The Phony Meat Project In Southwest Oklahoma

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A tofu “turkey roast” with wild rice stuffing

A Very Blessed Thanksgiving

I trust all my readers in the US enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving holiday this past week. Gramps and I certainly did with our family. We had everything to be thankful for, including a rich selection of delicious food.

Phony Turkey Anyone?

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, when I began to plan the meal I wondered: What do non-meat eaters eat on turkey day? Well, to those of you who don’t wonder about those things, I’ll tell you anyway. Some of them eat a turkey replacement processed from tofu, which is a soybean product.

As beef producers, the ideas behind militant vegan-ism and animal rights are a source of indigestion for Gramps and me, but as a writer, I decided to do some research into the topic of phony turkey meat before I just tossed it off as no account. I called up my super secret source in the health food industry and he hooked me up with a tofu turkey “roast”.

Gramps Didn’t Just Fall Off The Turnip Wagon Last Night In The Dark. Hello

Gramps once told a sandwich person trying to talk him into trying turkey ham: “Listen, lady. I live on a farm. I have seen turkeys naked. They don’t have hams.” Likewise, turkeys don’t have roasts. Especially not fake turkeys. But I digress.

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What Gramps thought of the turkey-like “roast”

Should’ve Stopped At The Stuffing

I honestly approached my fake turkey with an open mind, however, the more I chewed the bigger it seemed to get, sort of like chewing on a sponge. The smell reminded me of moldy grain dust, and the meat-like portion tasted like salt and things cooked in a primordial soup. The wild rice stuffing was pretty good, though.

You Can’t Fool Kids Or Dogs

The next morning, I gave our border collie, Nellie, a slice to see what her reaction was to fake turkey. The result is captured and badly edited in the following video.

[youtube.com/watch?v=eYktS9rysV4]

Now We Know For Sure

After Nellie made clear her thoughts on the subject, I carried the remains of the “roast” to the chickens. They pecked out the stuffing first, but finally did manage to eat it all, proving my late father-in-law’s contention:

You cain’t poison a chicken.

The Results

So, there you have the results of The Phony Meat Project. I tip my hat to anyone who can actually eat that stuff in spite of the horrible taste and the uncomfortable aftereffects in the digestive tract. And I sincerely hope no one ever succeeds in banning real meat for those of us who choose to eat it.

Until next time, God bless all y’all and as we start into the Christmas season, (a few months behind Wal-Mart,) enjoy this guy from The Piano Guys tearin’ up Carol Of The Bells on his cello.

[youtube.com/watch?v=e9GtPX6c_kg]

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ’em.

Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part lV

via justsaypictures.com

via justsaypictures.com

Joe returning to the capitol with his friends

In Part lll of the Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues series, we left Joe Not-So-Cool in a quandary: Should he try to bluff his way through Grandma’s tough questions, or flee to consult the Dodge Trucks Forever website?

Grandma tells me Joe fled, but he returned with friends who got way out of hand while they were firing their water guns all over the place. Joe’s Segway overturned and one of the other Dodge Truck Forever activists accidentally ran over his bald spot. An ambulance rushed Joe away. Grandma heard later he was released from a nearby facility with a scraped pate and an extra Band-Aid. She can’t positively confirm that.

Grandma did confirm, however, no one on either side of the truck crushing issue changed their minds. Just like very few on either side of the horse slaughter issue change their minds.

So, why do you keep blabbering on about it Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover? some are asking.

This is why: Aside from the fact I have a vested interest in my horses and their welfare, the horse slaughter debate directly affects animal agriculture, in which Gramps and I are in up to our eyeballs. By that I mean, it’s how we live, feed ourselves, our kids, our grandkids, and many others around the globe besides.

Whether they know it or not, anyone who eats meat is in this issue up to their eyeballs, too, because a lot of the same folks who want to stop horse slaughter for any and every reason also want to end all meat animal slaughter. In this day and time, we have a giant collision of world views compounded by ignorance of how our daily food is produced.

