Listening to: To The End (Blur)
Drinking: very strong coffee
It had to happen eventually, the dogs finally got a rabbit. It wasn't pleasant.
I'd love to say Flopsy Cottontail was quickly and almost painlessly dispatched and made us an excellent stew. . . but I can't. It wasn't even on our land.
We'd let the dogs have a run on a beach near the airfield on the north end of the island and were crossing the field back to the car when Owen stumbled across a rabbit that had clearly been lying low, hoping not to be noticed.
I was about 40 yards behind with Spike on a lead. There was a commotion ahead, some woofing and quite a bit of squeaking. Owen (lovable, but so dim) didn't have an idea how to finish his prey off, while the rabbit seemed unable to escape. I hurried up, looking for a large stone or stick (not trusting my bare-hands killing ability).
There wasn't anything remotely big enough so the only rabbit-killing thing I had was a Jack Russell terrier. From the blood on Owen's paws, the rabbit was obviously badly hurt and Spike - hundreds of years of breeding kicking in - put it out of its misery immediately. Once dead, neither dog paid it much attention.
The whole business took about 40 seconds - about 39 longer than I'd prefer - and I felt a bit of a failure. It was all so ham-fisted and I left the carcass for the gulls. Somehow I didn't feel we had the right to take it.
On a lighter note. . .
News from the hen house is good. Following the discovery of the egg on Monday evening, we've now got three more. Spanish omelettes for tea tonight.
The hens have spent more time outside lately (I even shut them out during the day when the weather is good) and are eating more and looking very healthy.
After watching the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall chicken campaign thingy on Channel 4 last night, Sally has thrown some hay and a couple of balls into their run for them to play with - their basic skills are good, but their tactical sense leaves a lot to be desired.
Seriously though. . .
Speaking of HFW, I notice a few bloggers have a link to his Chicken Out campaign. I'm a little suspicious of anything put up by TV or celeb-backed, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for HFW.
His argument is a no-brainer really. What right do we have to eat food so cheap that animals have to be abused to produce it?
Battery cages are soon to be consigned to history (I suppose 2012 is soonish), so why shouldn't factory-farmed chicken be sent the same way?
I won't waste a lot of time preaching to you about the evils of the supermarkets' stranglehold on the UK food market or my mixed feelings about farmers being paid so little by the corporate bloodsuckers that they are forced out of business. When you dance with the devil. . .
I've got two pigs called Eric and Ernie who like throwing straw at me and trying to knock me over for a laugh. I have four hens who have a spacious home and a run with toys. I was upset at the unnecessary suffering of a rabbit. I think we all know where I stand.
It's easy for me to say, sat here with eight acres to grow enough food to feed us, but maybe, rather than just sign up for campaigns that have been on the telly, we could all just tell the supermarkets where to stick their over-processed, over-packaged crap - even if it's only every now and then. Hit the bastards in the only place they care about - the wallet.
By all means sign up for HFW's campaign (The Virgin Porker has a link or you can get there via rivercottage.net). He seems like a nice guy and it's as good a first step as any, but nothing will change unless we start worrying the accountants.
I preached after all, didn't I? Sorry.