Country Living Series

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The joys of Flyover Country

Yesterday we butchered four animals. These ladies were two troublesome mother/daughter pairs, three of whom were horned, and they routinely caused problems either by escaping fences or attacking other animals.

I hate butchering days; not because I mind animals being butchered, but because I don’t like causing anguish among the rest of the herd. (I tend to anthropomorphize a lot. Maybe it’s a woman thing.) Whenever possible, I like keeping the rest of the herd out of sight from where the animals are being butchered.

So when the region’s most revered mobile butchers, Potlatch Pack, rolled in yesterday morning, we had the herd down in the pasture and well away from the four targeted animals, which we kept in the rocky driveway area where mud and other complicating factors were minimized.


Don stayed outside to watch one of the butchers, a fellow named Chance, do his magic. I stand in absolute awe of Chance’s sharpshooting skills: one single clean shot in one of two preferred locations (either between the eyes, or better yet, a spot between the eye and ear). On this particular occasion, he peeked around the corner of the house and dropped all four animals within 15 seconds of each other. They literally didn’t know what hit them; they didn’t panic; they didn’t even realize their fellow herdsmates were down. The animals didn’t even kick or struggle. They just – dropped.

Chance and his helper had the animals processed (gutted, skinned, quartered) within a few hours, then with a cheerful wave they were on their way. The carcasses will be hung in a cooler for about ten days, then cut, wrapped, and frozen.

Whenever I read about someone in their ivory tower complaining about the backward rednecks in Flyover Country, I think about the wonderful, humane, efficient people working for Potlatch Pack. I know the type of people among whom I prefer to spend my life. Give me the “backward rednecks” like the Potlatch Pack folks any day.

22 comments:

  1. I live a few hours south of you and I agree with you fully.
    Fly over all you want.
    Just don't land here.
    andy

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  2. "Flyover country" is the backbone of our nation. Real life, by real people. Being stuck in a city for now has taught me that I miss living away from the craziness. The people around me are very disconnected to where their food comes from, and who works hard to pay for their (cough) benefits. They have no clue that their "free stuff" has to come from somewhere, and someone has to pay for it. So, here is a salute from this city dweller who gets it. I hope that steak is amazing.

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  3. Fully agree. We had a ranch butcher for Sam's pigs. Definitely more humane than sending them on a truck with 100 others pigs to go to a "processing plant" or wherever the heck they go... Best pork too...

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  4. My husband is hoping to one day have his own processing facility. He enjoys the real hard work I'd providing local families with their own well raised meat at an affordable price. It's really truly keeping it local in every regard. Beginning to end. And in my opinion you vote with your dollar. The goal is within the next five years to move our home to it's own land. Have it paid for. So he can quit his main stream American job and start his own. Working hard. Feeling accomplished at the end of the day. Helping other families and our own. What the world should be like.

    - learning in NY... hoping to become Little Way Farm someday soon

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  5. I live in a different "flyover country." It's so over-the-rainbow Liberal that the GOP didn't bother with it. The Witch who would be queen didn't even bother hovering her broom over it, as it was "in the bag." ...Thank GOD the rest of the country wasn't!

    Backwards, my ass! Those ivory-tower types don't know it yet, but we're moving "forward, into the past.

    Enjoy that meat! You EARNED it!

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  6. Our mobile butcher is like that. Our steer was happily munching on grain when the shot came and he never knew what hit him. Raising you own food, including meat, is awesome.

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  7. Nice to see a professional make it look easy - the mark of someone who really knows what he was doing.

    Do you know what caliber he used? My uncles always used a 22LR on hogs, and I always thought it wasn't quite enough.

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  8. So I presume you got rid of Dusty & Rosy? Those two sounded like absolute headaches. Which other troublemakers got the axe?

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    1. Dusty and her daughter Adina, and Rosy and her daughter Minnie. It's been much quieter at the feed boxes over the last couple of days.

      - Patrice

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  9. Had the same feeling last week, kind of. Was hunting on my farm. Had a nice 7 point come in to drink at a tub up in my field.Shot him with my crossbow, tracked ,tagged, gutted and had him in fridge in just a couple hours.I am also a taxidermist,so he will be preserved forever. No matter how many deer i kill I always am a little sad after. I try to always take a moment after to thank the animal, and God. What a great country We all live in.

