Monday, December 6, 2010

it's not going to be a good day tomorrow

On this snowy night as dark settles in on our farm it is with a very heavy heart that I write tonight. I've had a horrible pit in my stomach since the flipped the calendar to December. (Hence the lack of posts.) Tomorrow I'm taking our girls; the pigs to be harvested. The tears are really flowing now. I knew it would hurt when we got them and I knew this would not be easy. One person said to me the other day, "It'll get easier." Well, I don't want it to get easier, I don't want the fact that I am responsible for their lives and deaths to be easier, to feel painless, like it means nothing. I've been entrusted to care for these creatures, their well being depended on me. It was suggested that we get two so they could keep each other company and so I wouldn't get so attached to them. I'm glad we did get two, one would be so lonely as they really are such smart and social creatures but as far as to prevent me not getting attached to them that was unlikely to begin with, I love animals. I know why I'm raising meat, despite the fact that I'm a vegetarian and I'm ok with the end result; it's like ripping off a band-aid after the wound has healed, but tonight the wound is fresh and very raw. I hope I gave them a good life, they seem happy and in the end when it's all said and done I hope while on this earth it was just one bad day they had.

Tomorrow will be a very long day and the kids and I will hurt. Ron is working from home tomorrow to be here so the kids don't have to go with me to drop them off and I'm so thankful for that. So tonight I ask those of you who are of The Faith, if you're so inclined, I'd really be grateful if you'd send up a prayer for us tonight. We are really going to miss our girls.

They've grown a bit...

...and enjoyed a "mar sarge" or two...

...and been 'loved on' a little...
.. and will sincerely be missed...


  1. I don't generally like to meet the animals who aren't permanent residents of the farm, but these 2 girls were just too cool not to get attached to. Being greeted with some snorts and squeals in the morning when leaving for work, or in the evening coming home from work was pretty cool. Being able to bring them a treat and watch them enjoy it with more grunts and squeals brought me joy as well.

    I think they have enjoyed their time with our family (and with some of our neighbors too). Who would have thought that 2 pigs would be the talk of this little town on election day! We've made our mark in this small town!

    Thank you Bethany and Freedom for the enjoyment you've brought to this family, and the nourishment to you will bring to some families.

    We will miss you both!

  2. I made a deal with my DH that I raise the animals and care for them, but he drives them to the abbatoir. I butcher the carcases when they come back but taking them to THAT place is too much for me.

    I remind myself that those animals wouldn't exist in the first place if we didn't raise for a purpose, meat or milk etc. In the case of male sheep or cattle, they'd be knocked down on day one if they weren't needed for breeding.

    It doesn't make it any easier, I know.

  3. Oh, I so feel for you. I totally "get" everything you say, and feel. I know that happy meat is good meat. I could be close to becoming totally vegetarian myself if I did not have the chance to buy animals for meat that I know have had happy, local lives. Because I do, I'm really pretty ok with still eating that kind of meat, or wild (like venison), though I'm pretty much done with store bought meat. But pigs - oh, they are so much fun, and so funny and enjoyable. I am glad you raised them, and glad that you don't question their ultimate purpose on your farm, but I'm also so glad they've had the chance to live happy little pig lives with you first. It's a tough dilemma sometimes, in today's world, what to eat, what not to. So much THINKING goes into what I put in my mouth, compared to five or ten years ago. Yours, too, and I'm happy to see this "trend." Hang in there. THoughts are with you.

  4. Thank you for the kind words.

    Jennifer, I couldn't ask my husband to bring them there, as he has stated many times, he's the banker, I'm the farmer and I feel certain if I'm going to raise the meat I need to bring them in. It's not an easy thing and I don't enjoy that aspect of farming at all, but it is part of the territory. And I agree with you that they wouldn't be here if they didn't have a purpose. I think about buying meat at the grocery store now after having done so much this year and I think did those animals get to be animals? Did they root in or peck at the dirt, feel the rain or sunshine. Were they treated kindly? I know that pork will continue to be produced and sold in a variety of ways but for those few we get the privilage of caring for we will care for them kindly and well. We all have a purpose on this earth from the itty bitty-iest creature to the largest and some things are just here for a short time.

    Dog Hair, I too am encouraged by the thinking that goes into the food that goes into our mouths, I love the trend and hope more people continue learning about how food was raised wether it was a beet, an apple or a pig. I like seeing the 'big ag' commercials on tv trying to make us think they are small family farms, that they care about the very things small farms are standing for and seeing them scramble to hold onto the last few consumers they have because more and more people are thinking and voting with their food dollars.

    As I stood in the office to discuss the cuts of pork I wanted tears running down my face I was sad but knew I'd done the right thing by them and for my family. As much as it hurt and as much as I cried on the way home, (I haven't cried that hard for 10 years) I knew I'd do it all over again.

    Earlier when I went out to do chores it was very quiet in the barn without the pigs and it seemed like the other animals sensed their absence. Good-Bye Bethany and Freedom, thank you for your lives and the happiness you brought to us.

  5. I guess its all about perspective. At least you know that the meat you are serving your family was treated humanely. On the other hand , we don't have to eat meat at all. ( I do eat meat). If no one ate meat then these critters may not have... a chance at life at all. Or, maybe they would have been born wild, We don't know. I also wonder if showing animals humanity (love, compassion) gives then the kind of Karma to be reborn in a better realm like as a human (I am a Buddhist). I feel that raising pets such as dogs and cats allows them to experience human emotions that they would never have known as wild animals. I guess the same cold be said for farm animals. I will surely be saying a prayer for your two friends tonight.

  6. I can understand your pain at taking Bethany and Freedom to be processed. It hurt me to take my turkeys off the roost in the chicken house in preparation for going to Albion. I hated carrying them into the kill room but it had to be done. Thanksgiving dinner was especially good because of them. Your pork dinners will be extra good because of Bethany and Freedom. You know they had a good life and you know what they ate. You know they will nourish your family in a healthy way.

  7. I've seen animals experience love, both farm and domestic. My daughters cat, my horse, our hens and their chicks, some of our goats, etc. Love happens and it's a beautiful thing.


So what's the view from your world about that? I'd enjoy hearing it.