Eating Leif

FACTS: 1 degree at 7 a.m..  Milked out two gallons for Huckleberry and a little shy of two gallons for me.  Collected 7 eggs.  Princess locked in with chicks due to low temps.  New gate that DH made yesterday for stall/hall point is wonderful.  Repairs to hay feeder and wash bucket equally appreciated.  And DH took advantage of frozen ground to empty manure trailer this morning.


This morning I was frying up a pan of breakfast sausage and thinking about Leif, the pig, who was now the pork.  Leif was our first pig.  My husband and daughter went to a pig scramble in Springfield, ME and she caught Leif.  It was love at first sight, not for me; for my daughter.  She taught Leif to sit, come, and dance within days.  The fact that we intended to eat my daughter’s pet disturbed every visitor that came and saw the unquestionable bond between pig and child.  And frankly,  it disturbed me.  At the end of this trail was pain.

“How can you do it?”

“Don’t you get attached?”

“Don’t you feel mean?”

“Don’t the kids cry?”

“How ever can you do it?”

I’ve been asked these questions innumerberable times in the past five years.

I do get attached.  The kids do cry.  I cry.

Every time I’ve cooked sausage, ribs, roasts, and liver, from Leif I’ve thought of him.  Giving him a wonderful life, giving him love, and giving him a humane death do not negate the pain.  The pain of losing something we cared for, something we loved, and something we butchered, all hurt.  The satisfaction of serving my family food that was raised outside of the massive food production system does not negate the pain.  Those things help me, and my family, accept the pain on an intellectual level, but on a deeper level the pain exists.

And I’m okay with that.

Life is full of stuff that requires acceptance.

Take a leap here with me.

We’ve had lots of stuffy noses in the house this week so I’m hearing lots of blowing.  In fact, I’ve spent $2.99 per box for 3 boxes of tissues.  My Dad uses a handkerchief.  He blows long and hard, neatly folds up the handkerchief, and tucks the wet mess into his pocket.  In ten minutes he might find a dry corner in the handkerchief and blow again.  I wonder, if, we, as a society, started to toss our tears, and our loves, and our attachments out of our lives at the same time that we began to blow our boogies into tissues and toss them into the trashcan instead of into handkerchiefs?

My husband said I can not wrap up the complexity of butchering my beloved animals in a handkerchief and just leave it at that.   He said that bringing up mucus when talking about food and death is just gross  – and he is right. It is gross.  But think about that handkerchief for just one minute – wrapping up grossness, and putting it in your pocket, walking around with it, reaching in and pulling it back out  – now that is acceptance.

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