Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bringing home the bacon

We "harvested" a hog this weekend.  It is so much easier loading a pig up in the trailer, driving to the processing plant, writing out the cutting order, picking up nice white packages of meat ready to put in the skillet, write out the big fat check for the nice people who did all the work.  Sooooo, to move towards an even more self-sustainable lifestyle, we took on the job ourselves.  Over Thanksgiving, my family came to help us butcher two of our pigs.  Dad is a master butcher.  Makes it all look so easy.  But as he mentioned several times, the only way a person learns is to get in there and do it.  

We looked at articles on the internet.  We looked at how-to videos on You Tube.  We listened to Garrison Keiller talk about the last hog killing in Lake Wobegon.  We tried to give each other pep talks and try to remember all the steps Daddy so thoroughly showed us over Thanksgiving.  I tried to recall every thing I watched during all those years of my childhood, being sidekick and helper in the butcher shop.  

Well, we did it.  Our doctor friend and eight miles down the road neighbor came over to help.  We figured that with all his expertise in anatomy he would be of great assistance.  He was!  He pulled the trigger that ended the life of the pig.  It was quick and humane.  We were sad.  Grateful to God for giving us good things to eat.  Aware that there are costs involved.  Then quickly moved beyond sad to skinning and eviscerating.  What a lot of work for people who don't really know what they are doing!  The two to three hour job took close to four.  I can see how the big hog slaughter of days gone by was such a community/family event.  We learned some specific questions to ask my dad before we do this the next time.  We learned we don't want to do this job every month, so glad it is a seasonal cold weather event.  We learned that there is a lot of work involved in real food and are glad that our children are getting the opportunity to learn that lesson, too.  

Yesterday I boned out the meat, cut up pork chops, wrapped up ribs and decided to make sausage on Monday.  What a lovely amount of meat.  Breakfast should be covered for awhile.  But since we know it won't last forever, BBQ, our new little piggy, is busy foraging and eating, and otherwise pretending she is a cow.  We call her Barbie.  We are grateful for all our animals fulfilling their purpose in life.  Grateful to know our meat was grown in a clean, healthy, humane environment.  Fed healthy foods, instead of medicated "ration".  Glad to know that hard work is good.  But gotta figure out a way to get Daddy to come and apprentice me in the process a few times.  Beeves should be ready for butchering come next winter.....Wonder what it would take to entice him to show us how to cut up a whole steer!  

1 comment:

Debbie Millman said...

SO glad you're writing all this down. It is going to be fun for your kids to read one day. Ten years from now when you're the expert hog slaughter person in your county, it'll seem like child's play. When can I come over for breakfast?