We were going to visit our fantastic friends over there at Folkways Farm today, but alas, one of them is doing battle with a virus. So I will blog about visiting them instead. haha.
We went over there a few weeks ago to take part in their first pig butchering. I'll start with the non-piggy pictures.
How great is this scene. Our friends' awesome little off-grid homestead is forever in building/adding to/growing mode as all homesteads are. You can see where there is still plastering going on on the outside walls, and where the white... uh, was it called "lime"?.... stuff has been painted on. Theirs is a straw bale home, built from the ground up with their own hands. I love the clothesline, I love all the trees (they've planted many fruit & other trees), I love the random ducks & chickens that wander by, I love all the kids playing in every direction, I just love the whole scene. I love how every time we visit things look different. Their hard work is always apparent! They've had this land for about 4 years ( correct me if I'm wrong, Brett. I'm the most memory challenged nerd there ever was) & it's just amazing what they've done! Every visit is inspiring, refreshing, & downright fun. I love what they're doing out there. Plus, they were subculture freaky weirdos in their former lives. We can relate entirely. ;) Actually they're still pretty weird. haha. :p
This particular visit included us and 2 other families, in addition to our friends. In total, 13 kids were running amok. ;)
And how pretty is this woodstove scene? This day the gate is around it to protect any little kids from wandering into it. Again you can see the hard work being done plastering up the walls. And the tile recently laid, by them by hand of course. :) So pretty!
My 11 yr old son & his "awesomeness fort" (his words). :)
And at the end of a long day spent playing & playing & playing with friends & wood piles, falling asleep with a cozy puppy is always a good idea (our 4 yr old son asleep, friend looking on).
And now I'll share the pig butchering part of the story. So here's your warning. If slaughtering animals is not your cup of tea, you are welcome to go do something else now.
Here are the 2 piggies our friends raised. This would be the first time for all of us killing & butchering a pig. There was lots of thought & chat beforehand on the specifics. These were large pigs! Just one was butchered this day, the other will be bred.
I'll spare you the gory pictures. But look at these gory chickens! :p The little carnivores get so excited when there's a butchering going on. They can't wait to slurp up all the drips of blood & grossness.
The pig was led away from her pen-mate. She was then shot in the head & fell instantly. I think her death was very, very quick and just seconds from leaving her pen. No awful traveling down a freeway to the terrifying slaughterhouse here. The moment she fell several people held her down, I darted over to her with a butcher knife & cut through her throat. She was twitching a lot but it definitely seemed to be nerves, we all agreed that death was pretty instant. Also, she was silent. We were all wary that she would be loud during the process. Pig screams are scary!
Once the bleeding out was done, the head & feet were removed, & the body was hoisted up on this smart contraption our friends had built. There it finished bleeding out, was washed, skinned & gutted. At one point I got a good laugh as I was sitting on a log breastfeeding & listening in on the conversation nearby. Everyone was trying to figure out exactly which organ was which. They'd been removed & were in a bag that a small crowd was standing around, peering into. We were divvying them up between us. Little was wasted from this pig. At one point I hear my husband say something like "ok then, have we come to the conclusion then that this is most likely a kidney?" It was good fun, this learning experience with friends. I think we did a pretty good job. I say "we" as if I did a whole lot. :p It was our awesome friends & their planning.
Then the guys cut the body up into pieces & brought them in the house to be placed in a tub of cold water. The hunks of meat were taken out piece by piece from there, brought to the kitchen & chopped up into workable pieces. Which all sounds easier than it was. One pig creates an enormous amount of meat! And it's full of enormous bones!
Our generous friends sent each family home with a cooler full of meat! We learn so much from those guys & always have so much fun. It's always tough to tear ourselves away from them by midnight.
And that's the story of my first pig butchering. The end.
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