April 24, 2010
Because we don't have enough meat already - right!
Jeremy is a hunter, as are his dad and my dad. Every year, in the fall, they head out into the woods in search of the elusive beasts. Every year at least one of them, usually two of them, bag a deer. They hunt elk with a larger group of guys and there is always one elk taken in the group. So we always have some wild game in the freezer.
Last year, the larger group of guys got three elk. Jeremy and his dad decided to butcher one of the elk in our barn rather than send it to the professionals. This was not the first butchering in the barn. Jeremy and my dad butchered three sheep in late summer. Jeremy also purchased a nice meat grinder, so we can do burger. All of this saves money. Professional butchering of the sheep ends up with an average cost of $4/lb. But I think the elk butchering was more about seeing if they could do it, then saving money.
Elk are huge animals. In the woods the guys "field dress" (which is gutting) and quater the elk so they can carry it out. When Jeremy got home that afternoon he hung the quarters in the barn for the night. I went out to feed the animals and opened the barn to get hay. The cats came down with me and were facinated by the new smell in the barn. Lots of sniffing around under the elk quarters. After I fed the sheep and chickens, I had to get the cats out. I couldn't leave them in the barn with fresh meat all night - eventually they'd figure out how to jump onto a leg. I was bent over chasing after Rosa and shooing Alley, and I ran head first into the bloody hind quarter. Got to end my evening with a shower to remove elk from my hair.