I know some of you might be thinking to yourself, "No way! I could never do that." But I'm here with J to tell you, YES you can! To a person, the folks I know who have done this have said they would definitely do it again. You know how thrilled you are when you get your first ripe tomato? That's the kind of feeling you get when you strap on your boots, march out there, and dress those chickens. And its hard to describe the feeling of satisfaction while standing in front of a freezer full of meat you put there yourself. One of my pals said, "Don't you feel rich!?" Yep.
I first met J a couple months ago when he sent me an email (ohiofarmg a T gmail _dot com) and asked for some advice about his batch of creepy meats. Of course I had to check back in when he posted his chicken harvest. They did a great job! I was especially happy to see his kids were involved.
So I asked J to tell me a bit about his experience and his thoughts. Mostly I want to share this with reluctant folks so they can build up their confidence. Remember, there is nothing special and my husband and I - we are regular people who just decided to do this farming thing. If we can do it - and J can do it - so can you.
OFG: J, Did you have any farming/hunting experience before you did this?
J: I grew up in the city, with a short stint of living on a boat with my dad. However, I ran around with friends that lived on farms. One friend's dad managed a large dairy and we enjoyed hunting coyotes and ducks. My only real farming experience started when my family received a GRuB kitchen garden-three 4 by 8 raised beds. They helped us set up the garden, supplied us with seeds, and set us off. Their gift to us inspired me to think more about my families food and empowered us to just jump in and do it.
OFG: Aside from the logistics, what did you learn about about "making your own food?
J: I was reading a blog where the author stated that only trained professionals should butcher chickens (paraphrased), and it made made me sort of mad. Humans have been gathering and processing their own food from the beginning. What made me upset was how easy it is to think that someone else should be responsible for our food. The process of caring for, tending to, and butchering my own chickens was an act of living. It might sound lofty, but I talked to more of my neighbors, enjoyed more time with my family, and in the end got a freezer full of meat.
OFG: What did the kids think?
J: The kids did great and they were a huge help in raising them. I asked them for some quotes about the whole process:
Our three year old, "I wanted to eat one. They were so great raising them. I tried to make them happy. I was feeling really sad."
Our seven year old, "Pretty good. It was sad seeing them dead. They were fun creatures. First you have to raise um, then they grow bigger, then you have to kill um, it is really sad. Then you get to eat um, it is really fun. I would do it again."
We continue to talk about the way life needs life to live.
OFG: What is your best advice for someone who is hesitant to do this?
J: Top three ideas for hesitant pre-chicken raisers
1. Be neighborly (I live in the city and it wasn't exactly legal. Burning bridges is never wise.)
2. Read blogs and watch YouTube videos (I "learned" how to do this by asking a lot of questions and relying on those who are a bit farther down the road)3. Just do it. (Sorry Nike, but urban farmer folks need to just jump in and figure it out.)
OFG: Thanks J, for sharing and again - you did a great job! I also loved that J had a list of things he'd do differently next time.
And I think it goes without saying that his seven year old is going to be next intern! What a great kid!
So what do you think, are you ready? One of the great thrills in life is finding out what you can do. Can you make your own meat? YES you can!
Happy Monday everyone!