Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cold Weather Chores

2014 01 25 Cold Weather ChoresWhile a lot of my blogging friends have written about the cold weather, AJ and I were able to take a break with some great friends down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. When we left Des Moines, it was a whopping -14 degrees (that does not include wind-chill!).

We got to Punta Cana at 4:30 pm that day (Punta Cana time) and it was 89 degrees ABOVE ZERO! Yea, it was awesome. We had a great time. Besides getting sick, it was a beautiful trip. I had hoped to see some of the Dominican Republic agriculture, but didn't quite make it. Maybe next time!

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This week I am switching places with AJ, and I am doing chores (he had a small surgery and has some stitches to care for). I've done chores before and I used to help outside on the farm. But that was before we had kids. Now, my main chore on our farm is our kids. :) I am excited for our switch, but we also have some cold weather to deal with!

My experience so far has been more challenging that I had imagined. Friday was my first full day of doing chores by myself. Of course, the water tanks were frozen up, and we had a calf die (ironically, On The Banks of Squaw Creek wrote about "sentiment" and "sentimentality" on the farm that day.  Read it, I agree with her!). Friday, I started chores at 8 am and finally finished up at noon. I was exhausted! This morning I went out to do chores at 8 and was back in by 10 (I even had to load the feed truck!). By the end of this, I will be a pro :)

Here are some things that I am learning:

  • I need better gloves, stocking hats, socks, and long underwear. It is cold outside.
  • I need to lift more weights in the 'off season.' Going in and out of the loader, trying to load a 150 pound calf in the loader bucket, scooping out feed bunks, and crawling over gates has taught me that I'm more out of shape than I thought!
  • I need a handkerchief. You can only wipe your nose with your hand and wipe it on your jeans so long before your nose gets sore.
  • I need to remember my Bluetooth for questions (and to charge my phone up). This morning I had my Bluetooth and phone charged so when I called AJ with questions I had both hands handy! :)
  • I need a better attitude at times. When I was having trouble yesterday, I was getting mad. I'm pretty sure I waste more energy when I get mad. I need to just move on.
  • When the weather is windy and cold, chores will take a little longer.

Some cool things about chores:

  • The beautiful winter mornings.
  • The equipment that I get to use. 
  • The calves and pigs :)
  • Felfies (Farmer Selfie).  They are the cool thing to do!

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meat Guilt?

An interesting question came up the other day: Should we, and do we, feel guilty for eating meat? Well, for me - absolutely not. The only time I ever feel guilty for eating meat is when I don't finish all of it on my plate! I was raised on a farm. I've always known that the calf in the feed yard or the fat hog in the pen was going on my plate!

Another thought of why I'm not guilt-ridden is that humans have been eating meat for 1.5 million years ( Humans were historically hunters and gatherers. In order to live they had to hunt for their food. They had to follow the animals that provided their food, clothing, and shelter.  As cultivation technology evolved they were able to stay in one area and grow their own food. Thus came this super fantastic career that is now known as farming!  Agriculture has evolved to today: where it takes very small amount of people on a very small amount of land to feed the world. We are lucky to have our food brought to us in a store. It is safe and put into a pretty package. Instead of spending our day hunting our food, we can now wonder whether or not we should feel guilty about eating our steak! 

Instead of feeling guilty, here are 8 things to keep in mind for guilt free meat eating:

This post was part of a series hosted by Katie of On the Banks of Squaw Creek.  If you’re interested in reading more about guilt-free meat eating, check out:

1. We've been eating meat for 1.5 million years.

2. Eating meat made us smarter

3. We were born to eat meat.

4. Meat provides us with nutrients we can't easily get elsewhere

5. Farms are lowering their carbon footprint.

6. 96% of farms are family farms

7. Farm animals are not the same as pets.

8. Bacon, steak and Thanksgiving

Are you hungry for some meat yet? I know I am! :)