Thursday, November 21, 2013

November. And bunnies.

November marks the beginning of the holiday season for many, a season of joyful gratitude, wonderful friends, family and good food. This November also brings for us the first round of our newest project - bunnies. We scored a Copper Satin buck (pictured) a couple of months ago and he couldn't wait to get busy with the Californian girls we have. The results are these cute little gray and brown bunnies that will be ready to eat in another month or so.

Bunnies, like all of this farming stuff in general, are something that none of us grew up with (aside from maybe as house pets.) That said, there've been some good learning experiences for us. We are opting to raise them colony style, meaning no little cages and no separation of the male. So far so good, except the babies can still squeeze through the chainlink fence. We are trying to figure out a way to keep them in, but at least they come back every afternoon for food. We figure soon they won't be able to squeeze out any more.

C and E are enjoying having babies around, but they know better than to give them names at this point. While processing animals is still tough emotionally and physically, I really value everything that it's taught my children over the years. They have always known the value of a life taken for food, and they struggle with it sometimes. They know not to waste meat that's on their plate, and they understand why we choose not to eat meat at certain restaraunts.

Raising children in this way has also been an unexpected learning experience on life itself, and what death is. It's made me realize how much I missed out on this as a child. I remember my parents hiding a pet from me that had died, hoping to shelter my young heart. We adults that grow up in cities far removed from things like farms have this misconception that we are doing kids a favor by hiding uncomfortable realities from them. I think seeing these cycles- the beginnings and endings of life here- in plants and seasons and animals, teaches so much about these important truths of life. I always struggled with death as a child and young adult, and I believe that my children will understand and cope with this better because of the reality they've been raised in- the pain and the beauty that comes with it all.

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