May 24, 2014

Raising Dairy Bulls for Beef- for Dummies

Well, the professor is safely out of town and so-- the kids and I are trying to decide what new animal to adopt.
(I'm sort of kidding.  He is out of town, but we are communicating.  He actually suggested guinea pigs- saying "I love guinea pigs." Ha.)  The professor easily votes for any animal he can eat.  Male.

Drew (a male) is turning 14 next week and he really wants to raise beef, both to eat and to sell.  We have a friend who is a cow vet.  He thinks he can get us two dairy cow bulls (that we will bite into steers).  Mmm.  

We know all about raising cow because we watched Alaska- the Final Frontier and The Moo Man on Netflix. 
Seriously.  We've got this.  (Haha.)

The more I read about how our food is produced, the more convinced I am that raising our own food is not only a great teaching opportunity and a healthier quality food, but also a more ethical choice.  I feel better about eating an animal that has been loved and lived a good life, than I do about eating animals from large feed lots.  (Weird?)

I know it will be sad to kill our pets.  But, I think giving my children the opportunity to really understand meat and love these animals is worth that sadness.  Hopefully, when the time comes to butcher one animal, there will be a baby to take it's place.

Honestly, I am the biggest softy of all of us (well, me and Anna).  I have no idea how this will work out.

I'm actually surprised that EVERY person I talk to mentions the killing part of having animals.  Like it is this huge, awful thing.  Even though ALL of them eat meat.  

I'm really weird about this (amoung other things).  I actually want my children to connect LIFE and DEATH with the food we eat.  I like that connection because it's real.  I think of a little chicken every time I defrost two chicken breasts- and we eat a lot less meat that way.  I don't think death is awful- I think it's natural.  Living and dying are part of life. I also don't try to shield my kids from hard.  I think this is something we can work through.  We'll see!

There are baby piglets for sale down the road.  Ellie has decided if she can't have a horse, she wants pigs.  A sow (to breed) and a boar (to eat).  Oh my.  Wilbur!!!

I don't know where we can put pigs?  They are a special kind of stinky.  Our barn has wood and cement floors and barn pigs need cement so they are easily cleaned.  We have fields, but no structures.  Building structures is expensive...

My biggest concern as we start down this path is-- yard and waste management.

My land is beautiful.  I don't want to over-graze it.  I'm not sure where we should dump our manure and I know nothing about composting.  I want horses eventually and I don't want a barn that is ruined by livestock.  I'm somewhat of a "pretty" farmer.  Aesthetics are important to me-- I don't want a yucky, smelly, dirty, muddy yard.  (Can I have two pretty cows please?  For cheap.  Oh, I know I'm snotty and silly.) That's why these animals will always be pets to me not real farm animals.  


I almost died this year.  It changed me.  I was brave before my surgery, but I have a different time table these days.  It's like my brain says-- why NOT get a cow?!  Just do it.  Life is short!!  Create the memory NOW.  

I have really weird, confidant, independent children.  They know that they would be responsible for these animals and they are actually more responsible than I am.  Drew needs something extra-curricular to do with himself.  I think we may have found his new project.

Moooss Mooooments-- coming soon.
U of M-Tully welcomes applicants to the center for organic meat.

Life is good (if it doesn't smell too much like a cow pie)!

1 comment:

Marie said...

You are pretty funny, Jen! I love the idea of having a "pretty" farm... Please let us know how that works out! Ha'. ❤️

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