Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Memories - Butcher Hollow

When I was young . . . 

  • it was my job to chase the "chicken with his head cut off" until he had flopped over and lay still then take him back to my mom and older siblings who finished the plucking and butchering.  My neighbor friend and I made a game of it betting which chicken would go the farthest before toppling over.   I didn't like being splattered with blood, but it didn't particularly disgust me either.
  • as for butchering the cows, the mobile butcher drove out in his truck with a hook and a heist and slaughtered them.  I just watched and maybe carried the liver in a bucket back home while he drove the carcass back to his meat-cutting shop.

When I was a newlywed . . .

  • my job was stuffing hams and wrapping meat at the BYU meat lab.  The smell didn't bother me much, at least until I got pregnant with Cali and then the smell definitely became a problem.

When I was a young mother . . . 

  • we raised rabbits, pigs, and steers and Calvin butchered them all.  We also ate plenty of venison.  The best year, however, was the year he shot a moose.

All this to say butchering is not foreign to me and I have enough stomach for it, although I don't love doing it.  (And that is why I shall hope that we always have a small grandchild here when it's butchering time.  Somebody needed to keep Levin out of the way so I took him to gather eggs until the hog was good and dead.)  But what I do love about butchering is doing it as a family and storing up meat for the winter.  

Calvin and Ray baiting one hog out of the pen with an apple.

Cali and Levin watching the pig leave the pen.
At this point Levin and I left for ten or fifteen minutes.

Having hosed the pig off, Ray is attaching him to the tractor so they can lift him into
the scalding tub.  (Aren't you glad I took a discretionary picture?)
Ray has always been a big hunter, so butchering is part of his life.

Ray and Calvin scraping the pig's hide.
The pig is in the cast iron tub of hot water, heated by the little fire beneath it.

Calvin, Ray, and Cali scraping the hide.
Cali is a natural with all things biological.

One of the first traits I loved and admired in Ray is his curiosity.
Look who he passed it on to.

The garage became the meat shop.
Calvin, Ray, and Cali grinding, mixing, and packaging sausage.  We made Italian, summer, and breakfast sausage.

Ray stuffing summer sausage into the casing.

meat chilling in the freezer

Because the chickens are laying so heavy right now and
Ray and Cali's vacuum packaging machine is so good, we bagged eggs too.
I haven't ever frozen beaten eggs before (just whole eggs).
I'll let you know how they turn out and if it's worth it.  

Ray, Cali, and Calvin eating apple skins.  All three of them love the long, stringy things and it looked funny
seeing them all slurping them up so I had them pose.
Cali and Ray remind me of Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti.

A couple of neighbors stopped by to see how the butchering was going.
One had a big bin of apple "seconds" on the back of his truck and he offered us some.
We took a cooler full and made applesauce.
The other neighbor brought big heads of broccoli and cabbage and a dozen melons from his garden.
All we were missing was the pilgrims.

Calvin grinding the apples into sauce.

We had a great weekend. We worked hard and it felt good to get so much food stored away.


Puhlman said... can freeze whole eggs? REALLY? I never knew. Our chickens are laying quite well too. We have seven layers and have been getting about 5 a day...sometimes 3 or 4.

But the funniest thing is when Don went into the pumpkin patch and found 14 turkey eggs. We had no idea she was laying there. The kids just LOVES to eat those big turkey eggs. I think I will try to freeze some if you give me the go ahead.

Love your blog. OH that applesauce looks delicious. I love that machine.

Melinda said...

This is all very foreign to me, growing up in southern CA. I have a very weak stomach and was dry heaving at the second paragraph about the part with the pig so I had to close my eyes and scroll down fast and was happy to find a part with apples.

In my world all meat grows at Costco and I'm okay with that.

Becky said...

Wow...all I can come up with is..."Wow".

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Yes, Lisa, you can freeze whole eggs (or at least we have), but I noticed that when I mixed them into things they left little unbeatable lumps of egg. By beating them first I'm hoping to give them a better texture.

Melinda, I'm REALLY glad I didn't post any blood, I'd have hated to be responsible for you heaving on your keyboard. Your comment made me smile, Costco does have great meat.

Becky, your comment made me smile as well. You are easily impressed. Thank you.

michelle said...

I have absolutely zero experience with butchering, so this was all very foreign to me! What a fascinating life your family has. I was so relieved to find that they were eating apple skins. After the preceding photos, I was a little bit scared.

Great photos, Jane!

Alisa said...

I have to agree with Michelle. I thought the same thing about the apple strings!
I think that I would like to send my kids to experience life with you for a few months. Have you thought about setting up a "camp?" :) Forget the kids. I want to come.

Deidra said...

I remember the mobile butcher coming to our house. Dad sort of insulated us from seeing too much. But I always got where it came from. And seeing a deer or elk hanging out in the lean-to was never too uncommon in the fall.

I remember in high school ag going to the butcher when I was just coming down with the flu. Oh man, I was WOOZY! The smells. Ugh.

I've never experienced chicken or pig slaughtering, and I think I might be too weak for that stuff.

We don't eat much meat, and I think we'd eat a lot less if Chris and I were responsible for raising (or hunting) and butchering it.

And is that the sausage grinder for applesauce? Beats the pants of cranking the Victorio Strainer!

Cassidy said...

So cool!!

melanie said...

The feeling of storing food never gets old for me and I've never taken on any sort of meat. I can't imagine wanting to eat the sausage, bacon, roasts very fast. I'd like looking at the full freezer!

Melinda's Costco comment made me laugh too.

Ande said...

I wish I was there, it looks like such a fun weekend. Although a bit smelly. I remember chicken butchering time and it was mine and Ty's job to catch the chickens and brings them over the get hung upside down.

Mindy said...

I second Becky's "Wow!" Can't say I have ever butchered a pig but I have made homemade applesauce and there is nothing like it at any grocery store! What great memories!

Kim Sue said...

This is not the first time that I have thought that I wish I could hang at your house! Not sure about the hands on butchering but I'm pretty good with the sausage grinder.

Brenda Goodrich said...

Not sorry we passed on the "experience". Jerry from Basin Meats called today to see how I wanted my pig cut and wrapped and I was so happy to let her know:)

Marie said...

Wow. Now that is self sufficient.

(I wish I knew someone who raised pigs. I'd happily swap half of Dirk's elk he just got this week for some pork. Elk is just fine, but I do love me some pork)