Standing at the kitchen sink, a place I find myself quite often (do the dishes ever end?), I can look out and see our back pasture. The chickens are usually roaming around as they have free range to go wherever they please and there are usually at least a couple of the four-legged creatures back there too. I can also see our garden, which despite the fact that I have paid it very little attention this summer, is overflowing with fruits and vegetables that are ready to be picked. And sometimes, on the really great days, I can also watch Audrey and Owen running around the backyard playing happily or picking something from the garden to shove through the fence and feed the animals.
Frankly, it's pretty darn idyllic. The animals happily wandering around, the garden full of produce, the orchard just beyond our property, and the mountain view in the distance all make for a beautiful picture. In fact it's pretty close to the picture I had in my head years ago when having a farm was no more than a daydream.
Unfortunately despite how "perfect" that view can be out the kitchen window there is also the reality of farming. Sure there is a lot of time and work that goes in to keeping the animals and gardens, but that is something that at this point in our very young farming adventure we still truly enjoy. But there is also the reality that we keep most of our animals for one purpose... meat. And sadly to have meat to eat an animal has to die. There is just no way around it.
It's the harsh reality behind all those perfectly packaged steaks at the grocery store and it's the reality here when an animal that we have named, fed, petted, cared for and loved on has to "go". Last week it was Elsie and Stripey's turn.
While we don't find any pleasure in the killing of the animal, we find comfort in knowing that the animals lived a pretty happy, carefree life. We like knowing that the meat we are eating comes from animals that have been cared for, fed organic feed, were able to roam as they please, and were killed as humanely as possible.
In fact we don't just "like knowing" all that, it is the point, it is why we do what we do. And I have to say I am ridiculously excited about the meat that will soon fill our freezer.