Pasture Raised, Grain Finished, Responsibly Grown — From Our Farm to Your Table
Filed under General, Thoughtful Thursday
Today I attain the milestone of 39 years. Over the past four decades I have received many gifts; but none have been more precious than the gift of togetherness that I have been blessed with each day for the last twenty one years.
I met my favorite farmer on Halloween night, 1993, at a fraternity party on the Dartmouth College campus. He was in the middle of his senior year football season and I was a freshman newbie on the swim team. We had our first date Thanksgiving weekend when we were both required to be on campus for athletic practice.
It didn’t take long for us to become basically inseparable. We got engaged on my twentieth birthday and were married a little over a year later. Our first baby was a black Labrador retriever named Taylor who ended up going to class with Matt and attaining her master’s degree in engineering business.
When Matt completed his master’s and I attained my undergraduate degree in June of 1997, we moved back to the farm in Nebraska. Our lives were no longer filled with classes and college life, but the togetherness remained constant as we transitioned to life on the prairie.
There is a tremendous sense of security that comes from the knowledge that you are never alone.
Although I do not spend every hour of every day with Matt, I take a piece of him with me wherever I go. Both my heart and my mind know that I have his unconditional love and support — this gives me confidence and motivation as I make my way through life.
Although I am proud of many things that I have done in my first 39 years, I am most proud of what Matt and I have accomplished together. From our three beautiful daughters to the farm that we tend to with love and dedication — I know that no matter what we could likely accomplish alone, we are better together.
There is tremendous joy to be found in the act of sharing.
There is tremendous strength to be found in the act of loving.
Today, as I count my blessings, my favorite farmer tops the list. I remember the look on his face the night that we first met. I picture in my mind the twinkle in his eye when he held each of our girls for the first time. I think of the smile that he gets on his face each morning as he tells me that he loves me.
I recognize the infinite beauty of this gift of togetherness…
We have three dogs, five cats, and two horses that live at our house. Of those ten animals, four of them were stray animals that adopted us. I have a soft heart, and my pets receive loving care and attention. They are, quite literally, part of the family.
I am an animal lover…
Early in the fall, Shellie (one of our dogs) got into something that made her really sick. When I rushed her to the vet (at 8:00 on a Friday night—thank goodness for small town veterinarians!), two kittens ran in front of my vehicle outside of the vet clinic. I got out of my vehicle to move them out of the way. Instead of running away from me, the kittens jumped into my arms.
I am an animal lover.
I have close to 3000 beef animals that live at my feed yard. While these animals are food animals and not pets, they still receive quality care and attention. They require different care than my pets at home, but that does not lessen my personal responsibility for them.
I am an animal lover.
I go to work every morning at 6:00am so that every one of my beef animals can have breakfast delivered by 9:30am. I honestly do not remember the last time that I was still in bed when the sun came up…
I put in 70 hours at the feed yard last week because that was what my animals needed. I ran a scoop shovel, I vaccinated and exercised/acclimated three hundred newly arrived animals, I put out more 60# small square bales of prairie hay than my back wanted me too…Needless to say, it was a “calorie deficient” week for me and I may have to start cinching my belt up a bit tighter as my jeans are getting looser!
I am a dedicated animal lover…
I believe that it is an admirable vocation to raise food animals…
I believe that I can be both an animal lover and a food animal farmer…
While I love animals, I love my children more. I believe that harvesting beef animals to feed to my children fulfills my duty as a parent to provide nutritious and wholesome food. It is also my duty as an American farmer to provide food for other people’s children as well as my own. I believe that my beef provides a unique protein source which ensures that my children (and yours) have enough zinc, iron, and protein to grow strong and maintain good health.
I am an animal lover…
I am a grower of food…
Although my cattle will be harvested for food consumption, I have a high standard of care that I give to them while they are in my feed yard. A standard of care that exemplifies my definition of humane care as I make sure that each animals’ needs are met on a daily basis. As a prelude to Thursday’s post where I will define humane bovine care (bovines are cattle!) and explain in more depth why I believe that I can both love animals and raise them for food, I would ask that if you have not followed Feed Yard Foodie since its inception that you go back and read two of my early posts. They are necessary “back ground” information for our discussion of humane care…
In the meantime, take a nap for me. I am only half way through The Fall Run and could use the boost!
Filed under Animal Welfare, Foodie Work!