Saturday, April 22, 2017

Once a Farmer...

As I ready for bed this evening, I hear the sound of chirpy, purry little voices in the greenhouse, right outside my kitchen window.

I have 20 geese, toulouse and french toulouse, 9 pekin ducks and 24 cornish cross chicks brooding away. They each have their little zone, with feed, shavings, water and warmth. The past two days I have herded the week old geese out to the yard, put them in behind my grapevines that grow outside the bakery window. Grass and weeds were about 8 or 9 inches tall. After a day of munching, the grass was down about 75%!!! And the goslings were purring in contentment, doing what they like to do best.

I bought the goslings to aid me in vineyard management. They love to eat grass. The vineyard I tend has plenty of grass and we choose to avoid chemicals. I am delighted beyond words as I see the adorable creatures go to town on grass eating.

It is a harsh, or perhaps I should say, a wonderful reality that these geese will eventually, at least most of them, become a sustainably, humanely raised source of protein for a family. I give them lots of space in their greenhouse bedroom. I gently and lovingly direct them to their weed eating day school, preparing them for vineyard work. All the weeds and grass I pull from the garden go to them for afternoon snacks. I will work to make them a home at the vineyard that will hopefully protect them from hungry predators. Well. Yes, I guess I am a predator.

I gratefully eat meat. Thankful, as I know that when I go without meat for awhile, I get so hungry. I have tried vegetarian lifestyle for a time, and it is quite hard. I gain weight. I am hungry all the time. When I eat small amounts of meat on a regular basis, I feel less ravenous.

What to do?

I have chosen to raise at least a portion of our meat. Letting these creatures, even in a suburban setting, live a life that is humane, with peace, good food and room to roam. Iknow there is a cost to the meat on my plate.

I like knowing that the vineyard will feed geese and ducks that will feed us. I like knowing that our meat will involve very little extra fuel, compared to feedlot beef or factory chicken. I like knowing that the grapes will be free of residues from gas weedeaters and poisonous herbicides and pesticides.

It feels right to me, anyway.

And having the farm thing going, here in the middle of our small town, feels like a gift.

Who would've thunk it? I was so sad when we left the farm. I thought that all that learning was going to go to waste when we moved to town.

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