It comes to us all..the dark side of farmsteading..death. We raise up creatures from the time of their birth..nurture them..nurse them..watch them grow. Then, there is a time we all must face..their death. I am constantly asked how I do it..how do I raise an animal and then end its life..or watch it die. The truth lies in perspective.
I grew up with farming grandparents..for them, crying over a cow's slaughter was unheard of and just plain ridiculous. It was their purpose; their place in the circle of things..it was just the way it was. We were not heartless to the sadness of death or the empty pasture that came on butchering days, but we faced it with the knowing the animals were raised well and died well and served their purpose.
My heart's desire was for my children to understand this purpose God had for life..and so, as creatures were born and raised here there were constant conversations relating to the fact it would end. Baby goats born here often move to new homes; chickens face predators..some end up in the freezer..even dogs die. In a society driven by the 'save the whales' mentality we never wanted our heart for our animals to overshadow its proper place.
Today I faced freezing sleet only to discover our little June didn't make it..in my heart, I was pretty sure she wouldn't..but finding her made it real..and it broke my heart. Sad news was shared with my teens..bundled under blankets..fighting illness of their own. Their response encouraged me..knowing years of workings side by side with them on this farmstead taught them well.
So what is our perspective? It is sad..it is heartbreaking, but it wasn't one of us...or our extended family..or our dear friends. We grieve the loss, but rejoice in the gift of each other. As for butchering? The animals come to our home to live a good life..a life of love and sunshine..of attention and hearty food...and then they fulfill their purpose.