Sunday, April 8, 2012

Butchering Day 2011

When you grow up in a farming family, you know that most of what you raise will end up on your plate. Veggies in the garden go from dirt to dinner. Flocks and herds go from pasture to plate. We know our land and our animals on a first name basis. We have a healthy respect for all things grown, tended...and loved.

 I've discovered as I get older that very few folks experience this same full cycle of life. They don't get the privilege to ever get eyeball to eyeball with their intended dinner. I find this sad. How do you fully appreciate the life sacrificed when you never experienced a relationship with the animal who gave it?

You see, our understanding of food production is vastly different then most folks. We don't just pick up a roast at the grocery and call it dinner. We have time, care and love invested in the animal long before it  graduates to the menu.  When you homestead, your understanding of the food  chain process to the table doesn't start at the grocery store. It starts everyday, when you go out to care for your intended dinner.

When it is time to slaughter the animal, it is done quickly and humanely as possible.The animal is about to fulfil its purpose We KNOW how sacred each life is that we take for food. Its life has gone full circle. . We pray over the animal, thanking Yahuaha/god for it, for the joy it has given us and for the life it is giving to sustain us. We know that all life is sacred and give honor to our Heavenly Father for His blessings. It is only through Him, we are able to live the lifestyle He intended for His people.

The pictures posted below are graphic and not for the squeamish. They were taken late this past summer when we butchered two goats (Annie Goatly and Bobbie Jo) and six chickens ( 2 mean roos, Curly the Curly toed Roo, and 3 hens). You will see pictures of live and dead animals in various stages of the butchering process. This includes bodies missing heads. I suggest you don't have young children around unless you are prepared to answer their questions or comfort them from what they see.

Here are the snapshots of butchering day.

This is a pic of Annie Goatly and Bobbie Jo earlier in the year before they went to "Freezer Camp."  I loved them as they were a homestead gift from our friend Don. He had a few extra doelings and they were great company for my milking Alpine, Emmy Lou. It was hard leading them to the slaughtering area. I'm getting teary eyed just typing this...

Regardless of my sentimental heart, these wonderful does fulfilled their purpose. They have fed our family and others also.

Our friend Don was a huge help in teaching us how to do a kosher slaughter. His wisdom, experience and insight helped us tremendously to understand the home slaughtering process. We are eternally grateful to you, Don!

Butchering the chickens was not nearly as hard to do emotionally as the goats. I think it has to do with chickens just don't have the same intelligence and personality that goats do. Goats are almost like the family dog. They come when you call their name, learn tricks, show affection and are highly trainable. Chickens well...they are just....chickens. We were kind and didn't do the chicken slaughter where the remaining flock could see us. You can see the red chicken coop in the background.

One thing we did learn (by accident) is the best time to butcher chickens is when they are molting. Their feathers are easy to pull and the new feathers coming in are easier to remove. Our chickens have darker feathers so it was easy to see them in contrast to the lighter colored chicken skin.

Notice the smile on my face? That smile is from the satisfaction of pulling the feathers out of one of our mean roos. That demonic rooter would stalk me every time I went in the chicken yard or coop to gather eggs. He flogged me, Brad and also our grandson. I was happy to see his evil head separated from his well fed body and sharply spurred feet. My threat to take him from Cock of the Walk to King of the Crockpot was complete. He was delicious!

Farm life is all about relationship with the land and life our Heavenly Father entrusts you with.  Our Creator intended for His people to have a relationship with His creation. It's the cycle of life for those of us who choose to eat meat.

I honestly don't enjoy butchering. It is not an option if you intend to eat natural, organically grown meat you KNOW is pasture raised without antibiotics. The entire process saddens me. I know that it is through my actions, my CHOICE  to eat flesh that a life is taken.. Because of this, I don't eat nearly the amount of meat I did in years past. Eating flesh is not a requirement to stay healthy, it is an option. My personal preference is to eat meat only occasionally.

My hope for the future is  that our farm will use animal products naturally produced like milk, hair/fleece and eggs. Until that day, we'll just enjoy the blessings we egg at a time.

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