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Cultivate Simple 54: Think Before You Eat

November 18th, 2013

Today we slaughtered our pigs. This event led to a discussion about our food, where it comes from, and what is involved in it finding its way to our table. We continue this conversation in the podcast.

I made a batch of these sourdough crackers to snack on during slaughter day and they were fantastic.
pig day
This picture perfectly portrays the somber nature of our day yesterday.

My friend Sierra from Picturing the Ordinary posted this yesterday:

words from a speech Theodore Roosevelt delivered in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the
man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could
have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena, whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error
and shortcoming; but who does actually
strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself
in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph
of high achievement, and who at the worst, if
he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”

Books of the Week

18 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 54: Think Before You Eat”
  1. Nebraska Dave on November 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Susy, great quote of the day. My version of that is much shorter. It goes something like this. “If you never make any mistakes in life, you aren’t doing much are you”. :0)

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on November 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Love your version, perfect!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Marina on November 18, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Come on everybody!
    Please listen to the podcast and reach in your pocket. Shame on Amazon, and to give no notice…
    I added to my $5 month subscription with $100 per year.
    If half of the readers of this blog would do give $5 per month, Chiot’s Run would be self funded!
    I wish we rural dwellers could boycott Amazon, but it sure saves us on gas and travel time…
    I still try and go local first, but use Amazon before driving 2 hours away.

    Reply to Marina's comment

    • Susy on November 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Yes I’m with you on the convenience of amazon sometimes. I also like that it does allow some small businesses to have an on-line presence because they can’t invest in a website and marketing of their own. We just purchased a killing cone for our poultry from a small Ohio business that sells through Amazon, no doubt they simply don’t have the skills, time & money to develop their own on-line shopping cart website.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Marina on November 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

        I am glad you reminded me of that aspect of Amazon’s business model.
        Thank you both for sharing your thoughts on slaughter day. I admire the way you respect everything you use, and the natural world in general.
        We get our meat locally, slaughtered humanely, and Holly, who grows grass fed beef and goats, tells me that it is fine for me to eat what she harvests, even if I do not want to kill myself.
        I was just in Philly, and I was deeply bothered when reminded how life in the urban environment detaches people from the source of their food.
        It seems impossible to extend our shared goals of consuming only local and organic food to millions of people who live crammed in cities.
        I live on 2 acres, surrounded by farms.
        You have 153.
        Some places, is the population density just too high to be sustained by local production?

        to Marina's comment

      • Susy on November 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

        Actually in my experience and with the experience of city dwelling friends, finding local, sustainable options is often easier in the big cities. Since there’s such a large marketplace, small farm will often travel in to the city markets and other places. In this day and age, finding local food is sadly easier in the city than in the rural areas. Back in Ohio I had to travel one hour each way to find a farmers market that carried local, organic produce. When I lived in Cincinnati, I could stop at Findlay market on my way home from work.

        to Susy's comment

      • Deb on November 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

        Could you let me know where you got the killking cone? I’d like to invest in one before we get to butchering too many more chickens. Thanks, since I’m in Ohio I’d like to help them. Thanks so much.

        to Deb's comment

  3. Misti Little on November 18, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’m only a few minutes in, but if you have to resort to selling something: COFFEE!

    Reply to Misti Little's comment

    • Misti Little on November 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Now that I’ve finished listening, as a vegetarian I will say that I was not offended, mostly because I’m a relatively new veg and I am also used to seeing my husband clean fish. I don’t think I could ever dispatch an animal myself and was very squeamish to even think of my husband dispatching the lobsters we would scuba dive for in Florida. If you’ve ever listened to the Chicken Thistle CoopCast, they discuss how their pigs to go freezer camp and talk about how they would do things different next time around, too.

      what a bummer about Amazon. I didn’t realize the affiliate monies could actually be large enough to be worthwhile. I know you said you didn’t make a lot with your calendars, but I think some of your photos would be worthwhile to turn into prints, cards or other gift items. And I’m totally not averse to advertising in a podcast, though some podcasts haven’t quite figured out how to adequately weave their sponsorships in, however I think y’all could do it well.

