Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beef and Pork

Still snowing. Every ding-dong day!  Night, actually.  It snows every night, and I wake to 2-3 inches of heavy wet snow.  The days warm enough to clear most of it away.

I go for a load of firewood in the afternoons.  I'm trying not to panic.  We still need three more rows in the basement.  Three more rows and it's already snowing!  The forecast claims I still have some better weather coming.  I don't know whether to believe it or not.

My chainsaw broke.  It won't switch gears, so it's in for repairs.  I started using #1's saw.  He forgot to tighten the nuts after tightening the chain.  One went flying.  Now I'm using #2's saw.  It's much heavier than mine.  Oh crappy week.

Things in the butcher shop are coming together.

***  Graphic Images will follow! ***

Inside the smoker- we filled both racks with seasoned strips of beef.
So far we've got about 8 pounds of jerky on the go.  Both the oven and the smoker.  Husband set the smoker up on top of the woodstove in the garage.  We aren't burning (smoking) it, just using it as an oven with the heat from the wood stove.  It works pretty well.  We're using the first recipe from the two I made last year.  I have another 6 pounds or so cut for the next batch.  I think I'll try something new, rather than the second recipe- they didn't like it as well.

Ground beef is coming along nicely.  30 pounds so far.  Husband had to fiddle with the grinder again.  Did I mention last year what a crappy design this meat saw is?  Dad spent a whole day fixing it last year, and Husband still had to make adjustments again this year.  It's just so flimsy!

I was just starting the last quarter yesterday when Husband and the boys went out to dispatch the pigs.

For the first time ever we were actually sad to do the deed.  These were the sweetest pigs we've ever had, so friendly.  More like puppies that piglets.  When we got our first pigs years ago, I thought I might fall in love with 'Wilbur'.  Charlotte's web was my favourite book as a child.  Those pigs were wild and nasty.Mean!  Just mean!  No love lost there.  But this year, our fourth round of pigs, we were all sad to see them go.  They didn't do a great job ripping out the raspberry bushes, but were doing well in the garden.  I opened the gate between the garden and the turkey pen through the day, to let them dig and explore.  The chickens were always hopping in with them, following them around, stealing their food- and they didn't care.
Husband and #2 each dispatched one.  The female would get a little antsy when she lost sight of the male, and we didn't want to stress them out.  Two guns, two shooters, and both were out at the same time.

#2 did the teaching this time, as #1 gutted for the first time by himself.  They brought them back to the garage, hung them up, and skinned them.

According to the weight formula I found online...
heart girth X heart girth X length /400

...they were both under 100 pounds.  I find that hard to believe, especially since they were supposedly 90 pounds when we bought them.  I wonder though, if I'm supposed to include the head in the length.  That would put them over 100.  I think I'll weigh the meat as I butcher.

We're supposed to stay below freezing for a couple of days before it starts to warm up again.  I have a bit of trimming left to do on the beef, and then I'll be starting on the pigs right away.


  1. I used the same measurement method, which I found on Walter Jefferies website/blog (Sugar Mountain Farm). According to him, the length is from between the ears to just where the tail begins. Girth is around the barrel, just behind the front legs. My pigs were around 280 or so according to this when I took them to the processor, and the hanging weights came out to 112 and 103 respectively, so I think I was probably accurate enough. I think weighing the meat might be a good idea - I think hanging weight is supposed to be around 67 % of live weight (Walter again). I'm glad you were able to dispatch them simultaneously - and at home. So much better for the pigs. I wish I could have done mine that way. I realize the cold weather is making you anxious about the wood, but on the upside, it's better for the butchering, right? Hope you get some better luck with the saws and a clear day or two to get out there.

  2. Very interesting post, even the pictures. Maybe you can get some more docile piglets next time, also. I want to make jerky in my dehydrator, but I cannot find a recipe that is not heavy on salt or soy sauce. Should I give up the quest for a recipe?

  3. Hi, Wendy. Blogger wouldn't let me into your blog for a while. I left blog lovin' and put the RSS feeds in my side bar. I got a message when I tried to link to you that it was a private blog. I tried again last night and everything worked!

    Great post! We got our pork almost 2 weeks ago. Our good neighbours raised 3 heritage pigs...Berkshire, I think. We got half of one. The butcher threw out the lard which I had specifically asked for so I could render it for my Christmas pies. :-( But the pork is delicious! Our half was 110lbs. They were big little piggies! lol

  4. I am so envious of your grinder! I only have two little teeny hand jobs and it takes forever to get enough for burgers!

    I visiting everybody I follow because I'm excited that my homesteading book just got published! I want to tell the whole world! Please do drop my blog if you get a chance to help me celebrate. I'm doing a book giveaway too!

  5. We are missing you. Hope all is well.

  6. Happy New Year! I hope everything is okay up there. Haven't heard from you in a while.