In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Animals for Food

        A little word on meat consumption. We are meat eaters. Organic meat eaters. And we have four children, in case you haven't noticed. Organic meat can be pricey and somewhat hard to come by in our neck of the woods. Which is interesting considering that we are smack dab in the middle of ranch and farm country. Unfortunately, the ranchers and farmers seem to cater to the higher end farmers markets in places such as Aspen and Telluride. I might go more into that in another post. For now, we will go back to our original post. I am growing more and more suspicious of our nation's food sources. It seems that all I hear about in the news are recalls on one food item or another. Outbreaks of  e.coli or salmonella happen with growing frequency. And don't even get me started on the way our food animals are treated. I have tried being vegetarian on and off for the last decade, but the truth is, I do occasionally like to have meat. I am just picky about where that meat comes from. I don't like that our food animals are treated worse than most peoples' house plants. They need to be given the respect and care that they deserve as something alive and something we will be consuming to fuel our bodies. We literally are what we eat. If you really think about it, I promise you will be grossed out by their treatment as well. With this in mind, our family has made a few tough choices. For the past six years we have raised chickens for eggs. This year is our first year to get some chicks to raise for meat. And not those nasty ones that grow to maturation in three months and are so heavy they end up breaking their own legs. These are true heritage breed chickens and turkeys. I spent a lot of time doing research into which breeds are cold tolerant, broody (meaning that they will set their own nests) and dual purpose (meaning they are good layers and good for meat). We also wanted turkeys that could breed on their own. Commercially raised turkeys have such large breasts that the hens have to be artificially inseminated since the toms can't mount them.
          A quick word about egg laying chickens. There is one thing that really riles me up, okay not just one thing, there are actually quite a few things, but this one thing in particular really gets me. People who believe that collecting eggs from chickens is cruelty to animals. Now, if they are referring to factory farmed chickens, I completely understand. But have these people ever been around chickens? Chickens lay eggs. That's what they do. They don't need to be bred to lay eggs. It is not harmful to a chicken to lay their eggs. They just just do it everyday, without fail. In fact, I believe they are proud of their accomplishment, so much so that they sing about it. We have put words to their song. Come visit and we'll sing it for you. Okay, end of rant.
         I'm not sure that it is any less expensive for us to raise our own, but it is infinitely more rewarding. It is hard, both in the work it creates and the emotions that it brings to the surface. But I would rather it be hard and be in my face, than to shut my emotions down and close my eyes to the atrocities that are in our food world.



  1. Our egg laying chickens have the best life. Food, water and shelter provided. A backyard to roam. Two girls to lavish affection upon them. Treats from the kitchen. What more could a chicken want? (Well, they might prefer NOT to be bathed, but when girls feed you pancake batter, you need a bath.)

  2. Lot of good stuff happen here! Trust no it your self. We're still looking for a boat. The eggs look great. I suspect your chickens will have a better quality of life than most and your sense of gratitude for their meat is evident in their care. You are what you eat.

  3. Delicious eggs! I have always felt the same as you. I just find being vegetarian "the easy way" out and love seeing my friends take the other way and raise their own food. (Yes, I am behind on blogs - catching up!)