The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Distancing yourself from your dinner

Chicken stew

I've been reading a pre-release copy of Leigh Tate's Critter Tales and really enjoying following along on her adventures. My favorite part, though, is quite personal. Leigh's journey toward meat independence has Cat licking the plate cleanbeen quite similar to ours, and so her book helps me see how far we've come.

Not only do we kill a problematic rooster without excessive angst nowadays, we also cook him up into soup to eat that same night. This may not sound like such a big deal, but putting your birds in the freezer for a few weeks before eating them is one way to gain that emotional distance necessary to think of the meat as food. Huckleberry and Lucy have no problem with this mental contortion, but it's taken me a full nine years to get to this point.

October harvest

What's the next step in our meat-education journey? We're probably going to upgrade our goat herd if Artemesia has a daughter, keeping the new doeling while deleting Abigail. I'm having trouble thinking of our current milker as anything other than a pet, though, so I haven't yet crossed over the bridge of deciding whether it's better to take her to the butcher or try to sell or give away an okay-but-not-top-notch goat. Clearly, we still have some meat angst to work through before we'll be real homesteaders at heart.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

It's perfectly understandable to not want to eat your milker. You have spent allot of time with her and developed a bond. If she were mine she would move on to someone else that was interested in milk goats. She has value in the fact that she is already trained to milk and someone else may need a good starter milk goat.

Our livestock fall into two categories. Pets, this includes breed stock and milkers. Animals that are going to be here and usually have human names. Then there are the others, either for sale or butcher. If they get names at all it is just to keep some perspective. I have a hog named “Porkchop” and a young bull named “Porter” aka porterhouse. No misunderstanding their future destination.

Comment by Ned Tue Oct 13 12:10:59 2015

That's got to be a really tough decision. Some days I feel an attachment to your goats just from the pictures, never mind being there and taking care of them every day.

I'm guessing that saying it out loud (or in this case writing it down) is the first step toward making it real.

Comment by Brett Tue Oct 13 16:02:56 2015

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.