the spring.  My mom couldn't believe we would eat our animals, she had seen them as young chicks, and knew how much they all meant to me.  I couldn't believe I was eating our animals either, but that's what you do when you truly want to be self sufficient if you want to eat  meat, something has to die, this is hard thing to do.

I think the first few animals you ever kill are the hardest, even though I didn't actually do it.  I cooked and ate them... I had never tasted rabbit before in my whole life, and boy let me tell you was it ever good!  I was sold, and now understood why the French and much of Europe adore cooked rabbit.  Jason got to choose how he wanted it cooked since he did the deed.  I  baked 2 at a time, and made rabbit pot pie, in my extra large double pie plate.  Vegetables, rabbit and a top crust taste unimaginably good!  So he wanted it done the same way the next time, we all did, everyone except our 13 year old daughter Tessa, she never could bring herself to eat any of it, and claimed she'd be a vegetarian for the night.  Fortunately she did get over it in time for the rooster, and baked chicken, and soup, this was something she was used to eating.  I am trying to teach my children where their food comes from, this is important to me.


Joseph and Emma said...

Hi Jewel,

Thank you so much for talking honestly about the realities of raising living, breathing creatures for food on a farm. My wife and I are getting ready to move into the country, and I know that this is one aspect that both of us will have a hard time with.

When people think of country living, self sufficiency, and raising your own food, the actual death involved never really comes to mind. But honestly, whether you raise it or not, and animal died to provide you food. I would prefer to raise that animal in a humane and organic way, then kill it humanely myself, then have it live in a cramped cage all its life before coming to my table.

Now if you really want to get knotted up inside, consider what it might mean to have to kill a sick or injured pet, like a dog. I don't know how I'll have the fortitude to do what needs to be done if that ever happens.

Thanks again for sharing, you aren't alone in your feelings about this!

City Roots, Country Life

jewel said...

Thanks Joseph and Emma for your thoughts on my post. It's nice to know we have similar ideas on raising our own food. I will write more on this topic because this is a true reality of farm life.

I met an old lady at the feed store on the day I was buying my first chicks a year and a half ago (I bought 20), she was from the old country of Europe, she came over to our country and raised 5 sons right here in the Monroe area. She told me that she raised 100 chickens a year, some to eat, some to sell and some for eggs.

She told me she was asked how she could kill a chicken? she leaned over and whispered to me, I never had any problem, they were for food for my family you see, I didn't have a hard time at all. I left realizing tha I'd never had to think about food quite like that.

I wasn't raised on a farm. Now I want my kids to know where their food comes from, we do live on a farm, I will have to learn.