Sunday, August 22, 2010

Killing Fields

Maybe I'm strange ("no maybe," says Virginia), but isn't it ridiculous how we, as individuals, expand our tiny portions of the world into monstrous importance?  As thoughtful and considerate as we can be on normal days, illness or simply "getting up on the wrong side of the mattress" can turn us into self-centered jerks.

I had to laugh at myself this weekend.  Elk Cliff Farm has temporarily turned into the killing field, as we suffer our turkeys into freezer wrap.  I think I've mentioned our "deal" -- our hope to make this project of ours as self-sufficient as practicable, and if we can't do the killing then maybe we should stop eating meat.

That part is not fun, even though our turkeys have done their best to persuade us not to like them.  They don't turn in nicely at night like chickens do, so because we don't want them making deposits all over the goat barn (including the milking stall) we coax them, cajole them and often toss them in the direction they need to go.  In the process they're likely to scratch a little human flesh or strain a little muscle (ours).  Whenever we're around, they like to check everything out, with their beaks.

I don't mind the cutting and packaging so much.  What's not fun are the involuntary shudders, mouthing and flapping that precede peacefully shuttered eyelids.  If you're a vegetarian PETA member, I can understand your position.  If you're into animal rights, yet fill your refrigerator with fine cuts from the deli counter, then I don't understand your hypocrisy.  That's what made me laugh at myself yesterday afternoon -- as if there's any connection between your lifestyle choices and my decision to not eat meat unless I can play the role of the butcher you might wish to deny exists.  See, there I am, making that connection again.   

A picture may be worth a million words.  Look down below, near the middle, where the neat double row of American boxwoods leads from the front of our house down to the road.  See the row of trees a little to the left?  There we are with the turkeys.
"Very nicely done," says Virginia.  "You've left it to our imaginations."

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