Monday, February 16, 2015

Harvest Day and an Ice Storm

**WARNING: This blog post contains images and discussion pertaining to processing animals for food. If you find this offensive, please do not scroll down.**

We finally had a window of opportunity yesterday, between Mark's shifts and leaving the boy at Grandma's, to process our three remaining fryers.

Yesterday it was cold. Like, REALLY freaking cold.

Upper 20's, with a biting wind. I'm glad we only had three rabbits to butcher. I've never been more grateful to stick my hands in the warm carcass of a freshly killed animal.

Yes, that's pretty messed up - but it is what it is.

I kept thinking how Han Solo kept Luke Skywalker alive by shoving him into a dead ton-ton.

The blood was literally freezing on our fingers.

Whine, whine. I know anybody from Alaska or Canada is laughing, right now. I'm a wimp. There, I said it.

So anyway, we were in such a hurry to finish up I didn't get to weigh the rabbits, before or after we butchered them. I do know that the largest one that Mika killed last week weighed 4.11 lbs at 11 weeks. That's not too impressive.

Oh well, they still had more meat on them than a wild cottontail. We raised them, fed them and loved them. We gave them a swift end, and now we will eat them.

So that, in my mind, means they were a success. Growth rate is something I can select for, in future breeders.

Killing is never fun - especially soft, cute animals that trust you. There's nothing wrong with feeling a little sad. For nourishment, there is always sacrifice of some kind. It is the model of nature.

I didn't take very many pictures of the process, itself. I'll wait for a slightly warmer day for that, and maybe make an entire tutorial on how we go about it.

The dogs got to enjoy all the "by-products." A rabbit head is nothing more than a piece of candy to a 100-lb German Shepherd. I swear, just three crunches and it was gone.

Anytime we are processing anything, these ladies always show up:

I can't help but snicker when I see that packaged chicken in the supermarket that proudly declares it is "All natural, vegetarian-fed." The sight of chickens scrambling and fighting over a carcass and meat bits like a pack of rabid wolves is enough to set that theory to rest.

So after a day in the fridge and a trip through the vacuum sealer, we finally had a chance to weigh them: 3 lbs each, with one tipping the scales at 3.25. Not too bad, but I know we can do better.

We've been looking ahead to this winter storm, the last few days; and I here I was, preparing to spend the coldest, nastiest week of the year with the hubby gone at job training, yet again. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.

Fortunately, the classes were canceled, and he got to stay home! I was so relieved.

So then we were looking forward to 3-6 inches of fluffy snow to play in with Ian.

Only, that snow storm turned into an ice storm.

Snow is beautiful and fun!

Ice just sucks.

Well, I guess ice can be beautiful.

It's just not any fun.

It did turn to snow in the late afternoon - just enough to cover the thick layer of ice.

In the end, we all still got to get out and enjoy it!

There wasn't much traffic in the park, today
I guess this is technically Ian's first snow. He was interested in it, but didn't really like touching it. We didn't have any gloves to fit little hands, so I broke out the socks instead.

Hilarious, but effective.

(Oh, and yes, I am still using office supplies to fix the jacket that won't stay zipped. I swear, this kid's wardrobe is a sad state of affairs.)

Power outages are pretty inevitable, with a layer of ice collecting on everything, so we are extra thankful for that wood stove!

We are expecting even colder temperatures, and more snow in the next few days. Here, it seems, we have plunged into the heart of winter, just weeks away from the emergence of the first wildflowers.

I think we can all agree that we are ready for Spring...

[sigh....]..... It's not long, now.


  1. Hi there, I just wanted to stop by and say I've been enjoying your blog! We too just started raising rabbits for meat, and our first litter is six weeks right now. I'm not looking forward to processing day, but I'm trying to be strong! As you said, all food comes at a sacrifice of some sort. Keep us posted on your buns!
    P.S. down here in sunny Florida, you do not seem like a wimp. ;)

    1. Killing them is hard, but it never ends up being as bad as you think it will.You can do it! :)

      Ugh. It's 16 degrees here, today. Florida sounds pretty good, about now. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. Good news you got your buns in the freezer! I can't wait for ours to be ready but we've still got a few weeks to go. I've already promised everybody at work a crock pot full of BBQ'd rabbit!

    We would up with 12 inches and 2 more predicted for tonight! Like you said though, spring is just around the corner and will be here before we know it!

    1. BBQ'd rabbit sounds great! I'm trying to decide how to cook our first rabbit. I'm thinking rabbit Tikka Masala. In truth, I've never had domestic rabbit before! I haven't tried a meat I didn't like yet, so I'm not worried. :)

  3. Great job on getting some homegrown meat set aside! I also feel sad when processing, but I know without a shadow of doubt that my animals here are loved, spoiled, and have good lives. This is not the case for a lot of meat animals thanks to industrialized farming practices. I see the trucks go by on the interstate crammed full of pigs, cows, or chickens. Literally, the chickens are mashed all together with no room to move from what I can see. It's actually kind of sick and twisted that our society is okay with that, but would be upset about us raising our own meat.

    It looks really cold there! And you get MAJOR props for referencing Star Wars. As a huge geek, I salute you!

    Your son is SO cute. My hubby and I just laughed out loud when I saw his socks and clip. Love it! You are so creative! :)

    1. I was wondering where you were! :) I remembered that you had said you were going to be living at work for a couple of days.

      It's good to remind ourselves why we do what we do. The conditions of most industrial-raised livestock are deplorable; and the double standard in our society is very sickening.

      Lol, Star Wars, indeed! :)

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