Back to the Farm—Farm School

“We’re trying to find a way to finish them off,” the attractive, young woman stated casually as she took another sip of her drink.

I was horrified! She was discussing the cattle she and her father raised. It must have registered on my face, since she offered an explanation.

“We can’t decide what kind of grass to feed them before they’re ‘processed’—umm, err, I mean ‘butchered.’”

How do the invisible people who kill my steak dinner commit the deed?Generally, I try not to think of where my food comes from, but in some vague, faraway recess of my mind, I always assumed it was humane. My picture went something like a Farside cartoon. From outside of the frame, a hand reaches in and hands Bessie a big bunch of clover and a cigarette. Then Bessie is simply not in the next frame. The last frame shows Bessie appearing on a dinner plate—’processed.’

My husband, Tom and I were conferencees at the NC Sustainable Living Conference. Our plan is to sell all that we own, move to his family’s old homestead, and be farmers and maybe even ranchers. The only problem is that we’ve never grown anything, except two children. We barely keep our dog alive.

We had a lot to learn, but thought the classes would give us a head start. I took an intensive mushroom class—the mushrooms weren’t intensive, although I’ve never asked one. The lecturer wore brown and green stripes (of course), grew mushrooms out of wood chips and drove around town ‘inocculating’ trees with mushroom spawn. He hasn’t been arrested,…yet.

I avoided the ‘mob grazing’ class. I already know about that. It happens every Friday night at my house when my 19-year-old son’s friends show up for a late night snack.

I learned about choosing chickens that are actually able to reproduce. They’re happy about that. The other chickens—the ones you and I eat almost every day are not only dead, they’re depressed.

Who knew that people not only knew this stuff, but even studied it. I’m looking forward to putting into practice what I learned at ‘farm school,’ when Tom and I move to North Carolina. We want to grow old working on a farm until the day that we’re, ‘processed.’

Before that happens, I think I’ll be a vegan.

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