Saturday, February 04, 2006

They Grow Up So Fast

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This is a photo of my daughters Meghan and Amelia when they were quite young. Those sheep taught them responsability. Feeding bottle lambs is a big job. The sheep taught them about birth and joy. The spring lambs leaping,sproinging stiff legged. Playing king of the mountain on their mother, Susan. Susan was a finn cross ewe that had litters of lambs. She had quadruplets more than once. She was very patient and would allow all the babies to scale her sides.

The sheep also taught them about death. The black lamb that Meghan is holding died shortly after this photo was taken. Accepting the death of a lamb that dies is all part of farm life. Knowing that the bottle lamb you raised was destined for the dinner table was reflected in the name of one I recall. Savory. When you name a lamb Savory you accept his fate.

Some may say that it was cruel to let them get attatched to an animal that was going to be slaughtered. When you are raised on a farm with livestock, animals are not all pets. You may care for them and love them, but the purpose for them. The reason they are on our farm, under our care was to generate income, or food for our table. The cows, sheep and chickens all served that purpose.

My daughters have no illusion that meat comes from a grocery store in a plastic wrapped package. They know that it was a living breathing animal, sometimes one they loved.

Milk does not come in a plastic jug from the supermarket. It comes from a cow who has calved, the calf taken away and the cow milked twice a day to supply their milk.
Meghan even worked as a dairy maid while she was in high school. I milked cows for a while myself. Hard work with no time off, ever for a dairy person.

The eggs don't come in a styrofoam carton. They are layed by hens who forage our yard for insects. The eggs are brown.

So many people are completely removed from where their food comes from. If you ask a child where milk comes from, "from the store" is a logical answer.

When people hear about a drought or fire in the midwest they don't think it has anything to do with them. They will go to the store tomorrow and buy their food.

The farmer who raises that wheat to bake their bread may not have a crop this year.
The cost of cereal and bread may go up. Only then will they know, that drought really did matter.

The animals and crops we raised provided wool, meat, eggs, milk, and an education that is invaluable.

To have learned that there is a cycle of life.

No one section can be left out and remain whole.


At 7:09 AM, Blogger jackie said...

I too, was raised on a farm. It was a dairy farm and my sibblings and I learned many lessons. And every summer we had cousins shipped in from Montreal to help on the farm. I consider myself very fortunate.

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I grew up in a semi-rural area and we had chickens. We also bought pigs (for birthday celebrations) and my dad and his friends would get together for that. I know what I'm eating and I value the time and effort farmers put in, and the animals who give their lives. Growing up this way was a good experience.

- MJ

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Diana said...

So well said!


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