Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

It is Done.

Posted on | June 14, 2012 | 9 Comments

Today was Papa Pig’s last day with us.

Since he began going through 50lb bags of feed every 4 or 5 days, his time with us started coming to a close.  According to my sewing tape (and some odd calculations I found on the internet) he measured out at 243.34 lbs a couple weeks ago.  Which meant the preparations for his final days were started.

These preparations primarily involved:

1.  Calling the local processor to discover that, under no circumstances, would we pay that much to drop Papa Pig off and pick him up in butcher paper.  Not unless we wanted our pork to end up costing $50/lb.

2.  Asking friends and neighbors if they knew anyone who would help us butcher our pig.

3.  Being told by all our friends and neighbors that no one butchers a pig in the summer time.  What the heck were we thinking??

4.  Swearing we would watch some youtube instructional videos and just do it ourselves every time we had to buy a new bag of pig pellets.

5.  Sweating prolifically every time we ran out of pig pellets and contemplated all the horrific things that could go wrong when amateurs attempt to butcher a pig by themselves.  A pig that they raised on a bottle and still give daily belly scratches.

6.   Buying more pig pellets.

It was a vicious cycle.

Fortunately, my persistent whining and complaining about the situation reached the ears of a co-worker who knew how to butcher pigs.  And after asking why the heck we were butchering a pig in the summer, he agreed to help us.  Which just goes to show that persistence pays off.

So special thanks to my friend, James, who spent the morning teaching us how to properly butcher a 250lb pig.  There is no literature or youtube video substitute for someone taking the time to stand beside you and show you how to do something.  And it is people like James that ensure the next generation understands food doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store.  Let that lesson not end with us.

Extreme gratitude to the The Other Half, who shot straight and true with the first bullet so that Papa’s final moments were quick and brief.  Pulling the trigger to feed your family takes a skill and strength of character that few men possess anymore.  Lucky for me, The Other Half has the steel nerves to step up.  Or else I’d have a 500lb pet pig by next year.

And, of course, thanks to Papa Noel Pig.  Who taught us that a pig can be a kind, curious, gentle, and generous addition to to the family farm.  Really generous. As generous as 3′ tenderloins.  On each side.

Shoulders wider than Big’s chest.

Hams so large that they require a two-handed death grip carry by Pretty to avoid being dropped.

And racks of ribs so heavy that Little can’t even hold them by himself.

Good pig.

P.S.  The kids and I took lots of pictures of the entire process.  I chose not to share them here.  You’re welcome.  But just remember not to ever, ever cross me.  Or you could wake up with a picture of a pig head sitting in an overflowing tub of pig intestines next to you in the bed. Don’t let it happen to you.


9 Responses to “It is Done.”

  1. Jill
    June 14th, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din. I’m such a ninny I apologize to the lettuce when I pick it.

  2. Jennifer
    June 15th, 2012 @ 2:57 am

    I had to shed a few tears for Papa. I will miss him! But the rest of it looks like Christmas at the grocery store – yum!

  3. P Flooers
    June 15th, 2012 @ 3:49 am

    Wow. Y’all are amazing! And at least you had the coolest June in the history of this state for butchering. Great job!

  4. debh
    June 15th, 2012 @ 4:59 am

    I chuckled all the way through this post. Been there and it was all exactly the same way. I do pat their heads and thank them sounds creepy, but I feel better. Then its all about feeding the family. Takes a tough person to handle it all and that you can be proud of!

  5. Diane B.
    June 15th, 2012 @ 5:11 am

    Awesome Stevie! I bet he tastes delicious!!

  6. Jill
    June 15th, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    Good for you – nothing better than having a plan with a purpose and following through. Another life lesson learned on the Taylor farm. Me? Still vegetarian. 🙂

  7. Adri Fair
    June 15th, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    I agree with Jill, good for you! I’m a big suck, and while I will hold them down, it is my other half who has to “man up”. Your words regarding turkeys still ring in my ears, “The Lord giveth cuteness and the Lord taketh cuteness away.” I think it applies to pigs too. Something about a 250lb, guinea-eating beast sounds like harvest time to me. I thank The Lord that there are still people like James and your whole family.

  8. Annabelle
    June 15th, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    yup, it feels good when it is done! and we are just finishing up our bacon from three years ago, good pig

  9. Lynda
    June 18th, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    I am impressed that Little, Middle, and Big are well adjusted and tearless about the process. Bravo! ~ Lynda

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