Butchering our first hog
I have a hog head, wrapped in a white kitchen trash bag, placed in a large black tub, sitting on my kitchen floor.
And I am pretty pleased about it.
That head represents a step towards achieving a goal. The goal of growing our own food. At least as much as possible.
More specifically it represents learning a completely new set of skills: raising and caring for a pig from one month old to butchering. Housing, feeding, training, rotational pasturing, learning what it means to be a pig. Keeping all our pigs healthy and happy. Happy until the very last moment.
On butcher day we walked our hog a short distance from his paddock in the woods to an enclosed pen where some beer and cracked corn waited. He snuffled through the fallen leaves along the way looking for a stray acorn or grub. I calmly called “pig, pig, here pig, pig,” as I shook a container of treats. I patted him on his back – “gooood pig.” No stress, no fear.
Enclosed in the pen, the hog tuckered into the beer and corn. Mr. J. dispatched the hog cleanly with a .22, and the hog dropped. A sharp knife along the carotid and it was finished. The hog had one bad moment. We will have pork for months.
Thankfully, we had friends help us in the process. Some extra hands, some welcome experience. We could not do this crazy thing we are doing without friends.
Do you think it’s crazy to want to raise and butcher your own meat? I would have thought so a few years ago. But here we are, doing this crazy thing and moving towards the goal of growing as much of our food as possible.
Yeah, it’s a little crazy to have a hog’s head sitting in my kitchen, but I’m o.k. with that.