But, those are subjects for another time. This series of posts is mainly about end of life issues for horses, so I will actually approach some animal rights websites with an open mind seeking solutions for what other alternatives than horse slaughter are open to me when my horse and I must part.

The first site I approached offered fiery rhetoric, talking-head celebrities, and an embarrassing photo of a woman without no drawers on lying on a giant broccoli. (Uh…ew?) Unfortunately, I could find no solutions except no-kill shelters. (This issue is way too complicated for no-kill shelters alone to solve.)

The next site assumed a one-size-fits-all stance for horse “relinquishment”, (that is politically correct speak for “getting rid of your horse”,) but at least the site attempted to provide some solutions.

On that site horses were listed as pets along with dogs, ferrets, fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, and rats. Horses were the only animal on the list that wouldn’t fit in most peoples’ houses, with a size discrepancy of about twelve-hundred-pounds, give or take a couple hundred. As I pointed out in Part ll of the series, the size factor poses a basic problem in end of life issues for horses. This might, too:

Every horse owner needs to plan for the entire life of his or her horse. Carefully locate a caring home for your horse, if you can no longer keep him.

~Humane Society website

(The emphasis is mine.)

via 1st Art Gallery

via 1st Art Gallery

The oldest horse on record, Old Billy, a barge horse, born in 1760 and died at age 62. Yikes. Did Old Billy’s owners make a sixty-two-year life plan for him?

Dogs generally live ten-to-fifteen years. Cats a year or two longer if they’re house cats. Rodents lifespans are much less. The goldfish in my garden pond mentioned in Part lll of the series generally live two-to-three years.

But, well cared for horses generally live over twenty-years. Some thirty, or more. Many people can’t even commit to a marriage relationship or keep track of their kids that long, but they’re supposed to plan for the entire lifespan of their horse?

As usual, since this is a blog post and not a book, in the next part of the series I’ll try to come back with the site’s horse relinquishment solutions to see if one, or more, might work for Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover out here on the home place.

God bless all y’all and enjoy Celtic Thunder doing Heartland.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love ’em.

Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part lll

RIP dear goldfish, Sadie.  I never caught you smoking or running around even one time, but you did seem to have a drinking problem

RIP dear goldfish, Sadie. I never caught you smoking or running around even once, but you did seem to have a drinking problem

For the past two weeks in the series Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part l and Part ll, I’ve talked about end of life issues for horses, guinea pigs, and now goldfish. (I wasn’t aware of goldfish Sadie’s name until my granddaughter, Blondie, and her friend removed her from the garden pond for Christian burial.) Even small as Sadie was, however, her demise posed somewhat of a problem for two little girls–they didn’t bury her deep enough and a number of flies swarmed about her grave. Which helps illustrate the point I ended with last week: Not all beloved animals are created equal. Some are small and easily disposed of, some leave huge, rotting corpses.

This is where horse slaughter facilities–recently legalized in Oklahoma–come in.

As I confessed in Part l, I’m not a lawyer, a politician, an animal rights activist, or politically correct. I’m just Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover and owner out here on the home place presenting a viewpoint my readers won’t get from most media outlets or animal rights groups.

The term ‘horse slaughter’ conjures up horrifying images, so I’ll attempt to  present some basic ‘horse slaughter’ issues in the more pleasant terms of an allegorical tale nobody will ever read in popular media. Hold on to your saddle horn, here we go.

Mr. Joe Not-So-Cool, lives in a studio apartment in a big city. He doesn’t have a parking space for a car, so for his fortieth birthday his mom gave him a Segway for his transportation needs. Cars contribute to global warming and she wants him to do his part to minimize his carbon footprint.

Joe, however, has a secret yearning (hidden from his mother) to own a pickup truck all rigged out with big tires, chrome rims, and heavy-duty suspension. A Dodge Ram truck, if possible. In his dreams, he sees himself with his arm hangin’ out the side window, the wind blowin’ on his balding spot…super, super cool.

