Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Evening Rituals

Every evening just before dusk, The Farmer brings the lambs into the front fenced-in pasture for the night. All day long, the lambs have been grazing our overgrown orchard which isn't properly fenced in yet. There's plenty of good grass there but we haven't been able to patch together enough money to properly fence it in. Good permanent fencing is incredibly expensive and our goal is to someday have good fences, someday.

Sheep and lambs are creatures of habit. They know that when the sun is starting to get low in the sky then it's time for their little snack of the day. Some of the lambs come in early from the orchard, anticipating a bit of grain. Others wait until they hear the truck arrive home for the evening, knowing that there will be a few buckets of grain for the 100 lambs.



We feed a bit of grain to the lambs to help supplement the grass that they eat all day and night. Feeding a few buckets of grain is about the only way to coerce the lambs into the properly fenced front field or when they escape a unlatched gate. Grain helps to keep the lambs a bit tame. Growing lambs need a bit of extra protein which is available in grain. Grass has protein but not enough to really make a young animal grow quickly. Remember, the lambs are no longer getting any protein from their mama's milk because they have been weaned. Feeding a little grain to grazing sheep is nothing like grain fed to animals living in CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operation).

If you buy meat from the grocery store, chances are the animal you are eating has been fed in a CAFO. We eat meat here too on our farm that I purchase at the local grocery store. My Farmer loves his protein and honestly we like to enjoy chicken, pork and beef along with our homegrown lamb. It's just the way it is in America -- A whole lot of people to feed who have come to expect some kind of protein on their dinner plate. I know I did when I was growing up and I honestly never even thought about where it came from. I know now and all of you do too. Until a few years ago, noone even thought about CAFO's and where their food came from. It's a good thing to know - even if you don't agree with all of America's industrialized food production systems.

What will be on your plate tonight? Just some food for thought today.....

9 comments:

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

No matter how anyone feels about eating meat (or not), it just makes sense to buy your food locally whenever possible.I think if most people actually saw a CAFO, it might just make the life of small farmers a lot better.

Rebecca said...

Interesting and I always love seeing those sweet lamb photos!

astoriaAnn said...

We eat meat (chicken pork or beef) once a week and get it from whole foods -- not sure if its all grass fed, but the chicken is "free range."

By the way, my 21 month old asks for your blog at night. She says "baaas please" by which she means pictures of sheep please, and when I show her them she says "awwww." She particularly enjoyed today's pictures. :)

Whosyergurl said...

Two beautiful photos! thank you for sharing! love those lambie-pies!
xo, Cheryl

Sarah Craighead Dedmon said...

I live in TX but moved here from N. Grafton, MA. I'm pleased to report that in the Dallas area I can now buy all of my meat, eggs, raw dairy (or pasteurized) and veggies from local organic farmers. It took a few years to find it all, but we need never buy CAFO meat again unless we don't plan ahead to get the meat when our farmer has it.

I so enjoy your books and your blog. It makes me homesick to see your gorgeous hills. I know you appreciate what a beautiful life you've created, we do too!

Laurie said...

Beautiful pictures, as always. Although we are not fans of lamb, we do eat beef, chicken, and occasionally a pork chop or fish. We aim to eat vegetarian 50% of the time and are usually pretty good about it (unless I get a wild craving for a burger or turkeys are on sale...). We are lucky to have a market in town (North Market) where we can buy locally raised meat and produce. We also have a couple small markets in our area that sell local. It's a process and something you really have to pay attention to, but quite worth the time and extra $$ to buy local.

bookagent said...

I will have to do some research and see if I can buy locally raised meat in my home town. It would certainly be preferable!
Pam

Anonymous said...

The turning point for me was several years ago at the State Fair. The Minnesota State Fair has a day called "Minnesota Cooks". This is an all day program with local farmers and really good chefs. When you think about it shouldn't everyone's state fair have an emphasis on food produced in the same state?
Anyway, the first year we went, they were sampling grass-fed hamburger that was produced locally. My husband is more of a meat-eater than I am, but I was the reason that we went back 7 times over the course of the day to get another sample. This slowly led to our getting 95% of our meat directly from local sources, from our food co-op or from a butcher shop that has Eastern European roots. I'm glad that I can support local farmers and I get much better tasting food to enjoy!

annannan said...

Am a knitting agronomist coming to your site from some other blog. Just wanted to say what a great job you do in explaining a few things of farming reality in this way-