Meet Paul and Arthur, the latest arrivals at the farm! They are currently quite busy with the work of eating, sleeping, growing, rooting up stumps and brush where future pasture is being cleared, being chased by Harper, making us all laugh often, and ignoring every bit of fencing we put in their way. Just exactly what I've come to expect by now from pigs, these our third round of them.
Last week also brought the early morning wake up call from the post office signaling the arrival of our new chicks! Sixty broilers now reside in the barn brooder where they'll stay till they get just a bit bigger. Then, we'll move them on out to pasture in a portable pen (Salatin-style) so they can properly graze and and range and fertilize. Last year, we raised Cornish Cross, which went well, really. But this year we're trying a heritage breed, Freedom Rangers. We have read and heard debated so very much about chicken breeds, I'm quite curious to see what we think after trying them both. I shall let you know in the fall.
In our family, there is no dancing around the reality of the fate of these farm animals. And despite my wish to create this virtual space that offends no one in their deeply personal and spiritual decisions (such as the decision to eat meat or not), I also don't want to dance around the reality of the fate of these animals here with you. All of these animals today - the pigs and the chickens alike - will ultimately end up as our food. They'll be in the freezer first, and then on our table, and on the tables of our friends and family, for the year to come. There is much to feel and say about all of that, of course, but quite simply, I'm thinking today about how our experience, thus far, has been a truly positive one. Humbling, yes. Heavy sometimes, most definitely. But that is as it should be, I do believe, in our little world where the full picture of life is in front of our eyes, in our barnyard, and on our table. Not a day - or a meal - goes by in which I don't pause in appreciation of this life we've chosen to live - one that allows the same hands that help birth a lamb if need be, water and feed those hogs twice a day, or do our best to heal a sick chicken, to be the very hands that ultimately take the life and then feed my family with it. There is much to be grateful for.
But right now, in spring, what we're beginning to truly know as the season of new arrivals, we are all finding much joy and love in the chirps, baas, and snorts coming from all corners of the farm.