Joe’s Super Cool Dream:

http://blog.cardomain.com/2009/02/09/cardomain-obscure-muscle-car-parking-lot-the-dodge-warlock-and-lil-red-express/

photo via blog.cardomain.com

Joe’s Kinda Crummy Reality:

segway

While Joe is riding his Segway to work one day, a big billboard catches his attention: We Buy Junk Ram Trucks.

He rolls up to the junkyard’s chain-link fence and stares in horrified disbelief at a giant crushing machine loaded with a beautiful Dodge Ram truck. The rest of the yard is stuffed full of other Dodge trucks and some of them are still running!  Then right before his very eyes, the crushing machine mercilessly closes. With a scream of wrenching metal and shattering glass, the crusher smashes Joe’s dream truck flat as a pancake. Its lubricating fluids drip slowly onto the ground.

What kinds of heartless dingbats would crush a dream like that?

Joe whirls around on his Segway and heads for his office at top speed where he immediately gets on the internet to find how he can help stop the carnage. The search engine suggests a truck lovers’ group called Dodge Trucks Forever. Joe promptly clicks the link. A large group of truck lovers in his area welcome him into the organization with a vegetable mixer type party.

A few days later, some of his new friends hop on his Segway with him and they roll up to the state capital to hold a press conference and try to influence laws about Dodge Ram truck crushing. Some of his new friends start making angry, threatening gestures and he is surprised by their rudeness, but hey, these are Dodge Ram trucks they are trying to save.

The Opposing Viewpoint are on the capitol steps dodging the rotten eggs and moldy tomatoes as they shout, “Hey, y’all, wait a minute…! What’s everybody supposed to do with all the old Dodge Ram trucks out there? The wrecks? The lemons? The ones without motors, or drive-trains, or that will cost more to fix than even our government and its apparently bottomless bankroll can justify?”

Joe wavers. His social life has finally picked up a little–the vegetable mixers and what not–so he’s been too busy to think about all that just yet.

(For the sake of this strange story, Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover is going to take the part of “The Opposing Viewpoint”, now. And in the interest of brevity, we will just call her Grandma.)

Grandma approaches Joe’s Segway, scraping tomato seeds from her hair. “Joe, you seem like a nice guy. I admire your kind heart, but maybe you just don’t have all the facts of life.”

Facts of life? Ha. In spite of living in the cramped apartment in his mom’s attic, he has recently met a girl and might soon get his own place. Nobody needs to give him facts of life. He plants his feet on his Segway, determined not to let himself be confused by Grandma’s hocus-pocus facts since his mind is already made up.  Waving his sign, he shouts with renewed vigor, “Dodge trucks forever…Dodge trucks forever…Heartless goobers!”

“Joe, please…not everyone is like you,” Grandma yells over the noise. “Some people actually use their Dodge Ram trucks and fill them full of very expensive diesel. Some of us ranchers and farmers have fleets of them. They carry our kids and grandkids around, Joe. We love them. But they don’t last forever. Eventually we need new Dodge Ram trucks. This truck crushing issue is complicated. It has no one-size-fits-all solution, Joe. What works for me as Grandma with my rows of rusting Dodge trucks out in the pasture might not work for someone in his backyard. The neighbors will complain, Joe. We have to have somewhere to go with our clunkers, no matter how much we love them. If you have solutions for this problem you and your friends are creating, I will consider them. Joe.”

Please join me next week for Part lV of the Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues series to find out if Mr. Joe Not-So-Cool lays any solutions on Grandma, or if he just kicks his Segway into high gear and flees to consult the Dodge Trucks Forever website.

Until next time, God bless all y’all.

Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part ll

Photo credit Arabian Horse World Magazine

Photo credit Arabian Horse World Magazine

Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting…

~Holy Bible, from the book of Job

 
 
 

Last week I thanked Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and our state legislators for legalizing horse processing facilities in our state and promised to tackle a series about some end of life issues for horses, guinea pigs, and maybe even gramma and grampa, to illustrate why.

