5/7/13

Another One Bites the Dust!

Urban farming is tough work! April was not kind to our little herd. One turkey dead due to the fact that they do require water. Two  baby chicks got too dry in their shells. They came out deformed and then my best diagnosis is failure to thrive. One mama hen thought the grass was greener on the other side and flew over the fence to meet the neighbors dogs. She never should have trusted them. Look where it got her! Finally our brand new dumb bunny buck! At least he served his purpose for the 3 weeks we had him since Ruby (her pal Max died 3 bucks ago)  is now a  mommy. 


We don't know what illness got him, but it wasn't pretty. April had a lot of unexpected admissions to pet heaven. I hate to see any of our animals die. Unless of course, it is by our own hand so that we can honor their lives on our dinner table.

May came rolling in with my son telling me just today that the rabbit is not looking so good. Of course she doesn't look good! She has been pulling her fur out for days and building a nest. She is about to give birth. So, I went to check on her. I guess he just missed it. Fine by me as he is 11 and I am not quite ready to have that conversation with him. But what did May bring us? A dead bunny in a food dish, half eaten. Really mommy? Now that is tough love! Animals are teaching me some valuable lessons. Some that I really would rather have not learned.

I have never been one to get attached to pets. I think I learned the harsh reality early on that pets eventually die, so I have closed my heart to them. It does not make me cruel. I would never try to hurt one... except an occasional ornery rooster who is scratching the stuffing out of my boys.


But in my super busy life, if an animal does not have the ability to produce food for my family, it is not welcome. So, we do not have a dog. Cats can come if they will eat the mice, but they won't last a month in these coyote infested plains. Hamsters and guinea pigs? No thanks, I have enough to clean up.

A lady at church asked me on Sunday if I was enjoying farm life. Rocky jumped right in and said he loves it. I am still not convinced. I love fresh eggs. I love funny chickens. I love bouncy goats.


I love that my family loves goat milk. But do I love farming? My answer? If the weather is nice, then yes, I love farming. But when it is cold or windy or hot, not so much. I am a fair weather farmer. But like it or not, teaching my children that food comes from the back yard, not from the drive-thru, is one of the most important goals in my life. Watching them help plant the garden, helping my three year old gather eggs, checking if the coast is clear from the rooster for my little girl, and having dinner that consists almost completely from our own yard is priceless.

"The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946... Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard." 
Joel Salatin

Our goal is to be self sufficient. I would rather learn these skills now when with each failure, we can run to the store, or even the drive- thru and replace our losses. There may come a day when we will not have such a luxury. I am certain that one day these skills will be vital. So love it or not, I am all in, mud, manure, and death notwithstanding!

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18 comments:

  1. Good luck with your goals. Personally, I am one to get very attached to pets... I love my cats and dogs. And loved (and named) my chickens when I had them. But I can understand how they may not fit into the big picture you are trying to paint. I found you through WWFW and will be back to follow along on your journey.

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  2. You sound like my boyfriend. He is a farmer, crop farmer, but like you he believes one day farming, hunting, etc. will be vital the way this country is going. I am a city girl who will one day, if all goes according to God's plan, become a farmer's wife and I am constantly learning. I do have to say, I am glad he is not an animal farmer.

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  3. Sorry to hear about all your animal trouble! Unfortunately, I was not raised on a farm and so I do attach myself emotionally to almost every animal I find. That's why I want laying chickens, not meat chickens. And dairy goats, not meat goats. I don't have a problem with fish, however. I can catch them, kill them and eat them without a problem! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  4. We to farm our own. It is tough especially when the weather is rough. We lost a turkey hen for unknown reasons. a whole 18 turkey babes tried to hatch and did not make it due to humidity issues. Roosters come and go as they fight. Coyotes think we run a buffet and these days keeping the cows in the fence seem a chore that never ends but like you said the lessons handed to our children are so great!

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  5. I used to raise rabbits and had one doe that ate some of her babies. The recommendation is that if it happens with the second litter to cull her from your herd. It is sad to lose any of your animals.

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  7. We just lost two little week old chicks. One, not 12 hours after we brought home. Failure to thrive in a new environment I suppose. She was cute and my daughter has already named her Miss Frizzle. Needless to say my daughter was so sad The second was taken out be our older murderous hens. Sparing my daughter the harsh realities of backyard farming I ran to the feed store and got a replacement for the second casuality. I know! not teaching her much am I. I think maybe this post has convinced me to tell her the truth. Pumpkin is really pumpkin II. Thanks for your posts I look forward to them everyday!

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  8. Looks like we are not the only ones who have suffered casualties lately. Thanks everyones for your comments and words of encouragement!

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  9. I enjoyed your post. We have a hobby farm and the real farmers we know smile and call it a gentleman's farm. My husband's reply is "On a gentleman's farm the work is hired and on a hobby farm you do it yourself." It has very little financial return but many rewards. My kids are older now and I am tired, just plain tired. I am so glad for the experience though. I am one who gets attached to my critters (except evil roosters) but I have learned a lot. I met Joel Salatin and he said I was bambie eyed. I laughed and blushed. I knew just what he meant. He is one still one of my heros and you should be very proud of what you are teaching and how you are raising your children.

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  10. This is a great post. I love what you are doing. I am also in agreement that one day we are going to have to live like this. You will definitely be prepared. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com

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  11. My friend lives on a farm and has told me a few stories too. She watched a hawk take off with one of her chickens one time.

    We don't have any pets right now other than two dogs. We had various pets when the kids were little. I've always had a dog throughout my life and wanted one for our kids, as I always felt more comfortable when I knew the dog was outside with them. We live in the city so not much privacy.

    Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

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  12. Great post! I agree, farming is hard work. But, I also want my children to learn where their food comes from. I want them to take pride in what we do. And I am totally jealous that you have goats to entertain you, our little city doesn't allow them :-)

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  13. I find it hard right now to maintain what we have as suburbanites. I can't imagine doing it on a regular basis as a farmer.

    Thanks for linking up to Motivation Monday!

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  14. I just lost a 7 week old chick 2 days ago. I am like you, I see animals as food. But I was a little sad because she was my little buddy and would always come over to have me pet her. Good luck with your endeavors! Hope they stay alive for you! :)

    Heather

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  15. My grandma grew up on a farm, and she never understood why my parents let us keep cats and pets in the house! I'm far too attached to pets, but understand the practical necessity of not getting attached.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I’ve pinned it.

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  16. What a spell! Hope things turn up for you. Thanks for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop. Come back and join us this week: http://everythinghomewithcarol.com/self-sufficient-homeacre-hop-and-green-circle-grove-giveaway

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  17. I really enjoyed this post. You are right. "living off the land" is tough, but I feel like I am teaching my children something that has been forgotten. Something that is important. Growing our own food and working the land is important and I feel like it's something they should know and knowing what you get in return for your hard work. I really enjoyed the goat picture too:) have a great day!
    Shannon@CozyCountryLiving

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