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  10. I picked up our beef a few days ago. It was raised by the neighbor who rents 40 acres from us. He raised it there, walked it to the corral beside the slaughterhouse adjoining our farm, shot it, and processed the best beef I've ever eaten. His wife says the cows are as happy as can be right up to the time they're shot in the head. I was telling this to a coworker, and she was mortified. She went on and on about how awful that was. Ironically, she was eating a hamburger at the time of her rant. I pointed this out to her. She wasn't amused.

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    1. I get this all the time from friends as well. Once had the mailman ask what happened to our pig. It is utterly infuriating. Nope. Not vegetarians. So yeah those horrified by doing it ourselves LOVE bacon. Ribs. You name it. But how could we?! how on earth could we KILL a poor helpless animal? Right. We treat our animals well because our health relies on theirs. Our pigs were so happy. The day before processing we withheld grain. They could forage but no grain. They're Tamworth so trust me they foraged. But the next morning we would load them up. Marshmallows. .. a hog favorite here. Donuts. Something they rarely got and tons of scraps. Head in the bucket let them munch away in bliss and boom. No pain. It isn't EASY on us, sometimes you really like the animal you have to butcher. That's what people don't get. They think the shot means they have pain. No. They're dead instantly. It's only difficult for us who think and rationalize. But we keep then happy and healthy and they do the same for us in return.

      As for another poster we use 22MAG. It's about getting it exactly in the proper spot. Surely could use bigger. But it's readily found around here ammo wise. IMO the store bought meat doesn't even live a life. It's caged sometimes never even touching dirt much less doing what the animal should. It's horrible. Can't wait to grow our own again. God willing.

      Learning in NY

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  11. Silly Conspiracy Theorists. Hamburger doesn't come from a cow - it comes from a plastic package in the meat department at the grocery store - just ask any snowflake as they demonstrate. I get a real kick out of the college kids that come out to climb a local vista point. Many of them take a side trip to visit my red cow herd across the road and take selfies of themselves backed by the curious cows. This is America's future!! Totally disconnected from the real world.
    Pete in Texas

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  12. Way to go Granny. The Liberal idiots where I live really think meat comes from the grocery store, like it's manufactured there.

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  13. My Grandparents had a hog farm in the Dairy belt in Ontario of Southern California, I knew how to kill and dress a hog for a customer before I was 13. We all had cattle for meat or milk and it was cheap since my dad worked for a grain mill hauling grain to the dairies he would have dairymen GIVE us day old calves because they didn't want them. Free grain because the mill would invite employees to clean and haul off the spilled and spoiled grain.

    Dad didn't make much and technically we lived below the poverty line but we always had fresh produce and meat. A deep freezer on the back porch that held the makings of many great dinners with family.

    Thanks Patrice and everyone else for keeping the way of life going. Hope to be there again someday.

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    1. I'll second this. Growing up in rural South Dakota, butchered hogs were often the only thing standing between a farm family and starvation over the winter. We have always treated the animals with respect and thanked the Lord for providing these fine animals to us also. It might seem strange to say a prayer of thanks to God after killing an animal, but it kept everything in perspective for us.

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  14. Wonderful post! So glad good men like this exist and that good stewards like you hire them. I have no problem eating meat but I sure appreciate folks who care enough about their animals to assure that they don't experience any fear or pain when their time comes. Thanks!

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  15. I am in agreement with the people posting here. Helped a couple of good friends today process some turkeys and a couple of chickens. I must agree the process is not pretty, but it was done humanely and quickly. For my husband and I, knowing where our food comes from is important. I also have lots of co-workers who made nasty faces about my activity today that are all eating turkey in a few days. I know that my turkey was raised humanely and happy right up to the last. Most people don't think about where their food comes from as long as it is available. While I am on my soapbox I may as well state that it drives me wild to see people at the free food giveaways that have manicures,lots of jewelry, fancy clothes and tattooes! (Not to mention expensive phones!)

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  16. About how much meat does a cow yield? Are your 4 ex-trouble makers supplying a year's worth in your freezer?

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    1. These were fairly small animals, so we'll only get about 250 lbs. from each of them.

      - Patrice

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  17. I am an animal lover and have never killed one. However, I admire those who raise animals for food, take great care of them, and then dispatch them humanely. I can tell you if the stuff hits the fan in this country, I'm screwed in so many ways because there is so much I have no idea now to do. I read a lot of blogs of people who are off grid and semi off grid - and it just points out to me how stupid it was to let go of the family farm in the old days. My great grandparents knew all about farming - it is what everyone did to a certain degree unless you lived in a big city - and even there, 150 years ago, people had farms on Manhattan Island. I'll keep reading and maybe I'll remember some of it if I need it in the future.....

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