Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yakkity Yak

We've been going to this wonderful little farmer's market here in Arizona. We get fresh fruits & veggies, honey, prickly pear jelly, fresh eggs, grass-fed meat, and delicious baked treats. Everyone there knows us and every week there are a few people who chat with us and give the kids treats (fresh tomatoes, dried fruit, or bread.) It's so much fun and everything is local.

Vegan/vegetarian readers, you may want to stop reading now!

A few weeks ago I decided to try some yak meat on a whim. We love bison so I figured we'd give it a shot. I was talking to the farmer who raises the yaks and he told me that he raises emus and several other animals too. Then he invited us to come to his farm!

Last week I hauled everyone out to the farm-my 6 kids as well as a friend and her 2 kids. We drove out into the desert and found the emu farm nestled in the mesquite trees. All 10 of us piled out of the van and into the dusty heat of a southwestern summer day. We saw potbellied pigs and Leila and Sarah were disturbed by all of the flies that were swarming everywhere. Then we saw this 15-month old emu. He was funny to watch because his legs were so long and he has these teeny little wings. The kids were amused.
Everybody touched the chickens-even Nathan. As you can see, Sarah tried to kiss the chickens. She wanted to get in the emu's face too but we had to hold her back. She is fearless!
Next we saw the huge yaks. Actually, huge doesn't even begin to describe these beasts. They look like big, hairy cows with horns. The biggest male had a rack as wide as my arms. They were massive! The yaks are originally from Tibet but somehow they survive out here in the desert.
The youngest baby is a year old but the farmer still feeds her a bottle so that she'll stay friendly. All of the kids thought this was the neatest thing! After she finished drinking her bottle, she suckled on the farmer's fingers. It was at this point that Sarah tried to go into the enclosure with the yaks and terrified them so they all took off running. That girl really has no fear!
In addition to the bigger animals, the farm is also home to some adorable little sheep and goats. The kids had a great time chasing the goats. Sarah picked up some goat poo (round pellets) and was tossing them into a bucket of water. (What is wrong with my child?) Matthew was the "goat whisperer" and was proud that the goats came up to him. All in all, I think every animal on that farm was pretty terrified of us. Maybe it was "the Beast" that scared them? Or the 8 loud children?
Just before we left the farmer and his wife showed us some beautiful emu eggs. They were such a gorgeous shade of turquoise and they were huge. We were all impressed with the farm-and the farmer and his sweet wife. They took time out of their busy day to show us their animals and my kids are still talking about the goats. We see yaks and emus and they are most interested in some little old goats?
It's ok. I am glad the kids didn't get too attached to the yaks. We had them for dinner.

The farmer's wife told me that their children used to ask what meat they were eating. They refused to eat the yaks since they were sort of like the family pets. They actually name each of them so I guess they get pretty attached. Personally, I prefer not to know the name of who I just ate for dinner. I was a vegetarian for 8 years so I consider it a big deal that I'm even able to cook meat at all, let alone meet it and greet it beforehand.
What goes with yak? How about some s'mores for dessert? Doesn't that sound nice?
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