Community has always been a big one for me. I spent the first few years of my adult life clambering through friendships- working so hard to establish what I so badly wanted but not quite finding my stride. With time, growth, and expansion of our community my people came and suddenly the desire to fit in melted away.
And then we bought our farm and we got to bring this community who is so steadfast and supportive along with us on our new venture and we all get to learn, and brainstorm, and educate each other, and sustain together. And it's beautiful!
Our first "public" Spring Broiler Butcher was all this and more. We had five families come out over the course of two days and "get their hands dirty". Every adult at the very least watched the process and saw exactly where their food came from, and most contributed to the process, learning new skills along the way.
A gaggle of children ran around both days, on Saturday we have seven little ones running around and curiously watching the operation. Most were completely unphased by the butchering- blood, guts, and all. When concerns or anxieties arose there were lots of adults nearby to explain and ask questions about their experience, mamas giving a gentle hug.
I may run a lot of the logistics of our farm- website, events, planning, organization, finances- but when the work is on the front end and we're gettin' down and farmin' Jason shines.
He set up our whole butcher station, which he pretty well figured out last year when we first butchered. Easy up goes up for protection against the elements, cone station for our chopping block, sink and counters, coolers, ice, etc. are all set up by Jason the day before. Day of he's out making final touches-setting up water and getting knives, heating the water for scalding the birds- all of it. As people file in, he helps get people started, mostly by leading by example and letting everyone watch until they feel comfortable jumping in.
There is no pressure, no expectation to know anything, no mistake that can't be corrected, and however anyone is willing and able to help is appreciated.
As attendees become more comfortable and ready to try their hand and butchering, gutting, or packaging, Jason walks them through every step, often working alongside folks as they get the swing of it.
Events like this one are where Jason shines in his ability to gently lead the way and provide helpful feedback.
Now our next batch of babies are out on fresh pasture, eating, scratching, and pecking away until mid-July when they will head to the freezer.
There is an under appreciated value to home butchering and animal rearing. When it's your time spent moving chickens daily, bringing feed and water, and tending any issues that arise on the way, there's an investment in this process that simply cannot exist from store-bought food.
I believe every person who attends a butcher day feels the weight of the responsibility of ethical animal stewardship and care, and there is a deep appreciation for the life given to nurture our bodies.
As we harvest, saving the livers, necks, feet, and hearts for various uses, I am always incredibly thankful we not only have this amazing, life giving nourishment, but that we also have the ability to do this work and share with others.
I couldn't be more pleased to be doing this work and offering it to our community, and I know Jason feels the same.
Thank you to everyone who contributes to our butcher days!