The last two weeks have been intense.  The weekend before and the weekend after New Years we spent advancing the cause of the farm, of Anyone Can Farm, of a handful of local folks, and of local people who needed some good meat.  We had about 15 sows to cull.  Several groups of friends–old and newly made–who wanted to help and learn came to help us process them into packages and products.  It was a fantastic time of learning for us all.  For the folks that helped us, it was a much desired opportunity to learn how to process a hog.  One family worked with us both weekends and became fairly proficient at the task by the end.  We even had a couple, a gentleman from Germany and a lady from Italy, show up hoping for a farm tour.  They got to help cut up carcasses and then take some meat home.  It was a fun time.  Most of the meat was dispersed through our helpers to people who needed a bit more protein in their freezers.  It felt good to honor the life givers of our farm, our sows, in such a manner.  A final benefit, one that surprised me, was that it honed our teaching skills such that we are prepared for an Anyone Can Farm opportunity that has arisen.  By the intense processing weekends we are better trained to train others in the art of feeding themselves.  This is all the law of unintended consequences at work to the positive.

An Egyptian ruler once told his lying, traitorous, murder minded brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”  In my last post I outlined the bind we were in and why.  We’ve had to, literally, change our business model with our hog market overnight.  There is a lot of pressure right now on the support system behind us.  The powers that be would like to see us fold.  The door on our wholesale market has closed.  It’s painful to have to change sometimes.  The support we’ve received in visits, cards, e-mails, phone calls, and donations (including literal sacks of feed) from across the country has been overwhelming.  I wish I could send everyone an individual thank-you.  You have been the cushion that has allowed us to regroup, do what we had to do, and keep going.  The fact is, as we’ve worked through this challenge, new opportunities have opened up for us to share the vision with others.  I believe that, ultimately, it will work for the good of everyone.

The unintended consequence of the embargo is that we have had opportunities open up to share what we know about turning raw product into great food, stuff that is the backbone of pleasure and survival.  The passion behind Anyone Can Farm is to help recover lost knowledge.  A couple of generations ago, everyone knew how to ferment cabbage, make butter and drink buttermilk, pluck a chicken, make salt pork or cure hams.  This is good food!  Not only that, it is the stuff of life, of survival in cases of natural or unnatural events when the electric appliances don’t work.  It thrilled us to teach our friends and their kids and a group of 20-something folks how to scald a hog and make bacon that can hang in their kitchen.  These are good things.  Such good things are not the intention of the Powers That Be.  Yet, here we are.

Thank-you to everyone who has helped in any way with keeping the farm going and helping us recover the vision.  The more people who know how to feed themselves to any degree and will directly support the people who raise food, the stronger we all become.  That’s putting the law of unintended consequences to GOOD use.