About a year back you may remember the sheepish admission that take 1 at producing our own home grown beef had failed. Not all was lost – the cattle we’d raised with this in mind were sold at the stockyards instead of butchered. But we missed our chance to take our meat consumption from paddock to plate because of a mad fulcrum of bad timing – personal tragedy, the end point of three university degrees (we’re an astute bunch, us Murrindindi-ites) and loss of employment meant that our eyes weren’t on the ball, and we missed the pre-Christmas butcher time boat. This was an important track for us to move on, as laid out in a previous blog, so we took a second shot.
Fast forward 12 months and we have had our first batch of home raised meat since early November. We’ve been eating the cows we’ve known, raised and loved.
“What kind of fresh hell is that?” some might ask.
“Are you heartless?”
It’s with a high degree of gravity and respect that we consider the meat that we eat. We make the best attempt we can to buy organic, or free range, or pasture fed meat that comes from a sound, environmentally friendly and ethical source.
Doing this is a minefield. There are so many factors, so many options, so many not so scrupulous purveyors. You often find yourselves impersonating these folk:
It’s also remote. It’s disengaged. Disassociated.
It’s really the only path for most of us, and a legitimate maze to wade through and industry to participate in. However, given the fact that we have the opportunity to do so, we have decided to raise a significant proportion of the meat we eat ourselves.
We have the land. We have the grass, which only keeps on coming. And we have the capacity to face the full cycle of producing a food product we eat on a regular basis, honestly.
In a manner in which we know it’s origins for certain. We know what they’ve eaten, how they’ve been treated, and how they were dispatched.
And by not removing ourselves from the reality of what our meat is – i.e. the flesh of a cow, we’re able to better honour that cow. To allow ourselves to feel the natural mix of love, grief, sadness, nourishment, enjoyment and recognition of the cycle of growth, consumption, decay that we are participating in. More on our decision making process here.
It’s not an entirely new path to be treading, 12 roosters later, but it feels healthy and real to be moving into a more direct relationship with the meat that we eat in this way. Besides which, it is also good to keep walking our talk.
What else is happening farmward?
The first wee tomatoes of the season are a starter.
Pumpkins are getting ready to go crazy.
Some things are passing on, setting seed. We’re letting them in parts – keeping a good chunk of the garden go to “care and maintenance” mode while we travel and rest a bit over the hottest parts of summer. Covering up the earth and turning it under, fallowing for the next season.
(But first we’ll get stuck into dill pickles)
Stuff’s in late bloom. It’s quite pretty around the farm. Bees will be coming good with a honey delivery shortly.
We have a small stock o’ grapes we’ll be turning into experimental wine again.
It’s been raining. A lot. Amazing pre-summer dam and tank filling timing. Not so ideal for the motorcycle touring, but you can’t win them all.
And, the next generation of cattle enter the equation again.
Seasons, and cycles a turning.