3) Why we are still buying pork but not selling it yet
Before we get to that agenda, let's begin with an agenda. Today is January, the day after inauguration. Let us not take a political stance, and instead let us seek that energy which binds all of us together, makes us successful, and breeds strength and positive energy regardless of whether we view ourselves through the lens of nationalism or globalism. That's right. Let's sell rabbits together.
We begin with contractors, but before that, let's talk about rabbits. BOTL Farm, at it's core, is about farming, and farming, at it's core, is about raising organisms, which are either plant or animal and less often fungus. Since we don't sell mushrooms in any significant volume, let's focus on rabbits. Traditional rabbit dogma says that rabbits should be confined to cages, however we here at BOTL Farm think this is inconsiderate to rabbits. Have you ever tried to imagine you were a rabbit? Have you ever spent hours and hours sitting next to rabbits, watching the way they hop, the way they choose which strand of grass to eat next, which squirrel to fight next, and how to negotiate the world? If you have, you would find that putting rabbits in cages is impolite. The rabbits want to be free. They want to eat greenery, they want to eat peas, and they want to stare at the other gender which has been almost entirely separated from them by a high voltage electric fence. Rabbits are sold by the pound, and therefore an enterprising farmer would strive to raise the largest rabbit possible. Imagine a rabbit the size of a kangaroo. This is an ideal rabbit for a farmer. As farmers, we are however limited to the rabbits our breeders will produce for us. Breeders are not like a designer rabbit catalog, they do not accept orders, they do not commit to delivery dates, they will not allow customization, and in fact sometimes they won't even use the breeder boxes we provide for them. Sometimes they dig holes we didn't want them to dig.
This brings us to a special rabbit we call "Big Brown." We call her that because she is by far, the biggest rabbit we have yet created. She's also brown. Since rabbits are sold by the pound, as farmers we saw the promise, the intellect, and the sheer gravity that Big Brown could yield. By stroke of luck, big brown was a female, so she was added to the list of breeders. Ancient humans civilizations have attempted to produce superior sized soldiers by selecting the largest male and female soldiers they could find and forcing them to interbreed. These attempts were repeatedly met with failure, because human height is dependent upon multiple aleels, the interactions of which are poorly understood in modern day and were not understood at all in ancient times. Queens and kings punished their subordinates, and the resulting offspring were undesirable, however the attempts tallied forth in spite. Here at BOTL Farm, we like to think that we're smarter than the ancient Romans, but honestly we're been trying really hard to breed Big Brown. After 3 tries of breeding, we were pretty sure she was not fertile. Because honestly, rabbits breed like... well... rabbits. If you hook up rabbits, you've got basically a 100% chance that they will produce offspring rabbits. So after 3 breeding sessions with big brown that did not yield rabbits, we were thinking of cutting our losses and selling the Biggest Rabbit Ever. But then, we decided to give her one more chance. And lo and behold, Big Brown began to dig the Biggest, Brownest Hole we've ever seen. She lined it with metric yards of her fur, and produced six of the biggest, largest, most sizable rabbit babies that BOTL Farm has ever seen. Stay tuned my friends. Kangaroo-sized rabbits may yet be within our grasp.
