A friend made a Facebook comment a while back that got me thinking. It actually stirred up about 3 or 4 blog posts that I know we need to make, but I really wanted to address the reason why I take as many pictures as I do of my animals.
He mentioned that when he was growing up on farms, there were not a lot of pictures being taken. Then my brain starting wondering about the statement. Of course, we can attribute much of it to so many people having a camera in their back pocket these days. I think I probably use my cell phone more for the camera than I do for talking. Back “in the day” cameras were a luxury and you had to send the film off for developing. Today it's instant and immediate. I am one of those people who sees something and wants to put it out there for all world to see. Snap that shot and upload it to Instagram and Facebook accounts simultaneously – yup, that’s me folks.
When we were in the talking stages about buying property Mark did the technical, scientific, and scholarly research. I read blogs and message boards. We compared notes about what the other learned, and decided that when we had our farm we would start a blog. The main purpose of our blog is a journal for us. With our family and friends spread all over the world, what better way to share our triumphs, tribulations and the occasional outright failure than to put it all out there. I still continue to read and learn so much from blogs – the folks who have been there, done that. I want to share our journey so that hopefully some young couple 5 or 10 years from now will stumble upon our blog and know that it’s possible for anyone to live their dream.
I take the hundreds of photos that I do for a couple of reasons. First and most important is to document where we have been and what we are doing. Another reason why I started was to change the view of our livestock. When we told people we were going to raise goats there were some comments that were not favorable. Many people have ill-conceived notions about goats, and I wanted to change that view. I like to think I have converted a few.
To some people there is a downside, but for us, this is our business plan and the future of Must Bee Kiddin’ Farm. We are raising meat goats. We are raising livestock. We are not raising pets. Oh sure, if we win the Powerball then I can afford to keep every goat as a special pet, but currently that’s just not possible. Some of the goats that we are caring for will not spend their entire lives on our farm. Some might. Many of the goats will wind up being sent to an auction, sold to someone who is looking for meat to feed his family or for a special occasion, bought for a pet, or sent to the slaughterhouse so that we can sell the meat off of our farm.
Another reason we chose the name Must Bee Kiddin’ as our farm name is because in order to meet those market demands and make a profit, we will always need those new kids.
I think back to the small town where I grew up. On the outskirts were a lot of farms, some small, some large. I loved the big red, weathered looking barns and silos. I loved the rolling green hills dotted by dairy cows with swollen udders or big fat meat cows that would grace a dinner table and fill many freezers one day. I can still hear and smell the farms in my mind many, many years later. The animals were well cared for, but were a source of income and food for the family who raised them.
I wish I could find the exact quote, but I cannot. There is a farmer in Virginia named Joe Salatin who was talking about how he cares for his livestock. He said something like, he gives them great lives, treats them very well, and they have one bad day – that would be the day of their slaughter. What would our lives as human beings be if we only had one bad day?
I will not lie and say that it’s going to be easy the day my bottle baby goat leaves the farm – however she goes and whatever her purpose will be. I never one time thought that just because she had this special treatment, that that would somehow change her fate. I was just that person who raised her, and helped her to fulfill her goat purpose in her life. We are currently discussing selling her soon, along with her twin sister. They are very friendly goats, but they do not fit the Must Bee Kiddin’ Farm program goals. To put it in sports terms, there isn’t enough room on the roster and they have to be cut from the team.
Have you ever thought about where your food comes from? I would like for you each to do one thing for me. Next time you bake that chicken or fry that pork chop or slap that bacon next to those eggs – think about where all that food comes from. Think about what kinds of lives those animals live and what conditions they endured every day. Think about how they were treated and what they were fed to simply keep them alive. All the antibiotics and steroids that were being injected or fed to them. Now, ask yourself if you would rather eat something that you know lives a better and cleaner life?
So, I guess what my ultimate purpose in taking those hundreds of pictures that I do of my livestock is that I can show potential customers how their food lives. I am not ashamed of their conditions, and am proud of how I treat my animals. I will continue to post photos and share what we do at Must Bee Kiddin’ Farm. Why? Because we want people to know where their food comes from. //tr
If you are interested in more photos, you can always follow me on Instagram: @tuesdayriegen
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.