Friday, September 17, 2010

An Abundance Of Fresh Meat

Today we went to pick up the meat from the pair of pigs that we had butchered this month. These were grass fed Tamworth pigs, born right here on our farm; they had an ideal piggy existence with one very bad day. :-) Because Tamworths are an old heritage breed they don't reach market weight in 6 months, they were also slower growing than pigs that are exclusively fed grain. We could have butchered them last Fall, but we held them over for another year and consequently they were huge. We ended up with well over 400 pounds of meat! We have 8 large hams, 70ish pounds of bacon, spare ribs, 100 pounds of sausage and about that much of pork chunks to can. I am going to be very busy getting as much as I can into jars because we have chickens to do next. For the curious, our butcher's bill was $336, I have no idea what we would pay for that much meat if we had to buy it retail. I'm pretty sure it would have been more than that though. :-)

I stopped at my friend Anna's house on our way home. They have 10 children and haven't butchered yet this Fall so it has been a while since they've had fresh meat. I left some bacon with them and got a box of zucchini to turn into pickles. Anna is the one that I have make shirts for Mr. G and the boys, she charges $10. When we gather apples in the Autumn and have cider pressed we always take some over to their place because they don't have apples to turn into cider. I enjoy the rural give and take friendship that we have, it is the "community" that is largely lost in our modern world. Both Anna and I live in a world that has more similarities to the 19th century existence than it does to the 21st century. So, anyway, for Supper tonight there are fresh porkchops and homemade baked beans. And tomorrow we will have ham! Which, as a matter of fact, is another vestige of a by-gone era. What I mean by that is what was once common place, plain rural food such as: maple sugar/syrup or organic fresh meat is now a high priced specialty food that is beyond the means of most people. Only by creating an underground, homemade economy can I enjoy the life that I do. Of course the downside is that there is an awful lot of hard, unromantic work involved. :-) I don't know if you envy me or pity me, I hope that I paint a realistic picture of my life showing both the good and bad.


  1. I envy two things: you have someone else make your men's shirts (mine cant stand the shirts I make them), and that you have someone else do the butchering! THAT is such a big, messy job, and we're going to start on our hogs in a month or so. Looking forward to the fresh meat, but not the process :/
    BTW, how is the ham cured?

  2. Ma,
    The shirts are 19th century shirts cut "on the square", a super simple, comfortable and roomy shirt, I don't make "modern" shirts.

    The hams are "cured and smoked" but not how I really wanted. What I wanted (and apparently nobody does commercially) is a ham that could be cured and sewn up in a bag and hung from the rafters for months. I wanted hams not dependent upon refrigeration, but it was not to be. I envy your self reliance to do your own butchering in the abstract, but not the bloody yucky work that I know the reality is. :-)

  3. You are all so self-reliant! I love it! All that meat. My husband was blown away! I just realized that you might live somewhat near my brother and sis-in-law in Cleveland (he just finished at Case and now works at Lincoln; she is still in school and expecting their 1st). We were just out there in May!

  4. I certainly don't pity you, I long for a life like yours. Yes, there is hard work, but it is fullfilling work and you can see the vast results of that hard work. And to have a friend(with a family) to share in that lifestyle with seems like a dream and a blessing.

    I feel so out of place in my own world. I didn't use to, but as I grow older and have more children, my views and desires from and of the world have changed. I would love to be self sustaining and live on a farm(or at least not in a neighborhood). I wish I could find like minded people in real life and not just in cyberspace.

    Oh, I'm sorry for sounding whiny, I just really do love reading about your life, hard work and all. Enjoy all that yummy pork.



  5. Emily, yes we would be relatively close to your family!

    Tiff, you don't sound whiny at all, just longing for something that we all want. I think it's normal to want and need community, I wish that I had a *real* community too.

  6. I dream about living your life one of these days. We're saving carefully and praying earnestly -- maybe someday. I've been following your gardening posts closely this year and love the idea of fresh, home-grown... everything :)

    Bless you all as you continue the harvest!

  7. I think that this is the greatest thing ever! It's strange that "sustainable agriculture" has been such a buzz word in recent years, when it's returning to our agricultural heritage roots.


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