Thoughts from an former vegetarian

Amanda with 2010 fair piglets

I didn’t eat meat for 4 years while in high school. I thought it was cruel. I slowly added meat back into my life while in the Navy and having limited choices.


But I have always struggled with the concept of eating meat.

Amanda with piglet at 250 lbs. Sept 2010

I wasn’t sure I could raise an adorable 40lb piglet into a 300lb hog and then eat him. It was a somewhat horrifying proposition.

But, honestly, it has all seemed very wholesome and natural. We raise these adorable piglets and calves into adults. They were well cared for. We know what they ate. The living conditions were wonderful for a farm animal.

And at 300 lbs they aren’t so cute. They are strong. And stubborn. And tasty.

I wondered how the kids would react.  I wanted them to understand what they ate and where food comes from. If any decided to given up meat, as several of my nieces have, it would come from an informed decision. They would know that pork chops don’t grow on grocery store shelves in plastic.


The kids, of course, responded better than me.  They were saddened at auction, but had no trouble eating the meat.  It was delicious.  They all wanted to raise another piglet the next year.


Mike with Speck, 2011

As we look forward to our third year rasing fair animals, it becomes routine. Simply provide comfortable living conditions, healthy food, clean water, and a clean shelter.  Treat them kindly.


I never take for granted what we eat. I try very hard to cook everything and not waste.  Just seems respectful to the animals


Spring Cleaning


Rob and the kids power washing the hog pen

Since it oddly felt like summer in March, we decided to get the barn ready for this years animals. 

We typically get the hogs Memorial day weekend but the feeder calves arrive in early April.

We  power washed the hog pens. And the kids got excited talking about this years calves.

Amanda and Daniel got the steer out on the new show halters


Mickey and Amanda


Daniel and Squirt

Spring steer sure is only weeks away, and they aren’t walking well at all.  yikes!

Lots of walking is needed. Hard to find the time with youth group, baseball, softball, track, 4H and FFA!

The weather has been insane.  77 degrees and sunny in mid-March.  heavenly!



Hurdle Wildfowl Park, one of the 15 county parks

I met an amazing group of people last night.  I attended a meeting of the Ashland County Park District.  I have hiked the parks for years, honestly not thinking about who maintained all that beauty for the public to enjoy.


Mike hiking Cool Springs

Turns out that the park district maintains 15 parks without a single tax payer dollar.   Everything in the parks from trails to signs to gas for the mowers is donated.  There isn’t a single paid employee.

Made me stop and think about how to give back.  I have hiked these parks, fished the ponds with the kids and walked my dogs here for 15 years.  


Daniel fishing Byers Woods

I was in awe of the time commitments these members made. 

I have few loves other then my family- hiking, camping, local healthy eating.  But the greatest of these is, without a doubt, hiking.

I am proud to have joined this group, I look forward to doing trail maintenance this summer.

I hope my kids will all find a passion in their lives (since only the youngest loves to hike with me) that gives them both health and joy.



Mike is determined that we will have productive fruit trees this year.  We have 2 apple trees and a mulberry tree. 

In the past they have only given us small wormy apples.

He got off the school bus today, went to the garage, grabbed a ladder and pruning shears, went to work without being asked.  He did a really nice job.   He is willing to chop off more then I am. 

I wish I was as hopeful as an 11 yr old.  Something about spring makes us believe that this year will be different.  The garden will be weed free, the baseball team will be undefeated, the animals will win grand champion at the county fair.

Here is to apples, applesauce, apple cake, apple butter and optimistic kids!