It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We're Home, I'm Glad, But Cranky

I'm home and I'm glad.

I'm glad to be back in the company of Dirt, glad for being surrounded with familiarity. A change freak, party girl, recognizes that she needs, needs, familiarity and quiet.

If you desire to see the cute and fuzzy side of the fair check out Kathy's Spot on Cedar Pond, she has lots of great pictures, they are very nice and show why we go to the fair. I however am a Grinch and need to unload some nonsense here, I just gotta get it off my chest.

It's funny I didn't even care about the serious minded silly questions such as: Do turkeys lay eggs? Do you need a female to have young? Okay the guy who had these questions was well dressed and well groomed but clearly had a common sense disconnect, he had similar off the wall questions for the dwarf goat people. (take that D.M. fans)

Or the fellow who insisted that turkeys really must be holding their breath after asking if turkeys held their breath to turn purple and puff up. It was explained to him that it was a blood flow thing based on hormones, only toms do this not the hens. But no, he couldn't believe it because his face doesn't turn blue. Well there ya go, clearly the turkey is holding his breath for ten plus minutes, they should have been turtles. But really these questions are silly and embarrassing to answer in mixed company but they are fuel for jokes and some what understandable. But definitely not irritating.

What got to me?

It was the constant, and I mean constant, barrage of comments about how the current visitor does not eat meat.

Or meat that resembles what it came from.

Or they can't know that their meat came from a live animal.

Ohh. Please. Stop.

I would rather have a zillion awkward conversations about the breeding practices of our toms than deal with folks coming in the barn and hating meat eaters, honest meat eaters.

More than one series of questions went down in this manner:

"uh, why do you have these, uh, turkeys?"

"Well we raise them to produce meat."

"Ohh! You kill them, that's horrible." followed quickly by "Why would you kill your pet?"

"Because they are not pets. The reason we raise them is strictly to eat them, feathers and seeing them in our pasture is secondary." We would answer in varying fashion.

"That is awful"

Now here is where we split in one of two directions.

The first is to continue to berate me for feeding my hateful self on meat.

The other is to say that I am a cruel and nearly wicked person for actually knowing the live animal from which my meat came.

The first direction I can live with. It is at least consistent but then I was wondering what they were doing in a barn filled with animals that exist mainly for that purpose. Please, hang out at the zoo, they have zebras and all sorts of violent green information. Most zoos even have a "farm" which is inhabited by "rescued" farm animals that should have been culled (read "eaten").

It is the second group, the "I can't believe you eat an animal that you knew". "I can't believe that you just don't get your meat from an unidentifiable package like me."

These are the ones that make me wish to scream.

Or people who are coming through with an ice cream decrying our eating of meat. Not, of course, willing to accept the fact that in order to get their ice cream the cow must be bred. Which produces a calf that isn't always a heifer destined to produce milk. What do they think farmers do with the calves that are born in order to make their ice cream, milk or cheese? But maybe those ice cream lickers eat beef but just have issues with turkey meat.

I was applauded because we free range our turkeys. My applauder, she told me, had been in the cow barn, just minutes prior, weeping for the cows that were tied to a stall area.

I get it. I raise animals in a more sustainable, open range manner. I don't care to eat meat pumped full of questionable stuff so I would prefer not to sell it to someone else. But trust me our animals primarily free range because its the way we farm and it shows up in the flavor and the decrease in expense. As does every single other animal at the fair.

Look, no so called factory farmer would be at the fair. They have to, have to, practice bio-security and the people going through the fair would spread far more disease to them than the modern over sterilized child could get from them. Farmers who confinement farm, either poultry or swine or bovines, do not, cannot risk bringing their animal to the fair. The animal they would bring would not last in the barn for five days and would take back germs and bugs that would decimate the rest of the farm. And while free ranging decreases my expenses it would greatly increase a large farmer's especially in certain livestock and poultry.

But we, the consumer, have created the need for the "factory farmer" that we now insist must stop and convert. The entire country over consumes, some actually eat to much, some are amazingly wasteful. Dirt and I had an opportunity to take in one each of a professional basketball, baseball, football game. We were astounded by the waste at the events. Families with children would order a full meal and huge drinks for each member and leave enough to feed a family that size again twice over.

We, our society, pretty much across the board, use food as a source of entertainment and example of wealth. Food always has been a sign of wealth only now the moderately wealthy desire more to display a level of wealth they don't have than to live moderately. And it doesn't even need to be a public display because mostly it is ourselves that we have to convince the most.

This is a train wreck that has been coming for a long time and no one really is addressing the issues correctly. High school teachers who really don't understand the issue show films designed to incite enraged reactions instead of well thought out solutions. Animals are imbued with human level of importance in classrooms and now an entire network is devoted to the insane elevation of animals, fueled by the misunderstanding of what is the problem with today's agricultural problems and the solutions. Diet for a Small Planet fans think that cows are stealing food from the mouths of starving children. It is warring neighbors who keep the food from the mouths of the world's helpless and defenseless. Grazing animals eat food products that people cannot obtain sustainable nutrition from. And this misunderstanding is reflected in the nonsensical behavior of the common fairgoer, but entirely impossible to be addressed by the common fair exhibitor in the five second exchange between the two.

So I am glad for the more frequent fair goer that expresses the desire to pop one of the lovely birds in the oven, minus the feathers, and set in on the dinner table. And enjoy.

The children who gobbled at my laid back turkeys.

And a bunch more, that I'll post tomorrow, that made the fair all worth it. I love going to the fair. I just wish America wasn't so mislead and mis-educated.


KathyB. said...

Thanks Lanny for stating what almost all farm animal exhibitors and farmers feel. Unfortunately, because our fairs depend on the monetary outcome of the fair, they forgo standing firm and backing farmers by NOT allowing us to proclaim the real reason we raise the animals and the fact that the mind set of so many in the last generation is really helping to bring about the downfall of availability of the average American to afford an even decent meal of meat and potatoes.But hey.."Let them eat cake ..." KathyB.

Dr.John said...

Well said. I applaud your frank statements.

Amber Star said...

High five, Lanny! You said it just right and I was glad to read it. I truly appreciate a good turkey at Thanksgiving and don't think a tofu turkey would work for me or my family. God gave me canine teeth and a body that needs protein and iron and I intend to eat meat, fish, and fowl i order to get it.