This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went “Wee, wee, wee,” all the way home.
This little piggy, finger and toe, nursery rhyme of the late 18th century snapped into my mind when, at the crack of dawn, I heard the rattle of a borrowed-from-a-neighbour tandem axle stock trailer, hauled by the WestWind Farm’s truck, pull out our country lane. Within it were a number of market weight, pasture fed, large black Berkshire hogs, heading to the abattoir.
The fact is that by the time WestWind Farm’s truck returns home each of the hogs will have been sent to Berkshire heaven, their carcasses hanging side by side in the cooler, waiting in turn for the chopping block. There to be cut up into rump roasts, pork chops, side bacon, back bacon and ground into a pleasantly spiced sausage. So goes the route of all animals raised to feed the ever growing population of our nations.
If solace can be garnered regarding the fate of animals raised for food on human tables, there is no better place than at WestWind Farms, where the care, comfort and freedom of pasture raised animals can be witnessed first hand. There they wander, romp, root, roll, frolic, grunt, groan and roam in large paddocks and pastures enjoying the sun, wind, rain and shade.
Their life is considerably extended as it takes longer to reach market weight. With animals fed no growth hormones, the meat is more evenly marbled with fat, leaving a premium taste that just cannot be matched by feedlot animals. Once you try it, and see the comfort in which the animals are raised, I’m sure you will find no reason to question the slight increase in price.
As I sit on the front porch sucking on a left over ice cube from a clear, cold, chlorine-free, farm well water drink, I can see the very last square bale of first cut hay going up the elevator to be stored high up in the upper reaches of the barn. The sky had just recently clouded over with a promise of a much needed rain, leaving an ambient feeling that only a satisfied farmer can feel deep within his bones.
On the hillside I could see Bonnie, one of our great Pyrenees, flop down on her side as she watched the herd of goats browsing quickly up the hillside in her direction. When they reached where she lay the whole flock, within counted-on-one-hand moments, all lay down, closely gathered around her. They seemed quite content to rest a while under overcast skies and chew, as goats do, their cuds.
From the distance, in number four garden, where the hilled white pumpkins grow, I can hear the plaintive shore bird call of the killdeer repeated again and again. It is my hope that this is the spot she has chosen to lay her second clutch of four eggs, the first having been destroyed unseen by the heavy cultivator and disc equipment. The pumpkins are just starting to vine, so I feel she will be quite safe there throughout the 28-day incubation period.
From the tip top branch of the tall blue spruce, circled by hostas, just across our drive a robin is repeating its rain song. There is no better feeling than the pitter patter of rain on the roof with the last bale of hay in the mow. Perhaps I should just throw my cane aside and get out there and do a proverbial rain dance.
I am told by those in the know that a rain dance, if success is expected, must be done while the feet are bare – right up to, and including, your ear lobes. Perhaps this dance should be performed, beyond the bee yard, around the fire-pit, back by our out-of -sight pond.
Take care, ‘cause we care.