Playing with Knives

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, April 8, 2013

Brian had some unique experiences while staying on this farm.  One of our philosophies about the food we eat is that we should know how it was raised as well as prepared before being put on your plate.  Although it may be hard, this applies to meat as well as vegetables.  As a small-scale self-sufficient home, this means taking your own animals. 

During our stay, it came time to manage some of the animals.  Sheep and gees had been breeding and needing some tending on the flock.  Through careful observation, some decisions were made about which animals would be kept and which others would go to another purpose. 
In the end, 3 male lambs were chosen as well as 6 geese to go for food for the family and other's families. 

We've had some experience in the past with taking animals to slaughter as well as preparing our own smaller animals (chickens and rabbits).  But a larger animal such as a sheep was new.  Brian helped out with every step along the way under a large tree at the bottom of the paddock.  After a long day, 3 were hanging in the garage ready for the next steps.  One evening, it was time to process the lamb for the freezer and both Brian and George worked together for about 3 hours and got the whole thing finished which I thought was very impressive. 

As for the geese, we procured a cone.  This is a method we have heard about for some time, but have not tried.  Well, I think we're convinced.  One of the problems with poultry is that they tend to flap and squirm both before and after.  The cone helps to keep them calm and still and makes it possible for one person to do the job by themselves. 

One other small scale farmer was taking a goose and decided that she wanted hers as fresh as possible and came to the farm herself with all of her gear ready for plucking and gutting.  Now there's dedication!

Since that event, Brian has been busy teaching George how to sharpen his knives. He bought a steel in town and has been sharpening every blade he can get his hands on - even the scythes!

To help with the actual butchery, I searched through the library for some books, but found surprisingly few.  One that offered endless entertainment for us was by Darren Meats (real name?).  He has now become a bit of a local hero in the house for his masculinity and prowess when it comes to came hunting and butchery. Apparently, he has a online TV show which we may just have to check out...

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