Thoughts on eating meat.

I’ve raved about the fresh ham I cooked from Rock House Farm.  We ate it again last night and I made a loaf of beer bread to go with it.  I mentioned here here or on Facebook that I found another really good cookbook, River Cottage Every Day which book got me thinking again about baking bread.  We first ate the fresh ham Monday night and I commented that fresh bread would be a good accompaniment.  Beer bread is remarkably easy to make.  I was using the recipe on Farm Girl Fare, but I found this one and tried it last night.  It resulted in a very hardy, rustic loaf of bread with a lot of hoppy flavor to it.  Maybe it was just the beer I used.

Anyway, that fresh ham, even though it was on sale, was expensive.  It cost me $20.  That seems like a lot of money for one meal and it is, unless you figure if Wally and I go out for breakfast, the bill for the two of us is right about $20, that’s for one meal of factory-farmed meat and eggs.  Not such a great deal if you ask me.

So, for $20 for the meat plus the cost of the vegetables and other ingredients, we got a soul-satisfying meal.  There are some leftovers today, not enough for another meal and I’ll probably mix that with some eggs and give it to the dogs.  Why would I give such expensive food to the dogs?  Because the two of them are worth their weight in gold for all they do around the farm.  Besides, what they are getting is more broth and vegetables than anything else.

Wally and I raise a good bit of the meat that we eat.  The only meat that I buy in the grocery store now is chicken and that’s going to change this year once I get the meat chicken thing in order.  Right now, I hate raising chickens.  They are dirty pains in the butts, but at least they don’t run you down or kick you.  They do bite (peck) and scratch and they shit on you.  Oh well.

Since we raise our meat, we eat more of it than what we would if we had to buy it.  The ham that I cooked extended out a two and a half pound piece of meat over two meals, I probably could have extended it to three if I tried.  I know that the pig that the ham came from was raised very ethically and the meat was probably some of the healthiest that we can eat.  If we were to eat pork from, say, Smithfield, we might as well eat pork-flavored cardboard.

So I think, even if it’s meat that we’ve raised and have a relatively large supply of, I’ll try to stretch the meat out to more meals.  That’s really more sustainable.

We are going to go and pick up the Jersey bull that I mentioned yesterday.  Wally went to look at him yesterday afternoon and called me to tell me it was sealed deal.  He’s in good shape.  He’ll have to return to the School of Gel and the Stock Stick because he’s spoiled and rowdy, but he should be okay.  Just taking the grain away from him will help.  He’ll have a companion in the pasture (he’s alone now) and lots of beautiful grass to eat.  I’m excited for the time that we do take him to be processed and get the meat back with our farm name on it!

We keep going back and forth about raising pigs and I think we’d be better off not raising them and buying our pork from Rock House Farm.  They are better able to keep their pigs pastured than we are; we can raise them in an enclosure and feed them milk, whey, vegetables, etc. and they’ll be tasty, but I don’t think they’ll have as much taste or be as good for us as those raised by Rock House Farm.

Last night, I went down into the back pasture and cut down some milk thistle for the rabbits.  Amazingly, they eat the crap out of it!  I hate milk thistle in the pasture and now I have an outlet for it.  How cool is that?  We bought a pair of hedge clippers to use to cut down grass, kudzu and now milk thistle for the rabbits.  Even with thick gloves, I can’t handle it so I put in their cages using the clippers like tongs. I was shocked to come back an hour or so later to find the rabbits ate almost all of it.  Of course, about anything you put in the cage of piranhas gets eaten.

I put nest boxes in for two more does.  One of them immediately started nest building.  They are due the 28th.  I have two New Zealand does (bred, hopefully, to a Silver Fox buck) due the fifth, one is already making a nest.  Watching them hop around carrying grass and hay in their mouths makes me smile.

Well, it’s 6:30 and I probably better get going and get out to milk.  I don’t have to go anywhere today (I hope!) so their is a lot less pressure to get it done.

Until later …