Thursday, March 03, 2005

His Name Was Ham

Posted by Hello

Now he will be.

Pig killing day. Finally. We have put it off. We have wondered if “everything” was ready, which it never ever is but you have to try to have everything ready in order to head off even larger disasters. It is cold. That is good. But my fingers hardly move now. And we had no disasters. That is good.

But scraping him, which is what you do to a pig instead of skinning it, took longer than I had hoped. When I’ve done it before it has been in a large group, doing a “neighborhood pig killing” with all sorts of equipment and a very nice scalder rigged up. We scalded in a method described by John Seymour (link) by pouring and ladling hot water over small sections of the pig and scraping. I have ideas on ways that might be easier but husband has the final word on these things since he is the brawn.

He is small; smaller than he might have been if we’d done a few things differently, some of which we probably will do next year. But he’s a good amount of nice, clean, lean meat for basically free. Nope, we paid $40 for him. We fed him scraps and maybe $10 total worth of corn. “Scraps” was enriched by the cow’s extra milk being “scrap”. He’s had no medicine, no hormones, nothing.

We did not save out the head to make “head cheese”. We did save the liver to try, and if we don’t like it to eat we will use it as bait for catfishing. The heart will be dissected so the kids can see what a heart almost exactly like that of a human looks like and perhaps start understanding how it works. I remember in third grade my teacher Harold (link) brought in a pigs heart and we could go in the coat closet to see if we wanted. The hams will be salted, the rest we’ll eat fresh. The ribs really aren’t big enough to make bacon which I was really looking forward to, but nice, meaty BBQ ribs will suffice.

I am tired. But I don’t want to complain. I am not that person who whines “this is so hard.” Sometimes it is hard, but if it weren’t hard, why would we want to do it? There is no street called Easy Street because if we don’t have something real to struggle for, we make up some shadow to struggle against.

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