Tradition! We all have them and one of the times of year where we hold tightly to our traditions as a country, as friends and as family, is Thanksgiving. These traditions bind us together and give us something to look forward to. They create memories and stories to tell, years down the road.
I personally love having traditions. I’m one of those people that love repeating memorable things year after year. My grandpa likes to tease Katie and I by saying “If Megan and Katie do it once, it’s a tradition” and maybe there is some truth to that, as Katie and I have repeated things we have done once and made them into a tradition over the years.
One tradition that we are starting to make (we have only done it for two years and I would have to say that in order to label it a tradition, you aught to have done something more than just twice) is raising our own turkey to grace our Thanksgiving table. A couple of years ago, I might have been one of those people who thought this was a bit over the top, but let me try and explain.
You see, as my family has gotten more into farming and has started researching how the commercial turkeys are raised and processed, we have discovered that they are not raised on farms with green pastures, white fences and red barns. Rather, the birds have been bred so that they can’t act normally because they have been bred with one purpose in mind and that is to produce meat fast. So, instead of spending their time outdoors eating grass and bugs, they are kept in tight quarters indoors and must be fed antibiotics or else they will die because their living conditions are so unsanitary.
I could go on, but you are probably getting the picture. Since our family has the resources and we already enjoyed raising chickens, it was easy for us to raise a couple of turkeys as well. It did take a bit of a learning curve, as turkeys are not as smart as chickens, but that is all part of the fun. I mean, what better way to learn then making a couple of mistakes along the way? Although it is a time consuming way to learn, it is one of the most thorough ways to do so, especially with this thing we call farming.
So, with the long awaited hope of Thanksgiving, we start raising our turkeys in the spring and then watch them grow in the summer and listen to them talk to each other in the Autumn (alright, I confess, Matthew and I like talking with them as we try and learn their language). We feed and take care of them and do our best to give them a healthy life that they can live out as happy turkeys while they spend their days outside (turkeys don’t like going inside and despite a nice shelter, stay outside, even in the rain) and in the sunshine.
Then as Thanksgiving draws near and is only a couple of days away, or in this case the day before, we butcher our birds outside and hand pluck and clean the meat so that it is not contaminated and thus does not need to be bathed in chemicals to make it edible like it’s commercial counterpart.
Thus, as we sit around the table Thanksgiving day, our family has those extra ingredients added to our meal which are hard work and patience. We know, as we sit down to our meal, that the meat we are eating has been produced in one of the healthiest ways that gave the bird a high quality of life. It also heightens our families thankfulness for the meal we are eating, as we know more than most, what is cost to produce.
As we gather with friends and family to butcher, we remember all these things and because we are participating in the natural cycle of life and death, the realization of how blessed we are becomes even more apparent in a world where so many people are disconnected from these simple things that are such a part of life: friends, family and resources like food to fill our tables and tummys.
Thus, as the years pass and we gather once a year to remember all the things we have to be thankful for, I hope we are able to continue to produce our own turkeys and eventually make it one of our firm traditions. In a world that is so busy, this allows us to do something that is slow and takes time, hard work and patience, reminding us all the more of all we have to be thankful for on Thanksgiving day!
Looking Forward to Tomorrow’s Meal With Hard Work and Patience as Two of The Key Ingredients,