My excitement continues to build!!!!
I know that just any day now, we will have a little calf running around the farm. And, honestly, my brain is not even able to wrap itself around that notion. I don’t think it is reality to me yet.
I have been so frantic about getting all the supplies ready and getting my mind in order for Winnie’s delivery, that I haven’t even really had the time or ability to stop and ponder the joys that await us. A little bitty, reddish brown, slobbering, buck-toothed calf is going to be HERE. On our farm! I am so excited to meet that little stinker!
And along with all the joy, there is a sense of duty. What will I ultimately do with this precious little calf as it gets older. What route will we choose to go??
This is a reality that I have known from the outset. I went into Jersey ownership knowing that we will have to make a choice when the calf is weaned. I went in knowing that every year I will have a new choice to make.
Choices I had never, ever thought of before we began our homesteading journey just a few years ago.
As a society, we are so far removed from the facts of farming. We go to the store and pick up the gallon jugs of milk, the styrofoam and plastic wrapped pounds of beef, the cut up and de-boned chicken pieces, the twenty-nine cent per dozen eggs—we get it all in our buggy, pay a VERY small price for most of it, and go on our way without the thought of all that really is involved in our food systems.
And, before you think I am getting preachy about this whole subject, please know that I am not saying it is wrong. I do those things I just mentioned! Or I have done them in the very recent past. So, I am NOT saying that we are wrong if we buy milk from the store—in fact I very much recommend it!
What I am saying is this—it is really important for each and every consumer to be educated about what it takes to make the food system we are a part of work. It is important for many reasons.
First, farmers are people. Good people who love animals. They spend their lives cultivating a healthy environment for the animals they raise to send to market. They wake up in the middle of the night to check on the sick ones. They put their whole beings into the animals that they raise to feed their fellow citizens. We owe them respect and appreciation. We owe them consideration. We owe them a living wage. We, as consumers, also owe them a working knowledge of what it takes to bring an animal or animal product to market—all the decisions they have to make along and along—to make sure that our food supply is healthy and vibrant. Because a LOT of those decisions are HARD.
So hard that most of us choose to support the farmer and not be the farmer. But we shouldn’t forget that someone has to make those decisions. I am thankful for the gritty, kind hearted, fearless farmers who feed America.
Secondly, I believe we should think a little more about what we pay for what we eat. I think this goes along with number one, so I may be cheating here. But, consider what it takes to get the food we consume to market. I don’t have a clue about all the work and cost that goes into most of the food supply. The little bit of working, first hand knowledge I do have makes me cringe at eggs that cost a quarter a dozen, or milk that costs less than $2 a gallon. Again, I am not saying it’s wrong to buy cheap eggs. I encourage folks to drink milk! So, buy it up! But, we can think of our money as our vote for certain things. And when I consider the folks at the beginning of the cycle (the small family farmers), I want them to know I appreciate their work. I want them to have a living wage. I really want them to be able to afford next year’s supplies without having to put their house up for collateral—and loosing it if it doesn’t rain enough. There’s the local honey we could buy from craigslist or facebook marketplace. The family farms that sell beef or pork or chicken are easy enough to find (peekfarms.com is a good place to start!). There are tons of local farmer’s markets that give farmers the opportunity to sell straight to the consumer! I am certainly not saying that I do all of these all the time—but I am saying they are good choices to consider when we want to give the farmers a societal high-five and “atta boy”.
Third, if we want to take control of our health, we will know what we are eating. And what what we are eating is eating. Educating ourselves about GMO’s and Organic and Gluten Free and All Natural and all the other food labels that companies like to plaster on their packages, slogans and shelves will help us to make the best decisions for our family. My decisions don’t have to be the same as yours. Your decisions are the ones that are best for your family. But knowledge is power. And we can go a long way in empowering our bodies to be their best when we are educated about what we are fueling them with!
Wow. That was a lot. All because I am stressing about what to do with a year old cow that hasn’t even been born.
Leave it to me to do something like that…..
Until Next Time,
HELLO & WELCOME!!