iloveafarmer

so I can pretend someone is listening

Meet the Critters

By today’s standards we have a large family.  We do get looks and comments when we go out in public at times.  My husband the farmer is 6’6″ and a big boy, and my gorgeous teen-age daughters are all what some would call “stately”, while others would call them “Amazons”.  The youngest is 12 and she’s been taller than me for a year.  But I’m not here to talk about them!  They can wait for some other day.  We’re here to look at critters.

First off, we have a farm.  More specifically, we have a chicken farm.  To further categorize, we grow fryers, the ones you find in the meat section at the grocery store.  My father-in-law has been a chicken farmer since the late 1950’s and boy, have things changed since then.  Vertical integration, corporate policies that create corporate-sized headaches, the price of propane…  But I’m not going to talk about that.  Not today.  I’m trying to maintain my “zen”.  Anyway, the largest proportion of critters we have are chickens (or should that be “is chickens”?  Grammar…)  Right now, we have about 150,000 of them.  That’s a lot.  In an average year we grow close to a million chickens.  That’s a whole lot.  We’ve had our farm for 20 years now, so that means we’ve grown about 20,000,000 chickens and you have eaten them.  For that I thank you.  I don’t have any photos of the little darlings, because you see the chickens that are our total responsibility and that we are totally on the hook for financially until they are taken to the processing plant are not our property.  I need to get permission to take photos the chickens on my own farm.  My zen is crumbling, so I must leave the whole chicken subject.  Someday you will understand.

We also have a small herd of cattle.  Today there are 14 of them, but they sneak babies in on us sometimes so that number could grow any time.  We have 2 jersey cows and the rest are Angus.  The cow in this little picture is Spot, and that baby of her’s is less than an hour old.  Spot is the best momma cow we have, but Spot is also the most dangerous cow we have.  She has chased me over the barbed-wire fence and dented our truck trying to kill me.  She tolerates Stu, but then again he feeds her and I don’t.  You don’t mess with Spot.  You don’t hardly dare to look at her.  We’d better move on for your own safety.

For the last two summers we’ve grown out 5 wiener pigs.  They are the cutest things when we get them!  By the end of summer they’re these monstrous hungry things that would like nothing more than to eat us, so off to Freezer Camp they go.  I’m glad they don’t stay cute, it would make the freezer camp part much more difficult.  This reminds me, we’d better get to work on the pig pen.  Add it to the list.  Right after we get the tiller repaired and get the plow down here from the Orting farm.  And cook dinner…

You’ve got to love animals to have a farm, and if you love something you take good care of it.  You don’t want to see anything bad happen to it, until the day that it’s time to go.  And most often they go to become food for us.  Until then, their life is wonderful and easy.  I’ll admit, until the last 10 years or so when we started growing all our own meat (except chicken and that subject is for another day), I couldn’t imagine killing something on purpose that you’ve taken care of and spent time with, and then eat it.  The first batch of pigs we raised I made the mistake of making them into pets, at least to me.  I really loved them.  It was fun to watch them play and run around, and I knew which one liked to have its ears scritched and which one would rather have a tummy rub and I named them.  And I cried for a couple of hours when we slaughtered them.  Last summer I didn’t name them.  They were still happy and ran around and played, and they were fun to watch.  And I found the balance.

Coming up, our non-edible animals, A.K.A pets.

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May 13, 2010 Posted by | Animals, Farm | Leave a comment