Returning to the agenda, let's begin with contractors. Home-owners will understand the importance and the dichotomy that contractors provide. They are important, because who has any idea how to fix their own septic tank, but they are a dichotomy, because who feels like they should pay $248 to fix the upstairs shower drain leaking onto the downstairs couch? At the end of the day, we're going to pay whatever those contractors demand because we just don't have any other option. BOTL Farm is much like any other house in this regard, except we have lots of square footage of house, and a whole lot of acreage of not-house. BOTL Farm has employed a series of contractors recently. First there were the contractors dealing with stone. They had the unexpected but highly desirable side-effect of tamping down enough of the brambles and poison ivy to allow us to walk nearly a third of our property. Second there were the chimney liner contractors. They introduced us to the phrase "exploratory demolition" and they held steadfast to their goal to protect us from carbon monoxide and to properly route our combustion gases far above the roof line. We liked them a lot, so much that we bought them Italian cuisine (pizza). Third came the tree cutters. The previous curators of BOTL Farm had lacked extreme diligence in monitoring the proximity of trees to our farm house roof, to such a degree that we had very large trees shading the roof in a way that scares us during high winds. To such an extent that even though we owned the finest chainsaws and had even purchased chainsaw chaps, we decided it wasn't safe to tackle this arborist imponderable upon ourselves. Fortunately our third contractor was up to the task, to such a degree that they even replaced the window they drove their bucket truck through. And so it was, that BOTL Farm's capital value was improved, with the help of some of the nicest contractors that northeastern CT has to offer.
Can you believe it's only the second blog topic for today? Jobs. Farming full time requires... farmers. A farmer guides the sheep in the way that a shepherd guides the sheep. Without a farmer, a farm is just a field of plants. Or a field of animals. We've done the math though, a field of animals should be way more profitable. In either case, a farm purchase is a mortgage, those are expensive, and quitting your job is like .. super scary. Since neither of us have been fired yet, we've continued working our jobs and using our job money to pay the farm mortgage. It is difficult to predict how far into the future this will persist becuase our crystal ball is not nearly as reliable as our band-saw's aftermarket adjustable aluminum fence, but it looks reasonably likely that the husband member of our farming team could potentially be approaching the end of his career within a month or so [editor's note: this is not confirmed and highly uncertain]. Of course nothing is for sure, but one thing is for sure. We won't buy a dog until we both live together, and we both really want a dog. Fate can only keep us from our dog and thus in our day jobs for so long. Sooner or later, the farm must be free to farm and be great with Puppy [editor's note: this is the name of the future dog]. Speaking of which, what is your favorite type of dog? Ours changes daily but is currently the blue-tick-red-labra-pit-doodle-hound. [Editor's note: in the first reading of this blog post the blog writer nearly peed himself while re-reading this sentence.] What a classic.
Which brings us to the final issue of why BOTL Farm is still buying pork and not yet raising it. As you can see, we don't have any animals, but we just bouught our first half cow from some delightful cow farmers down the road. If you've never had happy cow, locally raised, hippy-dipppy, grass fed cow meat, we would super strongly recommend it. Unless you're vegetarian, in which case you just need to realize that cows are just condensed vegetables (they eat grass). Since we can't raise our own pigs, and we don't plan to raise cows, we just bought our first half cow today. Delicious! Buy local meat, support local farmers, use single stream recycling and credit unions, save the world.
For one final insight into daily life in BOTL Farm, let's review the word of our savior Russel Monroe . This insight, which says we begin to speak the languages of our animals, proves truer than ever. Rabbits don't have well developed vocal cords, but still have a rich language using their paws. Dog owners may begin to communicate with each other using only the language of the dog. Cat owners may begin to communicate with each other using only looks of disapproval and occasional bats of their paws, but rabbit owners begin to communicate with each other using only ear-grooming motions. It begins with a dedicated swipe of both paws towards the base of the ear and extending firmly towards the end of the ear, with a defining flick of the wrists to rid the paws of collected debris. It is with this language that we, as farmers, speak to each other in a way that words never could. #RabbitStuff
Also two more hives [editor's note: we still maintain three live hives] died this winter. Again. Have you ever felt personally responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent creatures that relied upon you for guidance? We've done that like 4 times now. Oops. [Editor's note: some members of BOTL farm would like to note responsibility as a separation between husband and wife, but team "Elk Whistle" [note: not a euphemism] asserts teams are teams, and we succeed and fail together.] In totally unrelated news, we might have more honey for sale soon, because it turns out the bees probably don't need it this winter anymore. Oopsies.
Cheers, mates. Keep strong, roll on, eat local, support farms, make bees and rabbits, and never lose hope.