We started keeping chickens after our boys hatched chicks at their cooperative school. They made predictions on what eggs would produce females and males. They checked on the temperature. They counted down the days on the calendar.
The day came to watch the eggs begin to crack open, and they were able to see the sweet faces of the chicks. They learned how to care for them and how fragile a new life can be.
A few weeks later, I ordered a small chicken coop kit, convinced my husband to put it together, called my friend in Texas who has chickens to ask her what to do, and we became keepers of a flock.
We lost those first two chickens eventually to mother nature and would go onto to add to our flock learning valuable lessons along the way.
We survived our first real Wyoming winter with -20 degree days and kept our flock warm and happy with their very own sun room aka a cold frame greenhouse.
Full disclosure here, when I met my husband I was eating a vegetarian diet and had been for well over year, I was at the healthiest weight in my life and felt fantastic. It wasn’t a moral decision, but a health experiment.
Over the years, I would get back to eating some meat but never felt great about it. My weight would keep creeping up.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a nature lover. Yes, I am that person who says hello to the cows grazing in the field and feels a twinge of remorse as I see the cattle trucks taking the stock to their demise.
You see we moved to Wyoming a couple of years ago, where there are more cows than people most of the time. Our move brought me face to face with my attitude about eating meat.
Our chickens are pets, that give us fresh eggs and companionship. Iris, Poppy, Rose, Ginger, and Daffodil come to the gate when they hear us coming, call to me if water is getting low, and follow me around in the garden. So, no I cannot eat them. They are my feathered companions.
I also have friends that are ranchers and hunters. Women I know who bow hunt, strong women, caring for their families the way that they feel is right.
I don’t have any judgment for their choices of food, and I doubt they give a second thought to mine.
I learned about what sustainable living looks like in Wyoming. They hunt and fish to provide food for their families. Garden and ranch as a way of life. There is a reverence for taking care of your own and your community.
In times of struggle, you see neighbor helping neighbor even if that neighbor is 30 miles away. Last summer during wildfire season, virtual strangers were posting that they had room for horses to graze and people to sleep. During our winter storm, volunteers posted via social media that people were digging out and plowing snow for those that were stuck. It is a place where neighbors help neighbors.
My 10Day Meatless challenge is not about whether I think it is right for you to eat meat or not. It is about me and following my inner guard, paying attention when things like feeling guilty for eating something causes me mental conflict, or how my body feels without meat.
It is not about being a vegetarian, vegan, or carnivore. It is just a way to test yourself, experiment, and pay attention.
Does it make you feel in harmony with yourself? It’s a way to look at everything in your life.
If it feels good, then by all means enjoy, but if not try going without for a bit. My friend, Jacqueline Carly aka GetPlanty is hosting a FREE 10Day Meatless Challenge. We are into day three, but anyone can join anytime. The pictures of food by the group have been wonderful, and it reminds me that going without meat (for me) is easy. I don’t miss it.
On the contrary, I am excited to feel in harmony again and to be inspired by others experimenting with the idea of not eating meat.
In a world where there seems to be much division coming from leaders, it is important to remember we all have the same goal. To raise our families, do some good, and be the kind of neighbor who can help those when they are struggling.
and Ginger thank you.