I must admit, farming is addictive. My husband and I were laughing the other day over the first time I ordered chickens only 3 short years ago. He wanted 3, I ordered 6. Within a week, we adopted 4 more and had 10. It felt overwhelming. Yesterday’s shipments brought in another 210 birds to our already well populated poultry flock, and we know we could probably handle even more. Yes, we’ve gone completely crazy.
But crazy might actually not be that weird any more. As we fervently try to find the best, most natural practices for growing our food, we step back and wonder… Why isn’t everyone this “crazy”? I wouldn’t call us activists quite yet, but knowledge is powerful, and causes any rational thinking person to change their behaviors. As we study the differences between conventional farming of today and historically organic, natural practices of a century ago, it is a mix of anger, sadness, and empowerment. Anger, because we as a culture have lost touch with our food and the gift that it is. Anger, because there are large companies out there that have genetically modified our food in a pursuit of a more “perfect” product. Sadness, that so many people have so little education over what real food actually looks like. Sadness, that people are more willing to spend money on soft drinks than vegetables. Empowerment, because we know that we are committed to figuring out a better way. Empowerment, because there is a small, but growing culture that wants to find a way to reconnect people to their food, and we are ecstatic to be a part of it.
Every day seems to bring a new awakening to us in how we manage our animals and plants. The boys built a mobile turkey tractor the other day entirely out of recycled items. It’s ingenious. Old lawnmower wheels that pop up, an old sign as the roof, and recycled wood from an auction. It’s amazing how building something organically gives you so much joy. They could have easily just purchased this tractor, or at least gone to the hardware store and bought all the parts for it. But instead, with a little ingenuity and grit, they built this adorable structure that we are all immensely proud of.
Today, we are on to a new learning adventure. Plotting our next round of chicken processing, we are evaluating what we did last time that worked, and what could we do better this time. We are so proud of the beautiful peaceful life these little birds have lived, so proud of the feed we’ve provided them, so proud that we didn’t have to mutilate them or treat them poorly during their lifetime. I suppose some people think it would be easy to just go to the grocery store and buy a chicken breast, but at this point, we could never go back. We know too much, have worked too hard, have enjoyed the taste difference too greatly. We are completely committed to our chicken addiction.