One of the things JB was really hoping to accomplish during this break was to successfully hunt a deer. Our previous WWOOFer, Lane, had spent a lot of time scouting the woods for us, and JB felt he really knew where to hunt.
Hunting deer, for us, is truly about obtaining meat that we can eat (for free!) We are not doing it for sport. I'm not commenting here about people that do that whatsoever. I am simply explaining the reason that we would do it. The only two reasons we would ever hunt on our property are to eat the meat or to remove a problem predator.
(Speaking of predators, we have lost a few chickens over the last few days! Predators can really bug you!)
John and JB went hunting two days, and on the second day, JB got a buck. They didn't weigh it exactly but estimated that it was about 150 pounds. He had to spend the rest of the day butchering it, but we have quite a bit of meat to show for it. JB makes a point when butchering it to use nearly ever part of the animal. He believes we owe it to the animal.
"Once you knock an animal on the head it is only polite to eat the whole animal."-- Fergus Henderson
JB wrote on Facebook about how we "value" this animal. That has become an incredibly important thing for us on the farm. The more we process our own meat, the more we try to respect and value the animal that gave their life for us. We don't make jokes. We take it seriously. And sometimes we cry or get sad. We don't name the animals things like "bacon." We treat them as very important members of our community. We give them as much green grass, clean water, and warm sun as we possibly can.
Our most recent WWOOFer, Leah, made a note that you almost have to separate the animals' lives into separate sections. In this way, you can watch the little piglets enjoying this section of their life and not think about what they are here for in the future. That is what we attempt to do.
We used to say, "We only want our animals to have one bad day." We've changed that. Now we say, "We only want our animals to have one bad second." We truly want them to be treated kindly and to be living the very best they can for their entire life.
We really believe that people have become disconnected from their food. They don't want to eat anything that looks like the animal that it really is. When you see how we raise our meat, it will make you unable to eat meat that didn't get raised the right way. JB and I both believe we are on a path to become: "Our-own-farm-atarians." (Eating only the meat we raise ourselves.)
In other news, our turkeys were a huge success. We believe we will end up doing these again next year based on the reports from those who ate them. I'll write more about that later!