Friday, December 28, 2012

pig slaughtering and butchering for beginners

I decided to take a little hiatus from blogging during Christmas week, mostly because I actually have some work from my former boss and want to take advantage of that as much as possible.

I have an obscene number of pictures from today, though, because we helped our neighbors, the Brewers, slaughter and butcher two of their hogs, and we've both been really looking forward to learning this since we both love bacon and ribs and pork tenderloin immensely. Pigs are definitely in our near future!


The cows like to watch all the action.

I got distracted by this little guy while we waited for the fire to heat up the scalding water.

Starting the fire.

Distracted again.

Part of the Brewers' property. It was a muddy day after all the rain we've gotten recently.

Future bacon. Thank you, piggie.

Almost hot enough.

Figuring out logistics.

Positioning the killing pen.

The little piggie in the middle was spared today.

Didn't mean for this to be out of focus, but maybe it's better that way for the faint of heart.

Loosening the hair with the near boiling water
(you don't want it boiling -- that's too hot) and scraping it off.

Comes with the territory.

One pig done.

Tenderloins and backstraps. (FYI, you don't actually get tenderloin when you buy pork tenderloin at the store --
you get the backstraps, which are much bigger but less tender than the actual tenderloins.)

We were offered the jowls and ears of piggie #1 (among other parts like the brain and heart that we politely declined).
The jowls are supposed to be similar to bacon, and I will TRY the ears,
just to say I did, but they might become dog treats.

Got the focus right on piggie #2. Relatively certain I got the point of impact.

Two pigs' worth of meat.

Today was a very good day. It's very empowering to understand exactly where your food comes from (or rather, how our future meat will be processed). The only thing that shocked me a little was how long it took the pigs to stop moving. Their throats get slit immediately after the gunshot to the head, but the twitching continues for a good ten minutes afterwards. The Brewers use a .22 rifle to kill their pigs, but we will likely use a .22 mag or .40 caliber handgun, just to play it safe.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

mini bark nuggets save the day

Puppy Quentin was getting a little muddy, what with all the moisture lately and little puppy feet tearing everything up to smithereens, so I picked up ten 3 cubic foot bags of mini bark nuggets at a local gardening shop in Weber City, VA the other day to soak up some of the sogginess and give the puppies a nice, dry spot in which to wreck havoc (and poop -- because they do that a lot).

I initially planned to get a cubic yard of bulk bark mulch from a place in Kingsport, but they decided to be closed on Saturday due to the holidays. I ended up having two bags leftover from the puppy run, so I figured they would be put to good use soaking up some of the muddiness at the front of our porch steps. It ended up being only about ten bucks cheaper for the bagged stuff, and I decided to repurpose the plastic bags as a weed supressor instead of throwing them away.

Forty bucks for easy poop scooping and dry boots. Bark mulch is one of those things that could probably be substituted with something cheaper, but it's worth every penny in my book. I love it to pieces.

Friday, December 21, 2012

#2 and #3

We're refilling our freezer and jerky reserves with lots more delicious venison! Jay got his second deer on Wednesday, and BiL got his first on Tuesday.

Jay thought it would be funny to include Clyde in the shot of BiL and his spike in that last picture. In the ones before it, they're dragging down Jay's doe (might be trading in Jay's bike for a couple ATVs here soon).

We're in the midst of some light snowfall right now, and I'm snuggled up with a kitty and puppies lounging all over the place while the two brothers seek out more white tails. Truly heaven on earth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

puppy quentin

Not much has gotten done around the ol' homestead lately except for erecting Puppy Quentin, which serves to corral these two little poop machines when we need to get things done inside, let them out to pee in the middle of the night, or Clyde Dog needs a break from sharp puppy teeth.

Talk about the best big brother dog ever. He lets them play with his tail and nibble on his toes. They fall asleep on him, jump all over his face, steal his toys, and he still wants to check on them every time they leave the room to make sure they're okay.

It is so stinking cute.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Meet Moose and Tally.

Bonnie is a super sweet girl, but she had a hard time leaving Nekkie alone. Her super awesome foster mom is taking care of her again now, and in return, we took in these two cute little buggers off her hands.