Friday, February 10, 2012

a visitor from the big city

Meg Paska of Brooklyn Homesteader drove up from the city yesterday to spend a night up here at the farm. It wasn't just a social call either. In her borrowed Mini Van she had three breeding rabbits (two does and a buck named Ghost) and seven bunnies! She was recently told by an anti-backyard-slaughter landlord she had to have those critters removed. She looked all over the city for a place to keep them but she needed a farmer, not a babysitter, and I said they were welcome here. Honestly, what's ten more tiny mouths to feed? She had been here before (for the meat rabbit 101 workshop where she got her three critters that starter her herd) and knew I knew exactly what I was getting into. I don't mind caring for her rabbits, but the true reason I wanted to offer to foster care for her critters was because I myself had been in her shoes. I know what it is like to not own your farm and be told what has to stay and go. I was happy to take in the caravan of rabbits and urban homesteader that arrived yesterday evening.

And here's a bonus: she graciously offered me the kits for my own freezer and I will certainly enjoy them! The breeders however, are staying here on foster care. When she relocates in late summer to her new beachfront farm near the city, I will happily return them to her fat and happy and hopefully with their own litters of kits to raise back in Jersey.

Next, we are off to visit a neighbor's farm, Livingston Brook Farm, for a driving lesson with her dapple percheron mare! I am so looking forward to (quite literally) grabbing the reins! Hopefully I will have photos to share.

And on the note of anti-backyard animal slaughter... Did you guys see this article? Seems like Novella Carpenter and her scene in Oakland are dealing with quite the anti-farm crowd! Ridiculous complaints, I say.

15 Comments:

Blogger Luann said...

You are awesome Jenna. Such a good farmer willing to help those in need. I am just beginning and hope when I am at a point if I can help someone, I will have your heart!
Luann

February 10, 2012 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Poor Novella! When are people going to stop being bullies and let people live?

February 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

There was an article in the newspaper this morning about a campaign by the rapper Russell Simmons to persuade NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to change the designation of the "official state drink" to something other than milk. He wants the state to stop supporting dairy in favor of encouraging people to drink rice milk or almond milk. Mr. Simmons is a vegan. Obviously, he is blissfully ignorant about the harm caused to animals and the environment by industrial food production and by shipping it a few thousand miles to his home in New York City.

February 10, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Good for you, Jenna. I am glad she knew you and could ask and you would help her. It sure is a shame that people cannot raise their own animals humanely on their own property anymore.

As I was reading that article about NOBS and Novella Carpenter, I was thinking why does she put up with all this crap. Why doesn't she just leave? But then I thought this is a good thing. There needs to be MORE people like her who will stand up to these crazy people, do the research so they CAN stand up to them with KNOWLEDGE, then go to the courts and fight for other people who want to do what she does. I think she is a great leader. Way up there with Joel Selatin and Micheal Pollan. I am thankful for people like them who are not afraid to get dirty and fight for what they believe in.

Oh, and Jenna, you certainly are up there with them as well. You do so much to educate people who just don't get it. Thank you for perservering and not giving up on this journey. I am so thankful that you are able to post about things like this that I may never see. Keep doing what you are doing, Jenna. Have a great day.

I also thought how crazy is it to have to keep an animal for their whole life then bury it? The only thing to benifit from that would be the earth. I think it's crazy to have to keep chickens and never get to eat them. I don't know...

February 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM  
OpenID barntalkblog said...

Sweet deal about the rabbits and kits!

I try to keep out of all of the city farming stuff, mainly because I don't live in the city and I don't know what it's like for either side. I've definitely got opinions about the topic, though!

-Autumn

February 10, 2012 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Enjoyed the article, Jenna. City dwellers are just that - city dwellers. They may not want barnyard fowl, ect. next door and would not have expected to have such in the city.

Respectful suggestion: when a city dweller moves to the country or small town, do not expect the same services, ect. you received in the city. Do not ask the country people to change in order to accommodate the city dweller.

February 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger sara said...

