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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

It takes a Village

Yesterday was an interesting day. Husband and I went to the farm store and picked a few things up. One of those items is now sitting in my living room, a King meat-saw. I looked up the brand, attempting to find reviews, but alas I found nothing, no good nor bad reviews. I was a little leery after what a couple of you said about non-commercial band saws, but there was no way were could afford the commercial ones. This one was on sale for under $300, about what it would have cost us to process Undies. We should save money in the long run. The neighbor across the way’s son, whom we shall call Smoker ( as he was the one that smoked the turkey and lamb for the wedding) says his friend has had the same one for several years and works wonderfully. Good to know.

We got permission from Horse neighbors wife to borrow their trailer to transport Undies in. She was at work when we needed it, so we bought a ball that would fit the hitch. Husband blew it however and got the wrong size to fit on Good Neighbors truck. Lucy for us, Smoker had a guest over that had the correct ball however it was one the wouldn’t fit on Good Neighbor’s truck. Smoker and friend volunteered their services.

Undies wasn’t cooperative. But can you blame him? I treated him for the last time and scratched at were his horns should have been, just as he likes it. And he promptly jumped the fence. Unfortunately the front gate was wide open. I yelled “GATE!” and Smoker and I booked to the front. Luckily Undies veered off and walked back toward the barn along the fence. Unfortunately Smoker and I both discovered at the same time that we are both in desperate need of belts. “My Pants!” could be heard in stereo.

Undies allowed me to treat him by hand and he followed me into the barn. I hated to do it, but I had bought a cattle prod that day just incase this was to happen. With 2 quick shocks, he walked into the trailer. Husband and Smoker took him into town.

Yes, it takes a village to butcher a bull.

While they were gone, I loaded up Small and Medium into the car, because I was exhausted from all the running, and we went over to good neighbor’s. Turns out Zombie wasn’t as slow as we thought and had knocked up all of Good neighbor’s goats. One of the ladies was having an udder issue. One side swollen. I asked a few questions, and Good neighbor answered, and informed me that he couldn’t get any milk out of it. But then he truthfully admitted that he had never milk anything in his life. And in describing to him how it is done, I ended up referring to things that best stay in the pages of Penthouse forum.

Her udder wasn’t hot and still pliable. I guessed 3 days of build up, and he confirmed it. I pulled and the milk was colostrum, clean and without an odd odor. The milk was fine. I suggested that it might be that this nipple was too large for the wee one’s little mouth. I sat there and taught Good neighbor how to do it, telling him that all seemed healthy. He would have to check on her and help milk that one side down until the kid was large enough to grab hold. He was impressed with how simple milking actually is once you know how to do it properly. We talked a bit, and I returned home. A few minutes later, Husband followed.

We can pick up all edible organs, head and hide today. I told husband that if the ears are still on the head, I don’t think I want it. Large looked at me oddly. I said it would be weird. I always knew what Undies was destined for and tried not to get friendly with him. But with this breed's personality it is hard not to do. I don’t want this bull staring at me from beyond. That got the idea of taxiderming into Husband’s head. Maybe I should stop talking out loud.

Husband said he freaked out the locker owner. They get a lot of unruly bulls in. And Husband, not thinking about how others perceive things, jumped into the trailer with Undies, the locker owner attempted to warm him, but Husband waved him off, giving Undies a last scratch. The Locker owner was impressed with this over sized pet. He was never a pet, but we never ignored him. Husband played with him, as he does all the calves and the bulls. The ladies aren’t as playful once they have calved. But the boys are always insistent on playing games with us. And it has become part of our normal routine with them all. It helps the more skittish of calves to learn that we belong and they gradually come around to accepting us, which is great with Murrial and her brood that seem to pop out overly paranoid. Our cows are for milk more than beef, and have to be handled daily. With that come interaction with the young, and that begets a relationship with all of them. There is a loss with Undies gone, but that comes with the appreciation of what he has given us already and what we are about to receive. And that is one thing that makes a homestead so much different than a factory farm. We care about the life as much as the death and the profit. (not just monetary)

Today we are getting more snow. The national news is claiming a foot, but the local guys keep chuckling and saying 7 inches at most. We will find out. The boys have gotten very good at collecting and melting snow for flushing. They also got a lesson in chamber pot use of the 4 days we were without water. Yes, I have a chamber pot.

Husband is sick today and more than likely the shop will not be open for the entire day. So he is staying home. No point driving 40 minutes in the snow, just to hang out for an hour or two and then drive back the 40 minutes (clear day time)

I have a few projects to finish up before I can share them with you, so I will get on that here shortly.


Anonymous said...

If it does not wig anyone else out, I'd love to hear how you prepare heart and tongue. The heart we cooked a few weeks ago was very dense and, well, tasted like liver (not my fav). The tongue is next and I really do not want to screw it up. =)
Hope Husband feels better soon!

HermitJim said...

Just one of the many unpleasant things one must do around a homestead!

Good learning experience for the kids, though!

Thanks for the informative post!

Kelle said...

I understand about having animals you can handle, especially dairy animals.

When our Jersey had her first calf for us, it was a bull calf, which we banded and made into a steer a few months later. He was halter broke and very friendly, sometime to friendly and wanting to play( he had horns) When we took him to the butcher we got in with him and unloaded him. When we drove away I remember him looking at the truck and trailer as if to say, " Hey, don't forget me!" It was terrible and to this day I will NOT got to take them in.( I'm a whimp I know)

Snowing here too, so far 6-7 " and it's forecasted to snow for a couple more days. I'm without a vehicle, so it's a good time to get some cleaning done and get set up for starting our seeds. :o)

Praying your Dh feel better quick, be sure to drink plenty of water or herbal teas.

Congrats on the meat saw, you have to do what you have to do and surely it will work for you for many years and not to say what it will save you. :o)


Cygnus MacLlyr said...

too bad you lead such a boring life! LMAO!!!
Sounds like a good deal, the meat saw.
Slainte, Lady...

Frugal Queen said...

If you want offal recipes, then ask a Brit. Look up recipes for faggots, the main ingredient being heart, it was one of my children's favourites as kids, with rich onion gravy

2lb Pig's Fry - Lungs, Liver, Heart (I used just Liver and Heart)
1lb Fat Pork (belly's good)
8oz Fresh Breadcrumbs
1 desertsp each of Dried Sage and Parsley (I used fresh parsley)
Salt and Pepper (about 3 level tsp salt and 1¼ level tsp pepper)
Caul Fat if you can get it

Mince the meats then mix in the dry ingredients.
Leave to stand for about an hour - it will firm up.
Shape into the size faggots you want (about 9 is good), wet hands help to do this, put in a dish and fill it about a third of the way up the faggots with stock or water. Cook in a 190°C oven (170°C fan) for about 40 minutes. Cover with foil if the tops are getting too brown.

I often make a huge batch of these and freeze them. Tongue - I simply immerse in water and gently simmer away until it falls to pieces, I then press it with gelatine to set it, slice it and we eat it cold instead of ham - tongue is expensive here

SkippyMom said...

I am glad, really, that you all will have beef for the year.

I am just a little sad Undies is gone.

It sounds weird, but if I can get attached from a simple blog I can't imagine how hard it is that you won't look out and not see Undies anymore.

Stay warm - and hopefully you will be chamber pot free soon.

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