Free's piggie thread...new pics p 19

freemotion

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Whew, I am pooped....and I am far from done. Wishing I could have taken the week off from working to get all this pig under control. But I will take a quick break to catch up on the story.

Back to Tuesday:

I must tell about the two guys I hired. Devon and Felix. They were probably the most interesting part of the day! They came in around 8 AM and stood in my kitchen as I was waiting for the friend with the gun to arrive and for my dad to get back from the pig pasture where he was separating the pigs by putting one (the girl) in the small round pen attached to their house. He closed the flimsy gate that was just fine for baby pigs but was a joke to a grown up hog, so he slid a couple of 2"x4" studs through the squares of the fence to reinforce it. It worked great. The boy was loose in the pasture, but he is the more docile of the two.

Anyhoo, the guys and I were standing around awkwardly, making small talk. They were glancing around surreptitiously as we all do when in a new place and sizing people up. One was drinking black tea from a lab beaker, the type with the wide bottom and the narrow top. It was loose leaf tea. I commented on it and he toasted me, "Pyrex!" I teased him about the color of his "urine sample." We established our relationship. :lol:

The two were college grads, tall and skinny, very crunchy granola. One grew up in a fairly high end town in Eastern MA near where I was born. They became interested in helping people slaughter when they helped process a kosher sheep and have since hung out their shingle, but my pigs were to be their second and third pigs, ever.

On the phone the week before, when we were still trying to figure out how we would actually kill the hogs (again, note the liberal and incorrect usage of the word "we" :p ) one of them suggested that they do so with a knife.

:ep

I explained the strength of pigs and vetoed that. Not on my watch. I'd seen the girl flip her full 20 gallon water tub like it was an empty Tupperware container....when she was a little baby. These guys weighed no more than 130 each dripping wet. The pigs were 150-175 each, and they can easily move three or four times their weight. Imagine that scene! Blood would be shed, and not much of it would be pig blood.

In the end, it all worked out. We learned some things. Next spring, I will put in some sturdy fence posts and make a chute that I will feed the pigs in daily to limit their movement on the big day. We will point sticks at them on a regular basis while they are eating so it won't be interesting to them.

Back to the guys. They worked steadily and skillfully and chatted with us while working. It did not seem to slow them down. They asked to take everything we didn't want. They would use a lot for their own consumption, and would leave the rest in a secluded area for the coyotes. They asked for the blood, but as Jehovah's Witnesses, we follow the scriptural commands about blood...that slaughtered animals be bled and that the blood be poured out on the ground, given back to God as a representation of the life of the animal. We did this. As soon as the first pig went down, my father was in there with the sharpest knife, making the cut so the animal would bleed out while the heart was still beating. I did not find this to be as disturbing as I'd expected. That first one was quick and painless, and although the pig made running movements, it was obvious it was not conscious of anything.

The other one.....eep. My father reminded me later that if you pick up a baby pig and cuddle it gently, it will scream like it is being torn limb from limb. I do remember this as a child, when the baby pigs escaped and we picked them up...they shrieked! It is just how they talk, he said, not an indication of degree of pain. We've also heard that when a person is shot, they are often not aware of it or the degree of their injury at first. So I comfort myself, upon reflection, that she was probably annoyed and didn't live long enough after that first unfortunate shot to suffer much if at all. Yup, that is how I will think of it. It is the only way. She had an ideal life, unlike any of the pork I've ever bought at the store.

So, the guys. At one point, we were speculating as to the weight of the first pig, and one of the guys went right up to the hanging pig (just before splitting the carcass in half, it was gutted and head and feet and tail were gone) and gave it a bear hug and lifted it. Then he turned to his buddy and did the same thing, asking him how much he weighed. The guy weighed 130 lbs, so he estimated the dressed pig at 120 lbs! :lol:

In all our chatting, we discovered that they like to do a lot of interesting things themselves, like tanning. We talked about my fleeces and one offered to show me how to use a drop spindle, as he'd done some spinning in the past! I was too wiped out to take him up on the offer, but he was very interested in my plans for my fleeces.

Later, in the house when we were settling up and everyone was taking a turn in the bathroom and washing up a bit, I noticed that the shy glancing around in the beginning was gone. They were both openly looking around my kitchen and living room, touching things, picking things up and commenting on them, inspecting things from all sides.

I thought it was great. I told them about everything they looked at, as it was just as interesting to watch them as it apparently was to them to look. (Did that make sense? :p ) We talked about canning, garden herbs and sausage making, mead and wine making, salt making (had some simmering on the wood stove), wheat grinding, fleece processing, jewelry making, and much more.

One of them said, "I wonder if we could keep pigs in our basement?" I asked if they rented (yes) and we laughed about that. My dad told them about some pigs we had that he wanted to confine for finishing and put them in our old barn with the cracked cement floor. Within a couple of weeks there was no more cement to be found. They'd dug it all up AND had pulverized the pieces! I suggested that they had some great skills to barter and I was sure they could find someone to let them raise pigs on their land in exchange for some work.

Duh.

I made the offer to raise pigs for them in exchange for processing next year. As they left, we both agreed to give it some thought and to discuss it long before spring. I will definitely be pursuing them with this plan. It would seriously cut down the cash outlay of producing our own meat here. And, hopefully, they would come over every couple of weeks with a carload of gleanings, and between the three "families," we could raise the next pigs fully on free food. Imagine!

The hubster and I had soup tonight, made with the broth from half of the mystery bones and all the meat pulled off of them. It was hard not to just eat the pork bits right from the bowl. We had a few tastes and it was out of this world. I made ployes (buckwheat pancakes) to eat with the soup.

Tomorrow I will talk about the butchering process and how that is going.
 

AnnaRaven

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Wow. Great story of the processing day. So are the pigs hanging now or at a butchers or what? (Interested because I just bought ordered half a pig...)
 

Henrietta23

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Cool story!!
It's always kind of neat seeing your house and stuff through someone else's eyes, especially someone who may not look at the world in a conventional way. Does that make sense?? :lol:
 

freemotion

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Absolutely. Most people look at my house in shock at the mess....these guys immediately saw projects, even noticing that the garbage bags on the porch contained fleece because there was a tiny hole in one of them. No one else ever noticed that.
 

Wifezilla

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That is so cool. I wish my husband could see the projects behind the piles! :gig
 

Farmfresh

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I bet they had a black pudding in mind for the blood. I have seen recipes for such a thing, but never tried it. A bit too gooey for me even! :lol:

The pig "training" ideas are really good and sound ideas. I will take note of those if ever I get a chance to raise a pig or two. I am SO glad that you were able to raise your pigs on this most natural of diets. I have always wanted to try that. I am sure your meat is out of this world!

I have met some interesting folks via craigslist as well. My pig lady and my sheep man both came from that resource. I am also glad to see some young 'uns getting out there to learn some skills and make some money. What a great idea! Maybe some of OUR young 'uns can learn some tricks! ;)
 

abifae

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That sounds like a great find, Freem! Good folk are hard to come by and to share in piggies too! That would be great. I've been wondering if I could pay in that way to someone. Being in an apartment... I've wondered if it would end up cheaper doing a share like that than buying a pig butchered.

My cow share ends up being reasonable, but pork and chicken, not so much.

I am mostly curious if my issues digesting piggies would be gone if they were raised well LOL. I love the taste of pork but it's brutal on my insulin.
 
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