Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Did it Again

Our friends in Angwin, CA (northeast Napa Valley) are wonderful farmers who grow grapes for wine. That's not all, though. They raise and produce much of their own food and beverage: chickens/eggs, pigs, vegetables, goat cheese, honey, beer, etc. Within the extended family, they have children who raise animals in a 4-H club. A very sweet little girl spent her first year in 4-H raising two amazing lamb.

It was my first time bidding on an animal at a livestock auction. When one receives a cute handwritten letter asking one to bid at the Napa Valley livestock auction in August, it's purposefully difficult to say no. At the auction I felt a little strange, sorry for the lamb who seemed scared, and one could see why. The noise is loud, fast and with many people staring at the animal on display.

After we made the winning bid, uniformed older children came and placed a photo in hand of the pretty animal with the child who raised it. That image erased the uneasy feeling of the auction. We found the lamb and girl, thanked them, and then said kind words to each.

We were lucky to have our friend, the girl, take her lamb home for a few weeks to eat and run to it's heart's content. At the beginning of September, a hired gun went out to the farm and calmly shot the lamb "Taco" dead. One single shot, a very minimum of pain.
The lamb was transported by the hired gun to the butcher's in Santa Rosa, CA. We picked up our lamb at the end of September from Willowside Meats (the fantastic butcher shop).

Called our cook friend, and asked if we dropped off some lamb breast, would he cook it and have us over for dinner? Enthusiastically, he agreed and the delicious dinner above was the result. Happily, we decided that supporting our 4-H friend was a good, wholesome and tasty way to go.
Purchasing a whole animal at the Napa Valley fair auction was on the expensive side, ~$6.50 per pound total. However, the fact it was NV made it expensive, and most 4-H clubs in other areas have extremely reasonable prices. Luckily, we had help paying as a relative wanted to go in with us on the purchase.

Counting the number of packages of lamb, we determined that we could eat one package every-other-week and have the lamb last all year. I decided to save the boned leg-of-lamb roast for Christmas.
My nearly 95 year old great aunt, her niece, and friends--7 people total, really enjoyed our leg-of-lamb holiday dinner. We thank the well respected, tasty lamb for giving it's life for us every time we cook a piece of it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

America the Beautiful

It's been a while since I've written. Part of the reason I'm considering writing again from time to time, is that I'm now paying Google for extra space to accommodate more photos.

In light of the tragic school shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, thought I would write a little about America. The better America is, the worst it is, too. There is too much to say, so I'll just hit upon a few points.

I am extremely fortunate. We have jobs, an education and everything we could need, and then some. I feel lucky and very happy to be an American. Wasn't always an American, however. My parents adopted me when I was 2 years old. A week ago, I celebrated 36 years in America, with tremendous food, wonderful friends and scenic views. Good things that are made possible via this country.
Through a book club I'm involved, I've read about different countries' views, politics and policies. It's eye-opening learning about world wars, mental illness, and the human spirit under extreme conditions.

Speaking with a man from Viet Nam, opened my eyes partly to why America is able to enjoy so much. He took the point that, America has a history of dropping/selling guns all over the world, perhaps to divide nations, to promote civil wars. He argued that by doing so, America had countries fighting among themselves (dividing their power), purchasing newly "needed" weaponry--both of which are potentially advantageous to this country.

So, it's relatively ironic that our fundamental "right to bear arms" has lead us to allow guns produced solely for killing humans, into any American's hands. The Sandy Hook tragedy is the new poster child for our extremism.
What is right with America, is also what is wrong with America. I only hope that we may put these freedoms into the hands of educated, chemically/hormonally balanced individuals. I love America and hope that it finds ways to be wholesome, honest and good.