Early in December we slaughtered one lamb and two hogs. The lamb came from Jocko Creek Ranch. The hogs originally came from Ranfurly Farm but we fed the hogs up ourselves. Our neighbor Joe came over to help Shaen slaughter and process the carcasses. The men killed, bled, skinned and halved the carcasses. Shaen had a chance to use a butcher’s bone saw. He was able to cut each carcass in half very quickly. The carcasses will hang for a few days before cutting, wrapping and freezing.
I was in the kitchen and helped with cleaning and wrapping of the organs and heads. I washed the tripe over and over again. Most of my time was spent cleaning hair roots out of the hog fat. I have never eaten or made head cheese or tripe. I have looked over the books The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson and wondered when I would have a chance to try some of the more unusual recipes.
We didn’t use everything. It is possible to make sausage casing from the intestines but we decided it was just too much work. Joe took the intestines home for processing. I was very sad not to be processing the skin of the lamb into a hide, but we don’t know anyone with tanning experience. I have been doing some research and may give it a try anyway. We gave the remains of the digestive system to the chickens. Shaen could not believe how fast the pile disappeared. The chickens considered the offal very good eating. We also saved certain organs, glands and scraps for pet food. Meadows, our cat, gorged herself on scraps during the slaughtering process. She then disappeared for a night and day to sleep off her feast.
Three days later, everyone got back together to cut and wrap the carcasses. Shaen turned on one of our large deep freezers which has a chill-down setting. This feature is found on some very large older freezers and was originally used by hunters wanting to quickly chill-down their kill. Joe brought his meat cutting band saw, which made short work of cutting up the carcasses. Shaen and Chris worked on the wrapping and labeling table. The men finished the cutting, wrapping and clean-up in about three hours.