February 28, 2011


   We are not considered vegetarians, but as time goes on, certain members of our family choose not to partake of meat when the plate is passed. I also notice we buy less meat. I tend to plan meals and not base it around a meat dish as I used to. It has been a gradual shift.

And when my daughter starts thinking aloud about how we kill animals, end their lives so that we can eat, her eyes tear up and there's a lump in my throat.

 This is not to condemn people and farms who do. I have a great respect for families who are self-sufficient and can provide for their meals all their own. Just call me a whimp, I guess.

Is it because we are so connected to animals and nature on our farm that we are feel this way, or is it because we are becoming more aware and want to be increasingly aware of  where our food comes from, and know exactly what we are eating?

There's been a upsurge of information in the media and that's a good thing, for knowledge IS power. There has also been in increase in concern of how animals are treated on the farms that provide the meat. 

 I love fruits, veggies, beans and grains.I could survive quite well without meat, but not all members of my family could, at the present time.
  Since I still need to purchase meat for my family, not only do
I want meat that is all natural preferably organic! ), without antibiotics and hormones, and fed a non-GMO diet, but I also care about the life that animal lived and how it was treated.

Have you heard of the Global Animal Partnership, concerned with farm animal welfare? 

From their site:
"The numbers are astonishing.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 60 billion land animals, are raised for meat each year around the world.

To put the farm animal population into perspective, consider this: In the time it takes to watch a 60-minute television show, 5.8 million chickens are slaughtered for meat. That’s more than 97,000 animals per minute.

Each of these animals in agriculture—chickens, pigs, cattle, turkeys, lambs, and others—has the capacity to experience pain and pleasure, fear and excitement. Each one can suffer.

The Global Animal Partnership has constructed rating standards having to do with the welfare of the animal. They have done a two year pilot program with Whole Food Stores . You can go there and buy meat labeled with their 5 Step-standards, so you know exactly how that animal lived their lives.

 If a meat is labeled #5 then it has met all the previous steps first. The step rated products are not necessarily organic, as the steps are concerned more with animal welfare, but many are also certified organic.

See the 5-Step Animal Welfare Ratings Standards:
 for beef cattle
 for Broiler chickens
 for  Pigs

We raise chickens for their eggs. and so far, not for meat. They say if you are going to eat your chickens, don't name them. Well, we haven't named all of ours and I don't think we can eat them anyway.
Beware of labels though, almost anything could be called natural. And free-ranging only has to mean they can walk to their food and their water. It doesn't mention they could be walking in filth and disease harboring droppings in a small emclosed area, or cooped up in a building all day and night. 
It's free-rangingpastured chickens (animals) that are allowed in the open air in a healthy environment to roam at will.
The Global Animal Partnership is in the process of forming ratings for laying hens.

"Each one of us, in our daily lives and in our own homes, can improve the lives of animals simply by choosing to support those farmers and ranchers who have a commitment to providing higher welfare to the animals they raise."
~Global Animal Partnership

I am linking this post to Project Genesis, hosted by the inspiring Suzan at OLD*GREY*MARE

happy day!


a quote for Monday . . .

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile... it's the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

             ( Photo by CHLOE)           

                             happy day!


There is spring fever at the farm.
 I'm dreaming of our driveway  like this . . . 
instead of this.
 I said I would savor the season , and I have, but now I want change. It's good I live in New England. 
 I love change, and the personality of each season. Change revitalizes and energies me.

 I am dreaming of our house like this . . . 
                              instead of this.

And of front flower gardens in bloom

instead of this
                                    and this.

I am dreaming  garden dreams . . .where the raised bed garden, still fast asleep, 
                                    will soon awaken and grow . . . 
                                 snow peas
                                 bush beans . . .and more.
  The garden will become more of a potager this year, after a few minor changes; the moving of a raised bed, the addition of vertical structures, and a central artful focal point.
 I love to be IN the garden and will set up an umbrella and seating inside.

I long to see the teepee . . . 
used more by the children. . . 
and the sand area, now buried with snow . . . 
will be transformed.

I'm dreaming of the emergence of the Bee Balm (Monarda), a view from the deck. . . 
to witness the many visitors. . .
instead of this.
I am dreaming of the the woodlands , somewhat barren now,
will give rise to a myriad of ferns and underbrush.
and the area will be a haven for play.
I'm dreaming of the grassy knoll, sandwiched between the woodlands and the pond . . .
going from white to GREEN.

I'm dreaming of the the meadow that is holding still all its secrets. . .
but will soon burst forth and flourish,
where the children can play hide n seek,
 discover various wildflowers,
 search for living creatures,
and observe the gifts nature gives to us.

I can't wait for the the pond, that has been covered in ice and snow for months,

and enjoyed in new ways by the children,
to come to life again, 
and host the mallards that return and stay for a week each April. (See the Mallard in front of the bridge?). . . 
and have the daffodils bloom on its banks
and children sit on the bridge, just watching, and tossing in pebbles.

The island, a favorite place for the children,
will become their secret fantasy playspace once again.

The grassy drive, where children play and horses walk, will go from this . . . 
                              to this

The animal habitats, for chickens and ducks ,

will start bustling with  more activity. . .

as the hens will be able to free range farther than the shoveled paths, and find ways to get into the garden, even though they are not wanted in there.

The horses, although they enjoy the snow,

     perhaps dream of green and grass like me.
The paddocks will have safer footing to run and to bask in the sun.

Spring will soon be here, as well as many new projects for the coming year. From a chicken garden, full of herbs and plants that chickens love, to a square foot garden for children in which they will plant and harvest themselves, to the construction of a meandering path through the animal habitats and more, I am anxious to get started.

While I am still savoring this winter season, I envision the days where I will be outdoors more, breathing in the spring air, and witnessing the greening of the earth.

Check out the others at the Barn Hop #2 hosted by Amy at Homestead Revival .

happy day!