Wednesday, January 17, 2018

love your food

This is Ferd at a few days old.  You can't not love that.  It took him until day 3 to take his bottle.  That was a tough and tense couple of days, sadness held at bay with hope.  Then when we switched him to a bucket, that took until day three again.  Again, he could die, and his dying would be a sadness. And then the horns.  He's going to be a bull, and a dairy bull at that.  Notorious.  He could kill you with or without horns but we dehorned him as we thought they could hasten our death.  But dehorning isn't a painless process without risk of complication.

I spent hours and hours thinking about him getting on that trailer.  See, we do this without all the "proper" equipment.  If  he did his job and if both cows are pregnant and if I get them both milking nicely and if I can sell one as a homestead milker, then I might use that money to buy some proper equipment and deal in AI (artificial insemination) instead of bulls and castrate any boys born on their day of birth and still have to rely on the generosity of friends to provide a ride to the abattoir.

I spent hours thinking of how to get him on that trailer, how to prepare him best I could; what all could go wrong and how to stack the deck against it going wrong.  Feed him there, get gates set up, practice with the trailer doors. In the end it is that same old tried and true pressure and release that works, and at the very moment when the human thinks, "oh he's going in the right direction; let's increase the pressure and make him do it," is the moment when all pressure must cease absolutely and with its cease he will walk on in.

This is Ferd in the trailer, eating.

Of course I love him.  Of course I thank him.

People seem a little more accepting of killing a chicken.  "I couldn't do that," is usually what they say.  But with Ferd, they said more of the order of, "You can't NAME what you EAT."  Well yes I can, although at times it has been named Tamale or Stew.  Ferd we named to invoke that magic, and that's pretty much who he was, always calm.  But we still didn't walk freely in the field after a certain point -- always have an exit, always have a stick.  People act like carrots don't scream when you pull them from the ground but mostly they've never pulled a carrot, much less eaten it right there with carrot-ness filling their sinuses.

I'm not saying it is all equal, but I am saying that there are choices to be made.  Local is better, more whole is better, less processed is better, home grown is better -- for the grower, for the taster, for the community, for the earth.  I am saying that connection is better, and you better believe I'm connected with those brown Ferd eyes having petted his head hundreds of times.  I am saying that love is better, and isn't usually what you think of as love, at least it is not only that.

I asked the husband, "Why do I get mad when people say, 'I hope he won't get in the trailer,'  'I hope he runs away,' 'You can't name what you eat"?  And then I answered my own question, forcefully, "Because they eat.  By gawd they EAT."  And they don't love their food.  They don't even know their food.

Ferd had a good life, and an honorable death; a purpose, and he was loved. Quite honestly, for what more could any of us ask?

1 comment:

Just a Girl said...

Beautiful beast. Beautiful memorial.