Many days on the farm feel like we are fighting an uphill battle to be able to produce clean, healthy food for families who want to support small farms. Not the people who are content to stick with the status quo of supporting faceless mega farms and multinational corporations.
I usually don’t go off on a rant, but today I actually want to encourage small farmers and homesteaders to keep doing the right things. If we don’t stick together and fight for the freedom to raise food for our families and those families around us who want this food we will lose a very important part of our lives.
When a community has a vibrant collection of small farms that put their heart and soul, time and resources into producing quality food for the people of their regions, the “big guys” feel threatened in their pocketbook.
In Canada, our government sees small farms as a nuisance. Regulations, subsidies and the availability of financing generally favor mega, industrial farms. When a human health outbreak happens, the large corporations have the resources to shift blame down the food chain to the farms.
To add insult to injury we face the struggles that are just part of life. There is an old saying that I heard years ago: "If you have livestock, you also have dead stock." There can be crop failures due to circumstances beyond our control. Or the laying hens, who are supposed to be “weeding” a new garden plot, escape their fence and almost completely destroy your vegetable garden. I have found this to be so very true. Sometimes there is nothing we can do.
I have the majority of my hens and broilers out in the pasture in electric netting. For two weeks there had been no predator losses, but yesterday I found a broiler completely cleaned up except for the legs, neck and backbone. We always have ravens hanging around so I am assuming that one of them got a hankering for fresh chicken. Ravens can be quite aggressive sometimes.
Instead dwelling on the loss, I put on my thinking cap and try to come up with a solution. I have heard that geese will help to ward off aerial predation to some degree. So my geese are wandering around the yard mowing grass. I don’t need them all here so I will be taking a couple of them up there. At this time I am willing to give it a try as I don't want to lose any more broilers. They are ready to be butchered.
If a bird or animal becomes ill, there does come a point when you have to make the decision whether intervention is worth the time and money involved. If there is no hope of recovery, they will be put out of their misery. We take this example from the wild animals.
Over the years I have found that if we dwell on the negative our life becomes unbearable. But, if we can look at all the good that we have, our life becomes a blessing. Out of this blessing we can continue to be a blessing to people around us.
When we look around at our daily life we can find many blessing. Our chosen vocation of farming allows for daily interaction with nature and our animals that we raise for food.
These are just of few of the satisfying moments that happen in our daily life.
1. It is a satisfying feeling to see your animals moving to fresh pasture every day. To look back at the pasture they were on the day before and see the dung beetle activity breaking down the manure that adds fertility to our soils and the lush grass growth that is the results from this activity.
2. Having the hay all baled and ready for feeding the animals through the winter.
3. Seeing all the baby animals frisking around.
4. Providing local families with the same clean, delicious food that has kept our family healthy for many years.
I would love to hear what your challenges and solutions are. We can glean valuable information from each other. What works for one person might work for others. This is one way we can support each other in our small farm/homesteading adventure. So go ahead and add your thoughts in the comments below.
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