I live in Pittsburg, which is about an hour north of Novella in Oakland, and this rigmarole around the DIY slaughter horse puckey started last year, probably in the spring? A lot of local urban farmers were forced to stop inviting people to come see their gardens and critters because there is maybe a handful of activists in Oakland who haunt all the news sites and farming blogs to flame urban homesteaders and basically stir up vitriol which doesn't really exist. There might have been an incident of sabotage at one urban homestead, which endangered rabbits, too. The irony in that case is the homeowner is compliant with every geegaw in city gov't when it comes to animal welfare. Most of us are just ignoring these people (I am not convinced it is more than maybe five of them, if even that) but the more stressed out farmers are seriously flipping their wigs worrying that the activists will sabotage or steal their beloved animals. Urban farming out on the left coast is about food security and survival, in most cities, so the stuff in Oakland really dropped out of the sky for most of us. My chickens are illegals, but I hear fussy ladies clucking out the egg-laying song every morning in most neighborhoods, when I go walking. I love my hens, and my meat birds, too.

February 10, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks again, Jenna! I had a great time!

Gwydalyn, perhaps something is being lost over the internet, but your comments seem rather negative. As an occupant of this world, we should all try to grow and adapt to a changing world and different types of people. Variety is the spice of life! I'm not sure what kind of experiences you've had but it sounds like you might be generalizing what city dwellers are like. (We don't all expect people to bend over backwards for us, but perhaps we expect people to give us a chance?)

And I couldn't disagree more about city folk being shut out of raising their own food because they chose to live in the city. People have been raising food in cities for as long as there have been cities. Any and all things are possible with the right attitude. Most folks were quite impressed with my enthusiasm and ability to create a backyard farm that was pleasing to the senses. The rabbits pushed one person over the edge and that one person was enough to bring much of it to a halt. As a result I chose to go someplace near the city with more space so that I could raise livestock with more privacy.

My urban farming activities only bothered the idle as far as I can tell. I expect it's the same for folks like Novella. Getting up in arms over people raising their own meat is exclusive to the affluent and out-of-touch. Beyond the serious misguidedness of their allegations, there are much serious issues in this city (hunger? homelessness?) but none of the people that complain about raising rabbits for meat would ever be bothered to try and do anything about that, and I find that quite sad.

February 10, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

It is about time folks told neighbors to stop looking over the fence into my backyard and mind your own business. My neighbors in ME are from NJ and aren't happy with my gobbling tom turkey. Well, that is just too bad. I was here first and I am zoned for farming. Even if I wasn't, the butchering of rabbits or chickens on my property isn't within their purview to concern themselves with.
I've been chastised by the animal rights people and IMHO, they need to take on the CAFOs not me.

February 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

It is about time folks told neighbors to stop looking over the fence into my backyard and mind your own business. My neighbors in ME are from NJ and aren't happy with my gobbling tom turkey. Well, that is just too bad. I was here first and I am zoned for farming. Even if I wasn't, the butchering of rabbits or chickens on my property isn't within their purview to concern themselves with.
I've been chastised by the animal rights people and IMHO, they need to take on the CAFOs not me.

February 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Speaking of backyard animal slaughter, I saw this article today that made some really interesting points:

http://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2010/01/extra_males_dealing_ethically.php

February 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Backyard animal slaughter? Why is the article entitled that? Shouldn't it be backyard animal raising? The term slaughter rarely, if ever connotes something warm and fuzzy. Besides, slaughter (and killing) is but one tiny portion in an animal's life.

February 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I can see both sides of this argument. What if the backyard slaughterers dont take their responsibility seriously. What if they are not humane and take good care of the animals and the property. I certainly dont want that kind of mess and smell next door and the torment of wondering about animal abuse occuring. On the other hand if I had neighbors who were doing the right thing I would welcome it, maybe they would share the bounty? :-)

February 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

@ Megan - well put!!

February 13, 2012 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger maplestory said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 27, 2012 at 1:14 AM  

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