Wednesday, July 1, 2015


"I will not censor myself to comfort your ignorance."
This quote really spoke to me this week. 

I'm sure there's a time in all homesteaders lives when they meet folks who don't see eye to eye with them. The great part about it? We don't have to. And that's ok. But I for one will continue to show my my lifestyle for what it is, a blessing. This may involve a graphic picture/post or two, so I say kindly, if yall don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all. I wish not to offend but inform and educate. 

Now let's get down to business shall we?

When animals go to slaughter or a dog is run over by a car it's natural for most parents to tell their young kids something like this:

Well honey good ole spot went to "the farm" to live out the rest of his life at peace.... 

That's all fine and dandy, until your kid gets older and realizes how his childhood friends death was covered up by his parents.... Hey! We only lie when we feel it's better for your well being, ok! That said, our oldest daughter is rounding up on three years old and how we handle her knowledge of the farm animals' circle of life is a delicate topic.

As a youth I wasn't exposed to death right away. But as I grew older my animals husbandry and meat production interested only grew. Until, one day in 6th grade I decided I wanted in on this 4H business. 

So my first Duroc gilt, Monet, came home with me and the rest is history from there. I was in love with pigs! When it came time for auction I felt relieved that she had over weighed at check in and I could sell her as a breeding sow. Well that's more than a decade ago and I'm sure she became bacon at some point. 

Back to my farm kiddo; she loves animals so much she has a hard time showing her love calmly or gently most times. She gets great joy from all she's learning about the homesteading around her. I couldn't be more grateful. 

In the spirit of gratitude, our two hogs went to "the farm," better yet, they LEFT OUR FARM. And for educational purposes I let my little girl be a part of that process as well. She's fed them with daddy, helped to water, and even given them little tests here and there. I felt it was only right to start including her as early as possible. 

Now before anyone gets all gung-ho animal activist on me let me say that I didn't let her watch the shooting or throat slitting parts... If you find a better name for those references tell me... She came out after one hog was already in the air and the other already dead. 

It was a proud moment for me when she walked over to me took and took my hand. She liked up at me smiled and asked:

Piggies all done mama?

Yes honey, piggies all done?


Yes honey, that's your bacon. 

What can I say? My kid loves bacon, and she didn't show one ounce of sadness or confusion. She knew.. and for a two and half year old that kind of understanding is fantastic. 

Before the death of the pigs I spent a moment with each, scratched their snouts and thanked them ever so kindly for their sacrifice. Once Ireland came out, I then had her show thanks. She did so by clapping and shouting:

Tanks! PIGGIES! 

These animals aren't just meat to us. They are one or two meals a day for the next year. They are the rendered fat we will use daily. They are the head cheese I will make for the dogs. They are the bone broth that will supply us viral nutrients. We are ever grateful to that sacrifice they made so that we may eat. We honor that sacrifice by continually giving thanks to our farm critters. 

This lifestyle isn't easy or glamorous by any means. It's dirty, stinky, painful, but so rewarding. Raising our own meat 100% nonGMO and organic was a challenge, it gives me a huge sense of pride. I want to scream from a mountain top:


Ok ok the farm stud did all the hard work while I was pregnant.. So I know he's proud of that meat. 

And our children deserve to take pride in our achievements. We do things as a family unit. Some feel my choice as a parent, to let her see the truth of how our meat comes full circle, is wrong. To that I say sorry not sorry... The way I see it, the hard part is over, and Ireland will never know the difference. I want her to feel the gratitude I do when I ponder how my food came from farm to table. She is being raised by hardworking farming parents who provide her a wholesome life. I will always be truthful and honest to my children especially in matters of the homestead. Except when it comes to the Tooth Fairy and Santa... 

We now have almost 300# of meat in our future that we're splitting with my parents. That's a lot of bacon, sausage, chops, ribs, steaks, hocks, loins, hams, and roasts to look forward to! Not to mention the head I will make into dog food and the day I will render for cooking!
It will last us almost a year, unless we pig out. 

Sorry. Couldn't pass up that chance..

We plan on acquiring another this fall in hopes to fatten over the winter and run the chance of actually being able to slaughter and butcher independently. Here's to hopin'!