Some folks might wonder what hunting has to do with farming. An that's a fair question. On this farm, it's not only about growing a plant for profit. It's about so much more - about rooting to place, about finding a better way to incoporate new technologies and old forms of wisdom, about growing life giving plants, while also supporting the lives of the creatures of this place.
On Friday night, at 4:45pm I harvested a cow elk. The gift of the elk is a year's supply of meat for our family, no small offering and one that came with much pressure for me to succeed, and much appreciation to the elk for it's life - now shared with us. A communion of sorts. There are so many reasons I hunt, and they have evolved over the years, but from my youngest years wild game took on a sacramental element - the rituals of making sausage, of processing game, of eating with reverence and at high holidays, made a connective bond with food rivaled only by the harvest of fruits and vegetables.
When I was in college in Minnesota, I drove past the factory poultry and hog farms and swore off conventional meat. Jen joined me in that belief, and though we still find a beef burger or chicken strip on our plates at friend's houses, and out and about, in our home it is wild game, or bison from friend or family.
As the conversation about natural, grass-fed, organic meats continues, it remains that there is not more ethical and natural meat, in my understanding, than that that comes from animals that have evolved over millenia in a place. Elk convert the native plants to lean meat - full of omega fats, minerals, vitamins, and proteins. Elk are of this place and in the exchange of life to support life, they foster a bond to home in my children and in our home. We take what the Good Earth gives.
In the midst of a week when Jen's grandfather passed from this life, on the eve of us leaving to head north to honor his life, good friends made it possible for me to take 24hours to make a year's supply of soul-satisfying meat. For that, the life of the elk, the support of my family, the strong backs of the Basaraba boys who helped carry the meat from wilderness to home, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May your holiday be full of abundance and reason to give thanks.
- Back of Beyond Farms
- Back of Beyond Farm is a small, family run operation in Rist Canyon, Colorado. We work closely with natural rhythms to create wellness teas from indigenous and naturalized plants. 2013 marks our 4th year of supporting our community through tasty teas. In the year ahead, we hope to continue our work of not only producing healthful teas, but also exploring the edges of what it means to farm and be a part of a place.
- ► 2013 (23)