I was mostly goofing around about the guinea pigs, but since have discovered from agriculture commentator Trent Loos’ written column, Loos Tales, National Public Radio recently ran this headline:

From Pets To Plates: Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs

Courtesy of Curtiss Calleo
Courtesy of Curtiss Calleo

Mmm…Makes me want to nibble on their little heads

Here is a short excerpt from the NPR website:

…According to activists, eating guinea pig is good for the environment. Matt Miller, an Idaho-based science writer with The Nature Conservancy, says rodents and other small livestock represent a low-impact meat alternative to carbon-costly beef. Miller, who is writing a book about the ecological benefits of eating unconventional meats, visited Colombia several years ago. At the time, he says, conservation groups were expressing concern about local ranchers clearing forest to provide pasture for their cattle — activity that was causing erosion and water pollution.

“They were encouraging people to switch from cattle to guinea pigs,” Miller says. “Guinea pigs don’t require the land that cattle do. They can be kept in backyards, or in your home. They’re docile and easy to raise…

They certainly are. My little calico guinea pig, Petunia, was one of my favorite pets. If I had only known she was a low-impact meat alternative, I could’ve–

Oh, dear, I feel like I’m almost getting off topic…Now, where was I…?

Oh, yes. The horse slaughter issue.

Photo by kurt golgart
Photo by kurt golgart

A few years ago, Gramps and I took a trip to Branson, Missouri. Outside Springfield, we passed a billboard depicting a dozen, or so, wild-eyed horses behind a fence. Across the bottom of the scene, an animal rights group encouraged passing motorists to end horse slaughter.

I have no idea where the picture was taken. Possibly it was taken at a horse slaughter facility, or it might’ve merely been in a corral where a rancher had just brought in the two-year-olds off the range. But that doesn’t matter, because almost every little girl who passed the sign wanted to stop horse slaughter immediately. I know because I was once a tender-hearted little girl who loved horses. That purity of heart in anyone, female, male, old, or young, is precious and should be highly valued.

However, our emotions can’t change facts of life.

If you’re a tender-hearted horse lover I find no fault with that, but before you reach into your pocket and hand out money to stop horse slaughter, please join me in examining a couple of the most basic scenarios for guinea pig ranchers or horse owners in my area.

Some scenarios:

  • The guinea pig rancher goes out to feed one morning and finds a favorite guinea pig dead of old age. The guinea pig rancher can either bar-b-que the two-pound guinea pig, or bury her beneath a favorite tree in the yard. If the rancher grills her, the carcass smells pretty good. If the rancher buries her deep enough, her carcass is odorless. Sad, but not a giant problem.
  • A horse owner finds her 1000-1200 pound horse dead of old age. She doesn’t want to gnaw on her beautiful, intelligent companion of many years. (Unless she is hungry enough to…er…eat a horse.) So, she has a logistical problem in the form of a huge mound of rotting horse meat.

Some possible solutions for the horse owner with plenty of land:

  • If she has plenty of land away from a water source and mechanical digging equipment, she can dig a deep grave and bury her horse.
  • If she has plenty of land, some shovels, and some teen-age boys, she might get a grave dug, eventually. (But only if the boys are brothers. If they’re a crew of friends, forget it.)
  • If she has plenty of land and a shovel, but is a small, wimpy ranch/farm woman, she might scratch out a grave about 3 feet long and a couple of feet deep then give up and crawl in it herself. (Depending on the woman, that might, or might not, be a solution.)
  • If she has plenty of land, mechanical equipment, and a chain, she can pull her horse’s carcass out away from the home place and the other livestock and let the coyotes and nature do what they do.

Some possible problems for the horse owner who lives on a two acre rancho and finds a 1000 pound corpse in the backyard:

  • The neighbors might call the cops if the owner brings in a backhoe and starts digging a grave.
  • The neighbors might call the cops if they even see teen-age boys out there with shovels.
  • The neighbors are just waiting for the wimpy woman to fall into the grave so they can come cover her up themselves.

