Nicholas swings for the fences shortly before he got a time out.
Yesterday I took two of the hams and two of the bacons to a local "custom butcher" to be cured and smoked. I talked about this on our butcher day post yesterday - we are having some of the hams and half of the bacons processed by a professional butcher. My husband likes the bacon better and I like that it is sliced thin and will be vacuum packed. Plus I don't have any more room in any of the fridges to hold any more meat so I was glad to send some of it out for professional processing.
My husband loaded up the hams and the bacons on ice in our huge 72-hour cooler - I just had to drive it there. Icing down huge hunks of meat in a big cooler is a great way to get and keep meat cooled when you need extra room.
I really like our butcher. Of course he remembered me right when I walked in... on account of how sometimes I make an impression.
"Ahh... Mrs. The Big Man.... how you doin'?" He said... and then he laughed. I get that a lot.
Of course, we got to talking while I was telling him how I wanted the 42 pounds of meat processed. We wanted the hams cured and smoked, then cut into at least 1 inch steaks..and then wrapped. The bacons were to be cured and smoked, sliced thick, then wrapped in one pound packages. If you can believe it the wrapping is a huge part of the cost. This time we opted for the vacuum sealed packs instead of just wrapped in freezer paper.
I told him that we didn't have pigz last summer - which is why it had been a while since we've seen him. And I explained how we had turkeys... so many turkeys.
"Did you butcher them yourself?" He asked?
"Sure we did!"
"Well, look at you." He said smiling proudly at me - in the same way the older ladies in the grocery store look at me when they see me buying canning jars.
These little moments are really touching for me. I feel a kind of connection to those generations - one generation back - that I'm really grateful for. Pretty soon these folks will be gone and most of their institutional knowledge with them. I feel like there are some of us who are working as hard as we can.. and as fast as we can to capture it before it is lost.
When folks like that and people like me meet it's like a little miracle that always encourages me.
He was telling me how he bought 42 chickens at the auction for their local fair. We laughed at how we are both just terrible at plucking and I told him we always opt for just skinning poultry.
This moment just screamed to be captured in black and white.
He said that he works with his grown son and a couple of the highschool boys there at his shop. After he got the chickens he had the boys come out and he told them that they were going to process the birds. He said that it was his "gift" to them. Sure they were going to get the chickens... but his real gift was teaching them how to butcher and process the chickens.
Hearing that just made me so grateful that we have this life. Butchering is becoming a lost art - and as we talked about yesterday - sometimes the folks around you have a very negative view of it. But don't let that dissuade you from learning.
I'll get my hams and my bacons back after the first of the year. Of course, I'll have my home cured and smoked bacons ready before then.... but I'll be very glad to see our butcher again.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you working on your bacons? Is your house filled with meat, meat, meat, and more meat? Guess what we are having for dinner? MEAT!
awesome job.... I smell of apple wood smoke as the cured salmon smokes gently. Pretty funny picture of Nicolas..
Yep, we are snowed under with meat here as well. Not had time to process any of it....just put it straight into the freezer to process when I have time. Going to have the next two days off, then on to the sheep and the goats. I think that we shall to donate some of the meat to friends though, as my freezers are filling up fast! But we do still have four young pigs left to slaughter, and we shall do that in a few months time, and then I shall more time to get ham done!
I really liked how you put into words that feeling of trying to learn skills that are dying out.
I'm really inspired by how you do this yourself. I really want to give this a go next year. Mentioning all the turkeys reminds me to tell you that I spatchcocked a discount bird last week. I may never go back! It was so fast and we got way more meat off it. That rocked!
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