The Good Gift

This will be short.

Picture of our property in 1921.

The young girl in the middle surrounded by chickens was the previous owner before we bought it.  Her name was Cecelia.   She never got married.  She loved cats.  Had over 70 of them we’ve been told.  6 house cats and the rest lived outdoors. That woman  in the background hunched over was her mother.  Just two years before, she buried two daughters and a son-in law, all in their early 20’s.  All three  died from the Pandemic/ Spanish flu that swept through the world in 1918/1919.


The past two days we have been butchering. (Hogs)

I’m still not done.

Talk about a learning curve.

Any of you out there in WordPress land ever been around it? (butchering.)  I want to know more.

Talk about Realville.

That is one of the biggest gifts for me  growing up on a farm.  We were exposed to life in all of it’s raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, gritty, sometimes bloody, beauty.

Nobody made a big deal out of it.  It just happened.

Life and death both come knocking when you live on a farm. You learn pretty quickly sometimes you just have to put your chore boots on and get at it.   I have had plenty of that the past 36 hours.


I have action photos from what we’ve done so far.  If you’re interested, leave me a comment and I would be glad to share them with you via e-mail.


 “It’s a whole lot easier to get breakfast from a chicken than a pig.”  


This entry was posted in chickens, enjoying life, farming, life in the country, pigs, self sufficient, Uncategorized, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Good Gift

  1. Jane Fritz says:

    Lol. You definitely don’t want to hear details about butchering from me. Talk about the blind leading the blind! 😏

    • DM says:

      your comment made me smile 🙂 After penning this post, I remembered a book I’d bough years ago published by Storey books. It has EXACTLY the information I am needing to continue the processing. (I’ve watched multiple Youtube videos on butcher the past couple of weeks, plus had some great information from the guy who helped me get them to the point where they were hanging in the cooler. As you might suspect there is more than one way to cut up a larger piece of meat (unlike a chicken), I think between the fatigue and myriad of details, my mind started going blank yesterday, so I had to step back and take a nap. I’m taking today off, just to recharge my batteries, Probably going to study the diagrams in the book, but other than that..going to check in with my mom, drop off a card, etc. and call it good. Good to hear from you Jane. DM PS, the title of that book I mentioned is : Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game: Beef, Veal, Pork, Lamb, Poultry, Rabbit, in case anyone reading along is curious.

      • Jane Fritz says:

        We still have the book we used, 40 years later! They didn’t have YouTube in those days. We could have made a YouTube video for the ages. 😏 Enjoy it all, Doug, as I know you will!

  2. Helen Miller says:

    Please email pictures.

  3. bobby garrett says:

    Hey DM. From Rural Mississippi,I grew up seeing and doing exactly what you have been doing with the Hogs.We lived “Rough” ate everything we raised,butchered,fished and trapped.I am still Trapping at age 68(as a sport and to help keep predators in check).As you know when on the farm all wild animals also love to share your hard earned bounty.We love our Southern baked Possum & sweet Taters, Baked Coon,Squirrel,Beaver and muskrat.I helped process (butcher) a hog this past January.Yes it is handwork,but good eating.Under this present time we are living under it would be good for more people to have this experience and know how to get by without going to the store for every bite of food.Every one should learn how to can food and preserve.Have lots of canned pork and Deer.This is sure very handy at the current time. BG

  4. emjayandthem says:

    Oh the stories that house could tell ~ makes you wonder what Cecilia would have to say, if you could sit with her over a cuppa coffee? You know it was nearly scandalous to never marry at that time in our history.

    I remember a lot about butchering day ~ the dark stain of blood in the barnyard dirt, the guts pile that the dogs sniffed and cats gnawed on till Dad hauled it out to a faraway field. I remember the carcass hanging from the tractor bucket till it was loaded into the farm truck & hauled to the local processor/freezer. Then, a few weeks/days later, going to the “locker plant” to pickup packaged meat from our locker ~ putting on the same greasy/old overcoat that hang in the locker for any and all to use. But you couldn’t enter that freezer without it! We had all of our own beef, chicken, turkeys and pork. All pasture raised with some grain to supplement – and yes it was soo good!

