this horse is so high!
“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, destructively, it is a desecration.” Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about killing animals for meat; the significance and ramifications of it. Now that I have a close relationship with my food, I understand vegetarians so much more than I ever have before. I have a lot of respect for people who choose not to eat the flesh of other beings. I think I might become a vegetarian if I couldn’t raise meat myself and kill it myself. Keith and I have shaped our lifestyle so that we don’t buy meat unless we know for a fact that it has been raised humanely. We mostly eat the meat we raise, and we try not to eat CAFO meat unless it would be rude not to (in the case of a dinner invitation).
Any way you put it, death (and murder) is sad and cruel. This life we live, and the world we live in, is sad and cruel. There’s no way getting around it. A happy, healthy life is also beautiful, and I feel fortunate to participate in the happy lives of our animals.
We are slaughtering the lambs in one week and having a big Lamb Dinner the following week. A bunch of foodies are coming up from the bay area to camp and feast. I am in charge of desserts and I am thinking of a few lovely ice creams paired with small cakes or cookies or both. I’ve got a lavender honey ice cream sandwich idea going with lemon cookies. Any cake ideas? I’m thinking something light like almond.
I’ve been having Feelings about the lambs. Not the Feelings you would think I would have. I am resolute about the fact that they have to die, but I kind of want them all to myself.
I feel like I love these lambs and I want to be the one to eat them because I am the only one who really appreciates and understands them. Now that I have it typed out it sounds screwed up. But really. People eat meat all the time without considering the animal at all, without knowing or thinking about the way it lived. It seems so careless to me. I feel like no one gets how special these girls are, and how sad it is that they are going to die so that we may nourish our bodies. I want to honor them in a big way.
I get upset now when people joke about us killing our animals. Some people think it’s funny, or maybe they are uncomfortable with it so they have to make jokes while they eat it. I don’t know how to deal with it because this whole subject makes people very uncomfortable.
I also get frustrated when people give us a hard time about killing our animals. Most of these people are my co-workers, and it turns into an awkward conversation where I find myself defending my way of life (“Well, I’d rather eat an animal I loved and cried for than one that never experienced a happy life. Like the chicken/pork/beef/mystery meat you buy from Costco or Safeway. So! Friday’s payday, huh?! Hm…”).
Wendell Berry sums up my tirade much more eloquently, “Our model citizen is a sophisticate who before puberty understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato.” It’s these people who load up their shopping carts without knowing anything about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and how it will affect their bodies who are most likely to say something like, “How can you kill a cute little lamb? Rabbits are so adorable! Don’t eat them!” It certainly is easier to think of meat as meat and animals as animals with no relationship between them, but that is foolish and irresponsible.
Keith thinks this is precisely why we should invite all the people to eat our lambs so that they get exposed to our philosophy about eating animals. I see his point, but I just don’t want to share.