Yesterday was our first poultry processing day of the year. Since we are still a small, family farm with no paid staff, we rely on fiends to help out on these days. There is a core group of folks I can always count on to help out, and we added a few more this year. It amazes me that people are willing to give up an entire morning, come out to the farm and work with us. We cannot afford to pay them yet, so I pay them in products from our farm store. I say afterwards “Thanks for being here, we could not have done it without you. Help yourself to anything you want.” We have no commercial equipment, so our process is a little slower than most. Yesterday it took four people about five hours to process and package 60 birds.
These days remind me of the way things used to be in rural communities. A local farmer had a big day for harvesting something he had grown or raised, and so he called his friends and they came over to help out. Remember the hog killings they used to have in the Fall of the year. The farmer could raise those pigs throughout the year himself, but he needed help on processing day. And in return, the farmer who received the help today would be at the friend’s place next week helping him out, all for no compensation because that’s what neighbors do. Being a good neighbor means giving and receiving, because it’s the right thing to do. We were made for community like this, so these days are a little taste of Heaven for me.