Today the last of the seasonal livestock left the farm today.
The last four lambs were loaded up into the back of the pickup truck (complete with topper to keep them from experiencing winter wind chill). Over the years, loading livestock has become much easier. When we began, it seemed like a long ordeal – we’d try to make all kinds of ramps to the back of the truck from the barn, try to slowly entice them into the truck with food. Eventually, a few would get in the truck, then they’d bolt out, or jump off the ramp and back into the pasture. Of course, we’d also neglect to tie up the dogs, and they’d enter the fray. Eventually, after period of disgust, bad language, and time periods of all-too-long nothingness, we’ve found the best way for us is to lure them in the barn with some corn, get two adults, and grab the lambs by the front and back legs and lift them into the back of the truck. Everyone seems more relaxed, and it is important that the animals, too, are relaxed as anybody who has read animal expert Temple Grandin knows.
It is a bittersweet time of year for us. We are very aware that the animals on our farm end up on someone’s table, often our own. We have no doubts that our method of farming allows animals the fresh air, water, natural grass-based diet and space they are accustomed to as a species of animal on this earth. Very few animals raised for food in the U.S. still have these rights. We are grateful to the animals for what they provide to us and recognize the sacrifices made so we can eat.