Monday, October 15, 2012

Pigs Over the Moon

So, our first two pigs went to the cold-room this morning.  It is, in a single word, relief.  They were good pigs, easy to care for, and an asset to the frugal kitchen gardener.  But, as anyone who keeps them knows, they outgrow their cuteness, eat tremendous amounts and get VERY big.  One of them nibbled at me the other day as I entered their pen at feeding time.  We've had a week or more of rain, which is welcomed considering the summer drought.  Except that it has made the pig pen a giant puddle, even in our well-drained sand soil, that I'm lucky not to have become stuck in a time or two.  Quick sand and nibbling boar pigs make for a very wary farmer, especially since they each outweigh me by +100 lbs.

Despite the lost sleep and worry, this morning was easy thanks to my on-farm slaughter hired help.  While taking on the entire task of shooting and dressing two +200 lb hogs by himself, he made casual conversation about being a chef in the Oval Office during the Bush Jr. years.  He had wound his way around the world during his career and somehow found his place here in Vermont, working from home and spending time with his young family.  I didn't need to ask why.  He beamed with self-satisfaction and pride.  On the other hand, despite our gruesome chore, I was at ease and frankly enjoying my time out of the house and AWAY from my children.

Raising a few weaned piglets to slaughter weight was an easy and fun farm project that made good use of all our kitchen and garden waste.  It may not be for everyone, but we thankfully made it through without issue.  With a rifle, some confidence and a stiff drink, I think I would even tackle the slaughter and cutup.  It won't be next year, though.  I'm guessing it will take us two years to consume our hog from the freezer.  Now, it will be just two weeks of waiting before the grand taste test.  Thank you Butterscotch!  We will always remember you. 

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