      Reply to Misti Little's comment

  4. denimflyz on November 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I live in a semi-urban/rural area of Western Nebraska. This summer, I was listening to a local news program and during some of the school year, the news did a piece on children in our local schools and what they knew about food, where it came from, and what it was. I almost fell out of my chair, and was totally shocked to find that our kids who live here in the middle of beef country, did not know where beef came from, what vegetables were, or where they came from and how they were grown and in what, and very, very few ever been on a farm. Shocked as we are rural here.
    It is hard to find good food here, even in Nebraska where I am at, the more bigger urban areas have better access than I do to farmer’s markets. Its all big box Wally here and I refuse to buy much from there period. I drive about an hour to purchase local beef, pork and cheese from a locker plant and then go to the local small grocer to get the balance of my pantry. I also buy from a large institutional wholesaler for my bulk items like flour, sugar and pantry items.
    I am sure your pork will be awesome and tasty for winter meals. Please keep up with your posting and podcasts, they are wonderful.

    Reply to denimflyz's comment

  5. Reid on November 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I love this quote. I came across it firsdt in the book, “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge.

    I am a Spanish teacher, and it perfectly portrays my daily work. I don’t always succeed in what I want to teach for the day. I’ve fallen on my face quite a bit in fact. I keep getting up however, and striving onward.

    I share this quote with my students too. It makes me think of the saying “If something is worth doing, and you want to do it well, it won’t be easy. Greater the work put in = greater the reward.”

    Props to Brian and Susy for being in the arena every day and doing the hard work. By them doing what they believe is best for the environment, is contagious to inspire the rest of us to make a difference. Little by little everything adds up to make a better world.

    Reply to Reid's comment

    • Susy on November 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      That’s a great book, loved it!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. amy on November 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    So very very proud of you two. Even though I don’t have the hoo hoos to do it any more…I do understand it as I lived on a farm for over 35 years… slaughtering all of our own meat. I think that is why I no longer choose to live that way…because the investment mentally is too great for me….but I admire you guys so much….You aren’t just talk…..You walk the walk….and that is important….to me…anyways. And why… I keep coming back to this blog day after day…. year after year.

    Reply to amy's comment

  7. DebbieB on November 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    There was such weight to this episode. I could feel it in your tone, your words, and the subject matter. You didn’t approach this lightly. Every action was taken after much thought, research, and decisiveness. I’m so glad that the pigs lived with YOU, and not on a factory farm with crappy feed and terrible conditions and fear and pain at the end of their lives.

    I can remember my friends at school, upon finding out that my dad was a deer hunter and that we actually ate “Bambi”, gave me a really hard time. They would make comments like, “You shouldn’t kill animals to get meat, you should buy it in a grocery like civilized people!” No amount of logic would sway them from their ignorance. Even as a child, I can remember thinking that at least we were honest about where our meat came from.

    Very disappointed in Amazon for their pulling of your affiliate account. Please explore other revenue avenues – the blog and podcast give lots of value on such a wide spectrum. I’m sorry that the calendars yield such a small amount – they’re so pretty! This year, though, I’ll make an extra donation rather than buying a calendar to support you guys, since the donation will go straight to you.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  8. Amy Svob on November 19, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Due to the Amazon situation I would like to see you put together a gardening calendar. What would be really cool is including a planting guide on various dates in it (like Martha Stewart does lol). I don’t know how many people are submitting to your podcast but I would be a first customer to purchase your annual calendar. Also what about selling ebooks? Do the seed companies offer any money from referrals? I hate to hear of this happening and LOVE listening to your podcasts. If you ever decide to allow interns to come I’d love to for a week. I did see a place in Michigan that customers pay to learn farm life and work on the farm. I’d pay to come :)

    Reply to Amy Svob's comment

  9. Eric Jewett on November 19, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I recently discovered this show and I am loving every episode. I recently retired from the military and I’m looking towards starting my own farm as a way to feed and take care of the family. Thank you folks for doing what you do and taking the time to share your experiences with us.

    I’m sorry to hear about the situation about Amazon and heard you discussing the price you pay for your site/services. I was wondering if you have ever looked into as a possible solution? I follow several tech podcasts and all seem to rave about the features, cost and inability to bring the sites down.

    Reply to Eric Jewett's comment

  10. Henry on November 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Thank You very much for this episode. I find it very reassuring that there are other people that have the same values that our family shares. For me as a meat eater, I feel that if I am not willing to experience the slaughter and butchering of the animals that I eat, then I should not be eating meat. We recently slaughtered some of our ducks, and somehow I found them much harder to slaughter than our chickens. Next year we are planning on raising hogs and partnering with a friend to raise a steer or two. We are working hard to build the community in our area of people who want to know where food comes from. We have been raising and slaughtering Chickens for 4 years now and we have helped several of our friends learn the process and share our methods and more importantly our mistakes.
    Thank You again for this podcast.
    PS Inspired by some of your posts my wife made Duck Breast Prosuito with one of the ducks that we slaughter and it is delicious.

    Reply to Henry's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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