Join me next Monday as I continue the series with more scenarios and a personal reason or two why I–as Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover–appreciate the need for horse slaughter facilities.

God Bless All y’all until next time.

 

Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part l

-Animals-Horses-Ranch-Montana-Fresh-New-Hd-Wallpaper--

Photo courtesy HDWallpaper.ws

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  ~Winston Churchill

Well, my Sockless Sunday Campaign  to save Chihuahua pelts everywhere didn’t take off as I’d hoped. I couldn’t even shake down a couple of my blog followers for donations. Bummer. Let’s see, now. I need a fresh topic. Oh, I know…I’ll tackle horse slaughter.

Horse slaughter has been hotly debated in Oklahoma lately, and last month Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill legalizing horse processing facilities in the state, but banned processing horses for human consumption. Some people object to horse meat because horses are sometimes medicated with drugs that might adversely affect humans, but others object on principle because horses are beautiful and intelligent creatures.

I don’t personally have a problem with people who eat horse meat. People from other cultures eat stranger things. Such as bugs. Or snakes. Or, in some countries, their dogs. Or guinea pigs, as I found in another of my posts which you can read here.

-Animals-Fresh-New-Hd-Wallpaper--guinea pig

photo courtesy HDWallpaper.ws

While I don’t plan to dine on horse meat or guinea pigs anytime soon, I would if I got hungry enough. Read the excellent book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand about the Olympic runner Louis Zamperini. After a few weeks in a life raft in the middle of the ocean, he and his wreck-mates would literally have tried to eat anything. And, don’t even ask what was on the Donner Party‘s supper menu. Gross.

“What’s with these Okies?” somebody’s saying. “First the governor, now this wretched farm woman making a mockery of truly magnificent animals. What does she even know about anything?”

Hey (as hairy Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty would say). I’ve earned an opinion on the horse slaughter question. I’m not a lawyer, a politician, an animal rights activist, or politically correct, but I am Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover and owner out here on the home place where we deal with real life–and end of life–issues every day.

Girl and Shetland Pony

Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Horses have been a grand passion to me all my life. It’s impossible for me to make a mockery of, or hate on, horses. I started riding when I was younger than my granddaughter, Blondie (above), when my dad brought home a quarter horse/welsh cross pony my sisters and I shared. Cocoa was her name. Ever since then, except for a handful of years in my life, I’ve had a horse or two, or five, eating their heads off around the place.

Now that I have established my horse lover bona fides, (or, for those whose Latin is rusty: Evidence of good faith…A sincere statement or evidence of good intentions,) and am only writing a blog post, not a book, I will end for today. But throughout the next few Mondays, I’ll tackle some end of life issues for horses, guinea pigs, and maybe even grampa and gramma. Because even though the subject isn’t pleasant, some might want to understand why the horse slaughter debate is such a big deal–even for Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover–and why I deeply appreciate our governor and legislators legalizing horse processing facilities in the state.

God Bless all y’all until next time.

More Posts

Snakes and Ol’ Farm Gals

Excuse Me While I Order A Broccoli Catcher For Meatless Monday

Sockless Sunday On Meatless Monday

Smoky

Smoky. What a handsome pair of socks he would’ve made

Don’t ask me why this is, but ranch and farm families often have a yard full of dogs, and then one or more inside the house, too. We just can’t get enough dogs.

For years, we McGriffiths kept chihuahuas in the house. The most recent was the late Smoky, pictured above. Smoky had an unfortunate encounter on a gravelled road with a pickup. But he was cute, wasn’t he? Gramps and I really miss him. As I shall soon illustrate, however, the McGriffiths lean heavily toward practicality rather than sentimentality.

When Son #1 was about seven-years-old, we had a chihuahua named Cookie. She was a great little dog, but unfortunately she was elderly and developed some health issues. Her days were numbered.

One night, my three little sons said their prayers then I sent them to bed. I then collapsed into my chair in the living room of our old farm-house to read a book. Son #1 was in my range of vision as he climbed the ladder to his bunk bed with Cookie tucked under his arm.

