When we were homestead dreaming, one of the lines of thought included wanting to grow as much of our own food as possible.
What started as an initial thought of gardening and maybe some chickens for eggs and goats as pets, quickly turned into more. When dreaming and thinking ahead, we wanted to make sure we can build our homestead up as sustainably as possible, which included doing more then just having farm pets. As much fun as they are, they are also expensive if you are unable to set off the additional feeding costs with either, eventually processing said livestock or have them producing some other form of goods.
Of course we started with the initial "gateway animal" of chickens. Egg layers, that is. Though shortly after, we did indeed add goats, which we eventually wanted to breed with the idea of selling goat kids and having milk producers.
However, we did want to grow our own meat. Though Chip was extremely fond of raising hogs, he also wanted to dive into cattle. I, on the other hand, was not convinced.
Fast forward a few months... our turkeys we raised found our garden and completely decimated it. They had to go. We put them up for sale and, low and behold, the individual coming to pick up the turkeys, just happened to have a steer calf in the back of his truck. Coincidence? I think not.
My handsome husband went out on a limb, and decided, without my consultation, to trade the turkeys for the steer. A bottle baby at that. It's always easier to ask for forgiveness, rather then permission, I am told by my sweet husband!
So now we had a bottle fed steer, who needed extra love and attention, and what a sweetheart he was. We named him Muhkuh, which is what German children call cattle. We knew we were going to feed him out and eventually process him. I knew from the very beginning that this was going to be an incredibly hard thing to do. Though Muhkuh lived on pasture with all our other animals, we love them all dearly and they all get smooches and cuddles.
We are a family of meat eaters, and when we started in this journey, we knew that growing out our own meat would be a priority along with the garden. The way commercial, large scale farming is breeding, growing out and processing animals to feed the masses, was not something we agreed with (and still don't, though we understand that not everyone has the space to grown their own beef) and so we set out on a journey to learn about doing this ourselves.
At the very least we knew we would give these animals a beautiful life and they would only ever know one bad day on the farm. It is not easy and will never get easy. We work hard to provide our animals with the best possible living conditions. We provide quality, clean food, fresh water, grazing pastures, play time with friends and lots of cuddles.
When time drew closer to us having to say good-bye to Muhkuh we were all very sad. However we also knew he joined our homestead for a purpose and the meat we harvest from him would feed our family for a long time. This is how sustainable meat production is supposed to work. But it was extremely hard for us to say our good-byes.
One of the most rewarding things about this homesteading life is being able to put a meal on the table for our family from home grown ingredients. A home cooked meal prepared with home grown ingredients is an absolutely amazing feat!
Every time we have a family meal, I'm amazed by how far we've come on our journey.
Knowing exactly where each food item on your plate came from and the sweat and tears poured into such a meal makes it so much sweeter still.