She was three days old. Bouncy, adorable, and everything one would imagine a baby goat to be. She nibbled on the geraniums, went to inner city schools with me when I went to speak, played the piano, and loved her bottles. She stayed next to me as I read and thought herself a cat. She rather enjoyed rides in the truck and loved everyone.
We often have to learn things the hard way to realize what our true beliefs are. I had been vegetarian for twenty-five years and then vegan for an additional two years when we entered the farming scene head on and fell into line with all the other small farms around us. We started a small dairy. We increased our chicken family. We had many animals who all had to “earn their keep.”
Elsa got pregnant too early. When she gave birth, we took the baby away. (That is how people get the milk and not the infant) (and we were so thankful it was a girl because boys get killed in the dairy industry. Period.) She got mastitis and scabs on her udders. Instead of letting her heal and giving her another year, I quickly sold her to a family who ushered her into their minivan and were gone. For $250. It was only then that I realized in my farming fervor that I just sold our baby girl. Roosters I couldn’t get myself to eat came home plucked and beheaded for little reason. I have too many recipes out there that need to come down.
Many folks deter squirrels with cruel spinning feeders and squirrel proof this or that. We had a squirrel years ago that would throw his food bowl if it was empty after getting our attention! They are quite fascinating and sweet animals. Our life is certainly richer watching them play. They come quite near to receive their goodies.
Birds of all sorts gather around our third of an acre in the middle of the city. Scores of blackbirds, owls, hawks, eagles, sparrows, finches, and silly blue jays. Hummingbirds drink the nectar from the geraniums on the porch.
The chickens are named and are actually included in our holiday cards. They all have very different personalities, just like cats and dogs. My friend’s young turkey was killed. A few weeks later, the mother of the turkey died. She was depressed and had stopped eating. There is no difference (and it is only humans that have determined who is more worthy, who is food, who is equal) between the dog, the cats, the chickens, the squirrels, the blue jays, even the mice that steal a nibble here and there from the birds’ food bowl. They all have a right to live and be and I have no more right to be here than they. We are all walking upon mother earth.
At this time that we wish for peace on earth, let us remember these things. Not only will your health drastically improve, but your emotional state will be happier, anxiety disappears, your impact on the earth’s resources will lessen, and the very number of lives you will save and improve by not eating animals and by putting out some bird seed will be significant. That is how we get peace on earth. One life at a time. This mini-farm is a sanctuary, for me as much as them.
The Good, Good Pig by Sy Montgomery
Happily Ever Esther by Steve Jenkins
Living the Farm Sanctuary Life by Gene Baur