Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Announcements: One Practical, One Exciting

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch or join us as our family of 6 eats on $6/day.

First--drum roll please--I've finally gotten all of my recipes indexed into a recipe list. You'll find it over on the right side of the blog, listed under, shockingly enough, "Recipes." Go on, have a look. And if anything's goofy, let me know. Much of it was done, um, rather late at night. I kept catching gross alphabetization errors that I'd committed. Feel free to point that, or anything else,  out in the comments.


...we got ducklings yesterday. Six darling ducklings. We chose Pekin ducks which mature into white feathered, yellow beaked adults. Our original plan was to have them as pets while they were small and then to allow them to become wild in the pond and vegetation behind our house. But then I became enamored with the idea of duck eggs. So our plan hatched--ha, I crack me up--haha I cracked me up again...Ahem, sorry about that. Anyway, our plan evolved into one in which the ducks become kind of wild--they learn to forage and search for food behind our house and to pretty much take care of themselves, but we will build them a nesting spot so they can come and lay and we can enjoy their eggs. (They're supposed to be bad setters--they don't like to sit on and hatch their own eggs--so I don't even have to feel guilty about taking the eggs.) Kip also wants them to love us and follow us around and call us George.

We'll see how that plan goes. It might be a little too perfect to actually work. We might end up with ducks dependent on us for food and shelter, or ducks who wander off and do their own thing, or ducks who refuse to lay an egg in any spot locateable by humans at all, no matter how we try to coax them. But for now, they're awfully cute.

In the midst of this duck getting, I've been reading An Omnivore's Dilemna by Michael Pollan. It's been an interesting combination of events. The omnivore's dilemna is, simply put, that we as omnivores have many choices about what to eat, so it's up to us to make the best choices, ones that don't damange our health or destroy the environment upon which we depend. Pollan researches and explores various types of farm--vegetative and aminal; standard and organic, large scale and small scale. And although, in certain ways, Pollan and I are worlds apart politically, our views about food have very much in common. Pollan paints some ugly pictures (and he's certainly not the only one to have done so) about the way large scale industrial animal farming is done--teeny tiny boxes of pens, animals mired in layers of feces, mental and physical animal disease. I'll spare you the details at present and leave you to read them on your own (which I highly recommend). My point (thought I didn't have one, didn't you?) in all this is that already in my barely 24 hours as the owner of a small flock, I've realized something: I care about the ducks. They are in sight, part of our household. This type of intimacy with the things we eat was something that nearly every household experienced until only very recently. And I'm beginning to realize that when we know the animals that are producing our foods, they demand a type of care and respect that cannot be demanded or expected in large scale animal "farming" and production--a type of animal production that is so far removed that we simply forget about it.

Of course we can't all have ducks or chickens or goats or cows. Even if we could some would not want to. I don't see a problem with that at all. As long as we remain mindful of that which we eat. Which, I guess is my question. How do we remain mindful of the foods we eat? How do we take care of them? Especially on the cheap. Especially when it seems that large scale animal producers want us to forget and just eat our meat, like good children. Anybody have any great ideas? Links to good local or other sources? I'd love to hear about them.


  1. We get 10 lbs of meat and 3 doz eggs from the Stonewall Farm CSA every month. It's not enough meat for a month, but it makes me cook things I normally wouldn't... If we had more than one person who could tolerate dairy in our family, we'd get raw milk from Rosehill Dairy, but since it's just Leah I buy her organic milk instead :)

  2. We want to come play with the that allowed, or would it traumatize them?

  3. Thanks, Brooke. I've been meaning to check them out. Their meat is purely grass-fed, right?

    And, Diana, yes you can come play with them. I hear that the more interaction they get with people and kids, the nicer and tamer they'll become.

  4. Stonewall has some beef at RCF now. I bought a lb of their ground and a lb of Fisher and did a taste test comparison (I needed 2lb anyway for a big batch of soup, so I just cooked them separately so I could test). The Stonewall did taste better to me, but it also cost almost $1 more per pound.

    I didn't like the Omnivore's Dilemma but I only read part of it and quit (I'm a quitter). I felt like he was being so preachy about the sanctity of animal life and I was afraid it'd continue like that (pro-vegetarian, not that there's anything wrong with that... I'm just sure I am never going to convert to that church).

  5. Don't worry, Heather, in Omnivore's Dilemna, he manages to kill several chickens and hunt a wild boar without remorse, so it's not too pro-vegetarian, although Pollen can totally be preachy. I'll have to give the Stonewall a shot, though probably not this month:).



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