Barn Love

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Thanksgiving Dilemma

I have a problem.

You see, earlier this year we decided that after a few years of friends asking us to grow turkeys that we would actually do it. I've tried my best not to think about their impending move from my back yard to my dinner table, but I'm having a hard time with it.

From the day that they were delivered I told myself that I wasn't going to get attached to them, and that I wouldn't let our son get too attached either.

But, how you can you not look at these little balls of fluff and think of how adorable they look?

I know, I know....  people have grown their own food since the beginning of time. There is a hunter and the hunted. Yes, I get it, but for some reason that doesn't make this process any easier on my end.

I've felt like an absentee wife. I always try to help with the "chores" around the farm in terms of feeding the chickens extra food, planting/picking the garden, etc.  Though, with these poults, I distanced myself from day one, as if me not being involved would actually change the fact that one of them will wind up in my oven.

Part of me feels as though I'm being completely unreasonable. Even though I'm an animal lover at heart, living on the farm has toughened me up quite a bit. I have to be tough, there is life and death all around us. I can only allow myself to think that the goslings and the fox pups are adorable for a limited time until I realize that they really can't coexist very well. I've shed my fair share of tears over things I can't control.  But this, this, is something that we did on purpose. We bought these birds with the intent to kill them.

The other part feels completely awesome and hardcore about it.  It's just another adventure in the many adventures I've had being the "farmer's wife".   We didn't go to Whole Foods to buy our organic turkey, we grew our own! I know what they've been eating, I know that they aren't full of nasty hormones. I know all of the benefits.  Though, unlike that turkey at Whole Foods, I didn't see them like this.

Our once fluffy and cute poults are now full grown turkeys.  These days they are UGLY and stinky, so that makes "the deed" a little easier.  We know which ones are toms and which ones are hens, I know which one Jeff stepped on (by accident of course) and now has a messed up foot. Should it be the one that we choose to eat, the one that I've felt some sort of sympathy for the whole time? Who knows?

I haven't even touched on the fact that I KNOW as sure as I know my name, that our son is going to pick up on the fact that we're having turkey for dinner and that the turkeys that have been around for the better part of the year are now suddenly missing.  We aren't worried about scarring him, but it still makes me a little sad inside. Think about all of the people that you know, and at least one of them has some sort of story about how their grandmother, mother, who ever would go out to the chicken coop and pick one for Sunday dinner. Those people aren't any worse for the wear - or so it seems.

My mother is already boycotting Thanksgiving. I'm trying to convince her (and perhaps maybe myself) that this isn't so bad. That ALL of the turkeys that get eaten on Thanksgiving were slaughtered by someone, or worse, some machine. I'm trying to convince her that our turkeys are going to be "so much better" than the ones that were raised with thousands of others in horrible and filthy conditions - because they are. That we are going to process them as humanely as possible. That we had a bunch of our friends ask us to do this, so we did. That I, not our son, am not going to be scarred by this experience.

As much as I tell myself that I can do this - that I can not only help my husband process these innocent birds, but to also enjoy it as the crown jewel of our Thanksgiving meal, the truth is, I'm not so sure.

....  and to our friends that wanted us to do this - please don't back out now.

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