Saturday, June 25, 2011

I am not too upset to eat

I posted a facebook message that I was going out to wrestle tomatoes. Meaning, I was going to go tie tomato plants to the stake.

Never made it there.

I needed to milk my goat Dear. I had read About An Acre's post on goat cheese making and I wanted to give it a try. After I milked her, I picked herbs from my garden, chopped them up with some red roasted peppers along with some garden baby garlic cloves and got to cheese making. It was fun. When is cooking ever fun for me? Cooking gives me a sense of satisfaction, sometimes a little bit of adventure. But never fun. Well, maybe decorating cookies and cakes are fun. But I am sure you are catching what I am throwing out here. I had fun. Perhaps, it is because of the accumulative rewards of raising an animal and planting seeds, to a finished product. Which is pretty much considered a delicacy by most people. Another reason might be that the door is wide open for creativity. I did not follow a recipe. I just jumped into it, cooked it, curdled it and I strained it. Then I added salt and my ingredients and wrapped it up in cheesecloth ball. I did it. Taste testing starts tomorrow, with wine and bread.

Back to wrestling.

Wresting in my mind and spirit and the manifestation of it to the physical realm.

Last Fall we bought a piglet. He sat on my lap on the way home and pooped and peed on me. I didn't care, I just scooped up the poo with my hands and tossed it out the window. I laughed. He was living with his brothers and sisters penned up in a dark stinky barn. He had lice, so the first thing he got was a bath. He was scared to death of people and squealed bloody murder. I was going to call him Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. My favorite childhood book. But, he got the name Sling Blade, from a movie Rusty saw.."uh-hum" I guess the guy in the movie made that sound when he talked.

Our intention was to have him as our farm pig.

And that is what he became. I wrote a little something about him in March on this very blog: Introduction 1 - Sling Blade.

Meanwhile, the more we have farmed, the more we have been inching to the conclusion that we MUST grow our own food. Another must is to live in harmony with the land, and grow food organically.

In the grocery store you don't know where you food was grown. Food that is massed produced, contain pesticides, chemicals, GMO's, (Say no to GMOs!) meat injected with antibiotics and growth hormones. In addition to this is the milk. We will slowly stop consuming cow's milk and switch to goat milk. Different than meat, milk is a product that is straight-lined through the digestive system. Therefore, the milk of an animal is more susceptible to pesticides in the animal's food (plant) source. Also a concern these days is radiation. We all saw how the radiation easily made it's way across the ocean from Japan to the American West Coast (and beyond.) That went right into the vegetation, water and therefore it went into us via unknown origin of food.

In my post, Carnivores Only I explained my struggle with harvesting our young roosters. I wrestled with the thought of off-ing my animals.

That was only the appetizer.

It became increasingly clear, that we could not contain a "farm pig". Sling Blade got big, and strong. So strong. He knocked down a stall door, wrecked the barn, broke gates, fences, and tore up the pasture area. He broke the duck pool, got loose, and made it difficult to feed the other animals. Sling lived for food. But he never ever was a mean to humans, birds or the other animals here. Even if some of them were mean to him. I am talking to you Meany-Pants the Rooster and Earl the Donkey. Sling was just a very large pig. He was getting very expensive to feed. But he ate like a king. He was happy. Radiant even.

I finally gave the OK for him to go.

First, I did not want to watch him go. I wanted to remember just yesterday afternoon. I was sitting in my goat herder chair and Sling came up to me looking to see if I had food. I didn't so he stayed there and rubbed his body against me and the chair, so much he tipped me over.

But suddenly, I felt compelled to just say good-bye and do a little thank-you prayer-energy-thing, before he left. Sling wasn't going without a fight either. I helped wrestle him on the truck, he leaped out. I saw a pig fly. In every sense of the word. He busted out of the carrier. It was quite a scene. Two neighbors came over because of the noise. Pigs are loud.

We finally had to tie his feet so he wouldn't jump out of the truck. The only alternative would be to build a crate. But by this time we were all tired. I poured some water on him to cool him off, and packed him a bunch of food, because they don't work on Sundays and he will just be pastured there. I sat there and stroked him, and told him he was brave. He rested on a bed of hay in the truck. Still rooting for food. Bless him. He made it a little easier with that. Like, I am not too upset to eat. I gave him more feed and pet him. Thanks Sling.
Rusty got home just now as I am writing this. He said that Sling's feet got untied on the ride over to the Butcher's place. When they pulled up the lady asked "Did he sit like that the whole ride?" Rusty said yes, he is a great pig. I didn't start crying until just now.

Rusty said that they are really nice people (we had heard this.) He said Sling just jumped off the truck and into the pen. Rusty fed Sling some of the food I packed and shared a bunch of wheat and cheddar crackers with him. And he was fine, happy munching away, when he left. I am not too upset to eat.

sling blade the pig - on his way to the truck

Right now I feel the urge to go save him. Save him, from who? Myself?

I think that is enough wrestling for one day. Tomorrow, I will wrestle the tomatoes, as promised. I am going to taste my first batch of goats milk cheese, with some wine. Hopefully I will not be too upset to eat.



  1. I'm really sorry to hear Sling won't be with you. And I love that you did you thank-you prayer-energy-thing before he left. Love that. You are a good person. I can only imagine how hard this day has been for you.
    I understand your views on organic foods. Our cattle are raised organic. It's one of the reasons I wanted to invest in them. Their big brown eyes are the reason I am having a hard time eating beef.

  2. I hear you. Big brown eyes might put me over the edge. Perhaps I can trade my chicken and pork for your beef. :-/

    Or maybe the both of us will end up Vegans.

  3. Hats off to you Crow, I know I couldn't do that as I'm far too sentimental.

    It's one of the things I'm going to have to struggle to overcome if I want to go the whole hog (pun, sorry) and keep livestock one day.

    You gave him a good and enjoyable life and that's the thing that really matters.

    Maybe it'll be easier with the next pig!

  4. I can't even watch when my fiancee cleans the fish we catch. But I eat them just the same. As long as I know they go humanely, I'm alright.

    It's a different story for the rest of the worlds meats and things and the meat industry today. I'm starting to try and buy more "organic" and less treated meats and things.

  5. A quick tap on the head for the fish is the best way Hailey Marie, very quick and painless.

    Heck, I'd like to go out that way!

  6. This kills me. Sling was so brave. YOU are so brave.


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