    -Have a great day! MJ

  5. valbjerke says:

    Slaughtering ‘four leggeds’ is a lot of work – glad you had help. Butchering the carcass (cutting it up) is just a different kind of work. We’ve always left the slaughter to someone skilled in the process – it’s what dictates the quality of the end product. In a pinch, I could do it. Do I want to? No.
    Butchering? Beef and pork on the kitchen table with a hand meat saw, a good knife, a ton of wrapping paper….done it many times- always takes longer than I think it will. Curing and smoking hams, bacons, Kassler loins…a lot of paying attention and timing – two hogs take us about a week.
    These days – we mostly take them down the road to the slaughterhouse – pick up the finished product in a week. This year because we’re both off work due to the pandemic…we’ll likely do our own curing and smoking. It’s not cheaper….but I think it tastes better :). Kudos to you for tackling such a big project!!

  6. Jon says:

    No help from here DM. No butchering since helping my dad when I was a boy. We raised hogs and usually had one we butchered at home in our freezer. As I recall, the work was done with the hog hung in a tree in the yard. A funnier hog story though. My dad seined all of the overpopulated bluegill out of our irrigation pond and fed them to a lot full of hogs a week before they went to market. It had such an effect on the taste of the meat that the slaughterhouse called up my dad to find out what the deal was with those hogs and warned him not to repeat it if he wanted to keep doing business with them.

  7. Helped to butcher cow and sheep in the Falklands as the unfortunate ones strolled through the many minefields. Made a nice change from tins and Compo Rations.
    As for full size pigs, sorry, no can do.
    Piglets yes. Dead easy.
    Small Deer I’ve already spoken about and have watched larger one’s being done on the hooks.

    As for cutting them up?
    We use bow saws for anything hard and my kukri for anything meaty.
    BUT, the thought of stuffing one through a band saw has just had me checking all my fingers were still there 😉

    Still love to see the photo’s.
    Take care Doug and remember to count to ten afterwards.
    On your fingers of course.

  8. Bobby Garrett says:

    DM -I would love to view the pictures!!

    • DM says:

      Goodf morning Bobby, I will do that right now..just about ready to head outside and continue cutting/ and wrapping. I took the day off yesterday 🙂

  9. Scott says:

    I still can feel the hot blood running down the knife and all over my hand after sticking the pigs.
    Our main goal for the pigs was sausage, so we weren’t too careful with cuts. Lots went into the grind, including a whole ham. We froze all of both of em, then later I got the bacon out and brined and smoked it. You may be interested in my super cheap smoker setup! Worked great!

    • DM says:

      I would absolutely be interested in your smoker set up. I am all ears. 😉 DM

    • Scott says:

      You probably think I forgot about you! (and some days you were right)
      I built a frame on legs to frame in a cabinet of about 2.5 feet width and depth, 3 foot high, on legs… Uh, tall enough. I cut some old rusty galvanized sheets of roof metal and enclosed the cabinet. A couple of severely undersized hinges riveted to the metal made a door, and some baling wire made a latch. Don’t overthink it lol.
      I put a kettle grill (without its legs) underneath the cabinet, and with some aluminum dryer vent, piped the exhaust from the kettle into the cabinet to cold smoke the bacon. No need to exhaust the cabinet because it had plenty of leaks haha.
      I cut some tobacco sticks down to fit across the cabinet, at a few levels. I skewered the slabs of bacon with bamboo skewers, then hung the bacon on the tobacco sticks.
      The bacon cold smoked for like 4-6 hours, I think? This was after I made a brine with pepper, real (local, amazingly) maple syrup and etc. Can’t remember my recipe. I smoked the bacon with hickory and some used bourbon barrel bungs I got from a winemaker. 😉
      Gotten rave reviews from every one that’s had the bacon, including my family.
      As you probably know, it slices a whole bunch easier if the slabs are half frozen. Do you have a meat slicer, other than the band saw?

      • DM says:

        I do. We invested in a meat slicer as well. Used it to cut up the side pork. The first pig did not have as much belly fat on it as I’d anticipated. (and I did put the belly in the freezer for 30 minutes, or more before running it through the had been chilling @ about 37/ 38 degrees before that. Your bacon recipe makes me hungry. Can not wait to do more of this sort of thing.

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