Well, time to say goodbye to Pinky & Oinky…
Raising pigs for the first time has been a solid success. Shortly I'll put together a write-up of my experience and lessons learned, but first, it's time to process our two hogs.
The pigs will be slaughtered this coming Friday, Aug 22 @
Local slaughterer John "One Shot" Taylor will be handling the wet work right on my property. I expect it to take 30-45 minutes in total.
A surprising number of folks have expressed interest in watching the process. If you're one of those curious to learn how this part of the farm animal raising cycle works, feel free to come by. If you need directions, email me here.
After dressing them, John will take the carcasses to the new butchery Sonoma County Meat Company. I dropped in there last week and was impressed by the passion and professionalism of the owners, Rian & Jenine.
Esp for me, the amount of rendered lard per old spot swine. thanks, robie
Did you clear up who be shaving them? If it is you then an old bath tub is a good place to start depending on their size, and shaving works best when the water temperature is about 70 degrees Celsius. Use a sharpened bit of tin as the razor. Find and old metal 44 gallon drum, half fill it full of water light a fire underneath and when it is boiling poor it into the bath tub where hopefully you have already poured a full 44 gallon drum, put the pig in and the water temp should be just right.
all of this is a slightly dangerous procedure, so have things like a brass tap on the drum and welding metal stands to the base is probably a grand idea, that or put shackles on to top and use a tractor to move it around is a grand idea.
if you get the temperature just right the hairs just pop out with a light shaving, leaving lots of crackling.
i've seen a few old farmers just take cast iron bath tubs out into the paddocks and light fires under them, I'm of the acrylic tub generation, so I've always done it the hard way.
FYI, pig skin is the favoured leather for seats of British/Australian saddles. I've no idea if Americans use it on your saddles and I doubt so but you never know. If the butcher will be removing the hide without making cracking, look into tanning it, self tanning kits are cheap enough. If you tan your own make sure to only tan hides that haven't had cuts or scratches on the pig.
Until recently we had our pork butts smoked as hams except for maybe holding back one or two to be used as pork roasts. Then by chance the gal at our butcher shop, when taking our instructions for meat cutting, asked if we wanted sandwich meat. Huh? "Yeah, do you want any of the smoked hams sliced for sandwich meat?" Of course we did, we just didn't know they did that. Now we have more ham sliced than not, the thinner sliced the better. I highly recommend this if they will do it for you. It's outrageously good. Now my sandwiches would put this guy to shame.
Apologies for the late-breaking change.
I just heard from John that he needs to do the slaughter sooner, so he'll be arriving now at 11am (NOT 1pm).
Hope those interested still can make it!
The pig slaughter is over.
John did a fantastic job. The killing was quite quick and the dressing of the carcasses was amazingly fast and efficient.
I'll post a detailed summary of the experience at some point over the next few days, with lots of photos of each stage, for those interested in learning how this part of the livestock raising lifecycle works.
I'll admit it was hard to see the pigs I raised get the bullet — on my order, no less. But I do feel that the experience will make me more honest about the meat I eat. And, while emotionally difficult, it seemed 'natural' to witness the food-to-table process in action.