We bought half a grass fed Angus beef last week from a local rancher. It's a big chunk of change to shell out all at once, but the freezer is full of good beef that didn't spend any part of its life in a feedlot, didn't have to endure the indignity of a large commercial slaughterhouse, and didn't have to be shipped from a thousand miles away to a distributor, then again to a grocery store, to appear on pink Styrofoam platters wrapped in plastic.
A bonus from this purchase was a box full of suet. Suet is a great food for attracting birds, but it is getting harder to find, and more expensive, in grocery stores. I've heard the reason is they are now getting more money to render the suet and put it into animal feeds or...well, I don't want to know. But this producer doesn't ship away the leftovers. He also asked if we wanted any liver; he personally does not like it and was willing to give us as much as we wanted. We got about three pounds; I've never eaten liver before, but I'm willing to try.
I put up the suet in a feeder this afternoon and was instantly mobbed by over a dozen chickadees. It's cold out, and they somehow know that this has the energy they need to make it through the night.
By the way, the heavy chain in the background of the photo was one of Calvin's ideas from last summer. I still don't know what he was up to...