A Farm Report

I hadn’t been to my friend Cedo’s farm for quite a while, so I was very interested to see how everything was going up there. She told me there are 11 new calves, and there are more on the way. Sure enough, there were cows everywhere!

Of course, while we were there I had to visit the pigs. This visit felt slightly different though. One of them recently ended up in various freezers and on various dinner tables, including ours. I don’t think I have ever eaten an animal that I had met previously. I know they are raised for meat so it didn’t feel too weird, but I also didn’t witness or take part in the process of converting it from one of these to packages of meat.

It was strange to see the chicken area empty. Apparently, a while back, there was a problem with coyotes or something killing chickens, so the remaining chickens were brought down to Cedo’s back yard where they are happily running around and laying eggs, well except for the rooster who is happily running around, crowing, and keeping an eye on all the ladies.

It seemed like there were calves everywhere, and I’m sure I missed a few of them.

So this is a little bit of what things are looking like at the farm these days. (sshhh, don’t say this too loud, knock on wood, cross fingers, etc etc) Things have been going smoothly. No one has been seriously sick (though Cedo has brought up medicine on a regular basis for one thing or another), no one has died, and nothing has broken. We are much luckier here than in other parts of Panama because although we aren’t getting a normal amount of rainfall this season, at least we are getting enough to keep things going. In the Azeuro Peninsula many animals are dying because of lack of rain and not enough water or grass to eat.

We also had an unexpected treat on this visit, a pavo de campo (a wild turkey, Panama style).  There were two of them running around in the grass beside the driveway up to the farm. Cedo says people like to find their eggs and give them to the chickens who will raise them with their own chicks. People eat them but the meat is harder and has a different flavor. I think they are just very pretty birds!

It was a good day, and we came home with lots of things – chayotes (a nice squash veggie, one of my favorites), bananas, firewood, plantain leaves, bijao leaves (yes, tamales are planned!), and a few starts of otoe for me ( also knows as taro. It’s a root vegetable that I like a lot, and the plants are also very beautiful).

Speaking of rain, we are having a downpour so I should publish this and log off just in case! Thank you clouds for the rain.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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6 Responses to A Farm Report

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    I’ve found that chayote is wonderful as one of the veggies in a stir-fry dish.

    I’ve always thought that a lot of the social no noes of cultural food taboos were silly. I mean I’ve eaten horse steaks and roasts over in France and it’s delicious and unless someone tells you what it actually is you wouldn’t know it from beef (or buffalo for that matter which I’ve eaten in the States). But the thought of eating horse send shudders of revulsion in a lot of Americans. Same with dog.

    If I was somewhere where eating dog was normal I’d give it a try, but I’m certainly not going to off the dirty dog that lives at my house.

    It’s a well established fact that pigs are AT LEAST as smart as dogs, and you can see that intelligence when you go visit Cedo’s place and the pigs come out to greet you. And while many people would NEVER eat a domesticated dog or cat, they have absolutely NO PROBLEM raising, slaughtering and eating the porcine species in uncounted millions world-wide.

    Kind of silly, isn’t it?

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    • From what I understand pigs are one of the most intelligent animals. Unfortunately for them they also taste really good (thought it is fortunate for them as a species because we like having a lot of them around). I agree it doesn’t make sense why one animal is good to eat and another is taboo. But, we learn a lot of things that don’t make sense, as you well know. Your dog probably isn’t worth eating, probably too old and tough by now so you may as well enjoy her company. 😀

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  2. I have to agree about the taboo eating habits. I am personally a vegetarian but have no problem with others eating meat of any kind especially in other cultures and the “taboos” are well accepted and practiced. To each their own, right? Being vegetarian does restrict us to not having or tasting many cultural dishes but we make do 🙂

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    • Here aside from the main meat dish, many dishes seems to be made with small amounts of meat. They could be made meatless though, especially if you know the cook and can make requests. And of course, if you like rice, beans, and corn based things you’ll have plenty to eat here.

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  3. Eve says:

    Hi Kris, I love living near all of the cattle; our neighborhood is surrounded by pastures. I had no experience with farms or ranches before moving to David. Seeing a calf being born and riding a horse are on my to-do list!

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    • I know what you mean. We’re within the city limits but we still have a lot of green space and farm animals nearby. I think riding a horse is possible but you’d have to be really lucky to find a calf at that special moment.

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