Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Living proof

It's true. If there is any disbelief in anyone's mind, cast it aside. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, large livestock confinement operations are ideal breeding grounds for disease. Turkey barns, egg factories, feed lots, old farmhouses in rural Minnesota. Wherever many animals of the same species are living together for long periods of time in a confined area.

We are the living proof. Last week my husband's family -- father, two brothers, two sisters-in-law, niece and two nephews -- stayed with us to celebrate the holidays. Thirteen people living under the same roof for four days straight.

We had a grand time, don't get me wrong. Highlights -- gift opening, rockin' Settlers of Catan games, my brothers-in-law getting the sagging barn doors to close, an evening raw milk run with my sister-in-law, baking and decorating about a bazillion sugar cookies, forcing people to watch Fresh the movie, my brother-in-law's Russian peasant woman costume and dance, and the building of massive snow forts in the backyard.

Lowlights -- On day three the littlest guy (far right in the couch below) getting sick at breakfast. His Mom & Dad thought it was because he was eating too fast, but now I'm not so sure. On day four the oldest girl and second littlest guy (far left and second from the right) got stomach sick. That evening, after everyone had left, our littlest guy (third from the right) got stomach sick. Yesterday morning I went down with a debilitating head cold, and yesterday afternoon our middlest boy (third from the left) got it too.

My brother-in-law phoned today and told us that now he has a head cold. So, out of the thirteen people who lived in our house last week, seven of them have gotten sick. The temps last week ranged from 7 above to 15 below zero. The kids spent some time playing outside, but not a lot. That meant a lot of people spending a lot of time in a small area. Ideal breeding grounds for all kinds of ick.

On one of the short stints outside, our eldest tried snowboarding on a sled down our septic mound. You take what slopes you can get out on the prairie.

Of course, the other large livestock companies attempt to mitigate their disease problems by continually feeding low dose antibiotics to their animals. Hmm. There's a thought. Maybe next Christmas I'll spike the hot cocoa with penicillin. Hey, if Cargill and Tyson can get away with it, why can't I?

Ah, you know me -- organic, chemical-free gal that I am. I'm just kidding.



Erin said...

even on a little homestead in MN? LOL, you are great at finding humor in a terrible situation! So sad to hear about all the sickness, couldn't have been pretty! With the septic sledding at least you all got to see more sunlight than the average chicken in confinement! You might be onto something about requiring everyone to take meds prior to descending on the house for the holidays! Hope you are on the mend and glad your're back

Maple Lawn Farm said...

So sorry so many of you got sick! :-( Hope everyone is feeling better soon! Maybe you can drink extra raw milk and take extra vitamins before your guests arrive next year (and then insist that there is no kissing, no hugging and that everyone sterilize their hands every few minutes?) I'm just kidding. ;-)

Mr. H. said...

What an interesting perspective, I hope everyone recovers soon. Penicillin spiked cocoa.:)

I will never understand why so many people do not take issue with their food being raised in such a manner. It boggles the mind.

Karen said...

Wow! Can't have been much fun! Hope you're recovering nicely now! We find out about Mom's radiation schedule tomorrow. We'll talk about visiting based on that and how she feels. Maybe you don't want any visitors for a while!!! We would only stay a day or so anyway! Are you planning on coming over anytime soon?

Caleb W said...

So far we are all feeling fine in my house. Malachi hasn't shown any sign of feeling ill so I don't know? I'll just watch out for the cocoa next time I visit :)