An important part of our philosophy in trying to live as self-sufficiently as is reasonable is to raise and provide our own meat. Sara and I are in a fortunate position to have friends who have a bit of property and are crazy enough to allow us to agist some of our cows, sheep, and pigs in a co-operative, mutually beneficial way. As we always say, self-sufficiency is best achieved within a community of friends, and not by isolation.
Typically we slaughter and butcher the smaller animals - sheep, chickens, pigs - on our own but cows are on another scale and so we bring in Jamie Thompson, a mobile butcher (Paddock to plate, 0400 859 898) who operates from Bendigo, to do the heavy and skilled work and to ensure that the cow does not suffer at all in the process. We do name our animals and, of course, we become very fond of them, but we do eat them and sometimes refer to them when we eat them. We are not vegetarians but we do reverence the animal and respect it by ensuring that there is no waste and that the animal is able to live a life where it is able to express its own nature - cows grazing in the paddocks and nursing their calves, chooks scratching the ground and having dust baths, pigs rooting in the ground and eating acorns etc.
Thanks to Pauline and Chloe who helped with the packing of the meat on the day, and to Colin for allowing us to agist our animals on his property.
David and Sara