Monday, March 9, 2009

Boys & Butchering

Saturday morning found us traveling to my sister's over by Maquoketa to butcher. This was the second Saturday we have butchered. I'm not sure how many hogs were done the first time, but they did 15 hogs this time, most of which was made into sausage and brat patties. I'm sure to many of you this sounds rather old fashioned, red-neck, whatever. In fact, I didn't grow up doing this--our meat came from grandpa's stash at the locker or from the grocery store. Bud's family always butchered everything. They're favorite saying was, "When we're done butchering a pig the only thing left is the squeal!". And they were right! I've helped them make lard and ladled the cracklings out to go in blood sausage, I've pressure cooked the hog's head and picked the meat off to use in head cheese, and I've wrapped and wrapped the meat! My family just got into this in the past 10 years or so. My BIL arranges to purchase hogs at a greatly reduced price, my nephew kills and skins them, and then everyone helps with the cutting up and wrapping. They had a conglomeration of friends and family there to help. Honestly, I have to say it is the best meat. This way we really know that the meat in our freezer is ours and what the quality is.

There is one downside to this though. And it was a downside with Bud's family too. And that is that you always have a "surprise" package of meat in your bunch. Last year I took a whole loin with us camping and planned to feed Trilby's family along with us two. I set it out to thaw and sometime in the afternoon Payton picked it up and threw it back into the sink. As it clunked I wondered why it was still so frozen. So, I felt it and it was not thawed at all! As I unwrapped it and got a good whiff of it I realized that it wasn't a loin at all. Oh no, thanks to my niece and nephew we were gifted with the lower leg of a hog--hair, hoof, manure and all!! Needless to say, we didn't have loin for supper. The coons certainly enjoyed their little snack sometime in the night as they managed to get it out of our trash can!

Saturday I only helped with the butchering for a short time and then I was the designated baby-sitter for two two year olds--my grandson Nate, and my great-nephew, Evan, and my five year old grandson, Cael.

They kept me hopping as they played, ate, and played some more. Evan, an only child, was awed by Nate and Cael and their good natured fighting and horseplay. He did get a little braver as they day went on and he and Nate decided to jump down several stairs. Luckily I convinced them to stop before we really had broken bones!

All in All we had a great day. I just don't know who was the most tired--Nana or the boys!

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