Once we started the adventure of raising animals for meat I found two questions came up with great frequency. Do you really think you could kill them? and, What about your daughter, don't you think it will be hard for her to eat the chickens she plays with?
I had no idea what the answers to those questions would be. When we made the decision, jointly with my parents, to raise the animals, I asked Dad if he'd be my back up if Husband and I really couldn't follow through with the processing. He had done this sort of thing as a young man, and was willing to do it again, so we moved forward, knowing the bases were covered.
In the end, I was able, and quite comfortable to process them, as was Husband. I was able to come to the place of knowing this was what needed to be done, and what people have done for generations, decades, forever, before the industrial age. It's far more natural than we like to philosophize about, after the business of raising meat has been moved to centralized locations, instead of our backyards.
When I took the animals off to process them with Jessica, I told Mini they were leaving and when they came back they would be meat for eating, and would no longer be alive. She stood looking at them for a minute and I asked her if she had any questions, and besides being concerned that one of them was Jane, who was a mother, so could not be killed, for what would her babies do…Jane was not among the bunch, at which point Mini said, "That is okay then. It's what they were here for, right?". "Yes, Mini, it is. We took care of them, and they will feed us". "That is okay then".
Now it was time to eat one of the guineas. I wondered what she would think. We told her that was what we were having for dinner. She looked at her plate and then said "I took care of this guinea, didn't I?" "Yes, Mini, you did". "I helped feed us" "Yes, you did". She ate well that night, and seemed proud of the work she had done.
We have been reading Little House on the Prairie with her, we have a great book called I Am My Grandpa's Enkelin
that talks about life on the farm, time, loss and life, and we have been honest with her since we brought the chicks home. She knew the day they arrived they were on the homestead to grow big and strong, and to feed us this winter. A few weeks before their processing date we reminded her, and when we switched them to their fattening food, she told my father "Grampa, the birds are on fat and finish so we can eat them".
I know other kids might not respond so matter of factly about this situation. I do think us being honest and unappologetic about the situation helped. We did not tell her the fate of the birds with sadness, nor did we give her reason to believe this was not normal or natural. I'm glad that she is okay with what we are doing, and I'm glad to know that she would say so, if she wasn't, as in the case of being concerned for Jane. Another chapter in the homesteading adventure has been finished. We are now enjoying the meat we have worked hard to raise for the past 6 months.
Dark Day's Dinner:
Guinea, from our homestead, was placed in a clay dutch oven, salt and pepper for seasonings, and a little water in the bottom of the pan. Oven on 400 degrees, until preheated, place bird in oven, and drop temp to 350. Cook for 25 minutes per pound of bird.
I cooked up some fingerling potatoes with some shallots (both from Meadow's Mirth), garlic (Osprey Cove), Rosemary (A friend's garden). I'm LOVING Rosemary potatoes. It's such a great herb, and one I will definitely be growing in the Spring.
Boiled a squash, which was given to be by a friend, from their garden. Added salt, pepper and butter, when I mashed it up.
The Salt was from Maine Salt Company, so the only thing in this meal not from the local snow covered NH/ME area, was the pepper!
…while they were there (in Bethlehem), the time came for
her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She
wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because
there was no lodging available for them.
The fact he was born is a stable is a very significant point.
The God of the Universe sent his only son to Earth to be born of a
human woman in a lowly place, the stable, home to common work animals,
and placed in their feed trough. This shows that God’s power is not
about might but rather about who He is. He chose not to show men his
stength, but rather their weakness. The humble bridge was formed
between God and a race of men who had turned their back on Him, and He
was not there to force them to see Him, but rather to give those, who
were willing to look, the answers they were seeking.