If we may, let us lay out an average day since returning to Vermont one week ago:
Wake up at 4:30 a.m. Fumble around to make a french press. Promptly get back into bed, where we will maybe read the news on our phones, or maybe stare at nothing. Head to the farm around 5:15 a.m. to milk a herd of 150 goats and/or take care of farm chores (feed pigs, feed bucks, feed kids, feed chickens). Go back to the Fish and Game to eat several spoonfuls of peanut butter, potentially an apple if we have any left and, if it's a good day, some leftover black beans. Head to the camper to do as much as we possibly can with next to no knowledge of how to do it. Go back to the farm and repeat the same process listed above. Return to Pink Cameron around 7:30 p.m. to work on projects until the sun goes down. Go home, take a shower and definitely drink a shower beer, and then promptly fall asleep.
Somehow, amid what feels like the most physically exhausting season of our lives, the decision to add a newborn goat into the mix sounded reasonable. Easy, even. Finally, something in our wheelhouse! The story is that this little kid, who we have named Satchmo (a nod to one of the true greats), was born a month after his expected due date. His mom, Yoko Ono, was bred late. Satchmo has no real place on the farm at this point as his 40+ comrades are all quadruple his size. Being that Pink Cameron is located directly on the farm, and given that we spent two months taking care of 100 kids at a time, it makes sense for us to raise him.
It makes sense for more reasons than one. Satchmo will keep us rooted in our new space: the boy has to be fed thrice daily, which offers yet more incentive to get moved into the camper. He may even serve as a bargaining chip in convincing family and friends to come visit us in rural Vermont! He will get to live a beautiful life outside, where he will graze on rich pasture forage. And after many months of doing his favorite things (read: munch on nutritious flora & run around under the sun), when the time is appropriate, we will slaughter him and process him for meat that will in turn nourish our bodies, and those of our friends and families. The ending to this chapter that we are just now beginning has already been written.
This is the reality of all carnivores: the meat we consume is from a living, breathing animal. It just happens that we have chosen to experience this reality directly. The more we learn of the meat industry, the more we want to inform our own meat eating choices. Perhaps someday—like days of old—it won't be taboo to see the face of the animal you are eating. Raising animals for eventual slaughter is not strange to us, but it isn't easy either. We also recognize that it might be even more difficult for others to think about. We grappled with whether or not to even give him a name, but at the end of the day our goal is to raise Satchmo with the utmost care and attention to his wellbeing—and do that we will. In an effort to continually remain sensitive to those who feel, act, and experience life differently than we do, we promise to write more on this subject.
First, we need to give Pink Cameron's kitchen a second coat of paint and bottle feed our kid.