pigs, pretty much the best gift on this planet
Last tuesday was the pigs’ harvest. The following pictures may be too graphic for some, but this is what has happened out here and I want to share what we experienced. It was an amazing day.
I can’t imagine how it could have been better. We hired a professional slaughterer, who came to their paddock, was gentle and kind with them, and with the pull of a trigger, immediately they were gone, with a single bullet to the brain. There were four couples present for this amazing experience, each of us was getting a half of one of the pigs. Some of us cried, as it is not simple to watch beings leave this planet, no matter how you may view meat…there are so many questions about meat and animals, and life and eating, spirituality and loving a beings’ existence. We treasure our own so much. But these animals had been raised for this day, and for all the days/weeks/months of sustinence and gustatorial pleasure their meat will provide us. The harvester said they were obviously very well cared for and fed, and weighed around 350 lbs each!
It was a day we’ll never forget. Andrew and I had spent a good part of the previous day hanging out with the pigs, absorbing all their wonderfulness, giving them love and scratches, contemplating how their harvest would go, feeling a bit nervous to know they’d be gone tomorrow. But the thing is—–these pigs died instantly, and they died where they were comfortable. No trucks hauling them somewhere foreign and scary. They were alive, then they were dead.
Today we all got to pick up our halves today from the locker, after being deep chilled for a number of days. Andrew built a great hog processing table, which we moved into our sunroom since it was raining. We studied our diagrams all morning, for how to properly butcher a half a hog. When our half of Roxy was there, on the table, it was quite something. She lived such a good, loved life, and by the amount of fat, she obviously ate very well. We began by sectioning off the back leg- the ham. Then we sectioned off the front leg- the boston butt and picnic ham and hock. The loin and belly sections are tricky to figure out, but suddenly we had shapes we could recognize from the books and we proceeded to cut off some of the hugest pork chops I have ever seen, divy out roasting sections and decide what was going to be brined and what would be dry cured. We have 100 lbs of pork now…. in the freezer, in the brining tubs and the belly sections are being dry cured with salt/sugar/pepper. Such gratitude for those lovely, amazing pigs. They are the dearests to hang out with during their time with us, they help us till up turf out here for gardeing, and their meat is incredible. INCREDIBLE. Not to mention the fat we rendered into lard from scraping the hides and heads, and the resulting cracklings (yummmmm) and the head cheese, and the paprikash simmering on the stove right now with Roxy’s heart and some of her liver. Such a gift, pigs will forever be part of LTD Farm. We have 3 little piglets coming November 1st to raise for late spring harvest, let us know if you want to be a part of this experience .