“Hey, Mom,” he called into the living room, “if Cookie dies we could skin her out and make me some socks.”

The McGriffiths were way ahead on the repurposing movement.

Cookie eventually disappeared. Animals often go off by themselves to die, particularly if they don’t want to end up as socks. But the point is, even at age seven, Son #1 had a practical view of death. As a farm kid, he’d been acquainted with birth, life, and death all his life.

whiteface cow

Growing up on a farm in Colorado, I had been acquainted with the same things, but when I was twelve-years-old I fell in love with the cow pictured above, named…wait for it…White Face. (The guernsey in the background was the family milk cow, Tiny.)

One day, my dad announced the butcher man would be out to the place to, well…butcher…White Face. I immediately devoted the full force of my twelve-year-old angst to saving White Face’s life.

I bawled. I begged. I was sent to my room pouting. I drew bad sketches of the cow. I wrote her name, White Face, over and over in my sketchbook. In big cursive and little cursive. With curl-i-cues and without. IN CAPITAL LETTERS. and small letters. I launched into a hunger strike.

And you know what? My dad refused to be held hostage by my twelve-year-old emotions. For some crazy reason, he was more concerned with filling his kids’ bellies the best way he could than with appeasing me. (I didn’t have a cell phone, either. Nor a tv. I had to read books. Imagine.)

If my dad had given into my demands I might’ve mailed in my donation to some animal rights group and fine-tuned my emotional manipulation skills. Instead, the next morning he made a strong recommendation for me to adjust my attitude to his satisfaction…which I promptly did. Outwardly. But inside, I was still sketching furiously and continuing my hunger strike.

That, however, only lasted until suppertime when the smell of White Face  frying in the pan overcame me.

I know. I feel so guilty. So, to make up for it–while I can’t go along with the Meatless Monday Crusade since I love meat–I want to start my own crusade:

Sockless Sunday.

Please join me in saving chihuahua pelts everywhere.

Until next time, God bless all y’all.

Excuse Me While I Order a Broccoli Trap For Meatless Monday

fresh-fruits-vegetables-2419

I love fruits and veggies. I love to grow them, and I love to eat them. Sometimes I stand in my garden in the summertime and munch raw veggies like a rabbit.

However, the vegan philosophy of abstaining from all animal products including milk, eggs, sometimes honey, wool, leather, fur, and head cheese baffles me. But that’s okay. We live in a country where almost any vegan activist can take up his or her sword of meatlessness because we have plenty of food options–and fake materials  for our clothing and shoes, including Kevlar to protect us from sword wounds.

That’s why, now, on Meatless Monday and in the spirit of, Why can’t we all just get along?, I share this special offer from the Jimmy Kimmel Show and the incredibly hairy guys of Duck Dynasty with my vegan friends.

That video clip was funny and Gramps and I got a good chuckle out of it, but I wonder whether there are areas where people aren’t laughing about food and might still view it as something to be deeply thankful for. For instance, in Sudan, Africa–formerly one country, now two–civil war, religious persecution, and genocide may have left many wishing for ANY kind of food for their children, especially a piece of meat.

But, What Do Y’all Think?

  • Has the American Family Farm or Ranch done its job so well people can afford to take food for granted?
  • Does a comfortably fed country tend to lose its common sense?
  • Would you rather eat broccoli…or head cheese like my grandma used to make? (I am raising my hand for broccoli, and since I’m the cook, that’s what Gramps’ll have, too.)

With us two skipping the head cheese, I’d better go order a couple of Uncle Si’s nifty broccoli traps for me and Gramps. While I’m gone, God bless all y’all and enjoy Nicole C Mullen tearin’ up one of my favorite songs, Redeemer.

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like her.


More Meaty Monday Posts

Hook Me Up With One O’ Them Veggie Burgers For Meatless Monday

More Cowboy Poetry and Raising Vegetables For Slaughter In SW Oklahoma