Sunday, January 20, 2008

Choppy weather

The day before we left to visit SIL and BIL in Germy, Breakfast and Brunch went to meet their maker. Lucky us, our butcher's brother does on-site slaughtering, so we were able--for a ridiculous price*--to have the girls dispatched on their own turf with very little, if any, stress.

Two days after we drove, nay, staggered home from the airport, I went to the butcher to pick the girls up. Nothing like leaving 400 lb of pig (Breakfast) and coming home to 200 lb of neatly wrapped piles of meat. Well, hanging weight wasn't that high, but he guessed she ran about that big. Hanging weight was 237 lb for Breakfast and I think 162 lb for Brunch.

The breakdown:
88 chops (in pairs)
4 steaks (not sure if they're in pairs or not)
8 packs of ribs
9 shoulder roasts
4 loin roasts
*37* packs of bacon (I figure ~1 lb minimum, some clearly more like 3 lb)
1 roast (what kind? I don't know)
4 shoulder steaks
9 hams (picnic and big ones)
1 fresh picnic ham (for my dad)

We have 148# of bacon and hams! There's also 14 lb of sausage coming, but it's not ready yet.

The smoking was an extra charge of $111.00, and the butchering fees were $57 (Brunch) and $82 (not Brunch). So we have several hundred pounds of pork for $288 (not including feed costs and the cost of the pig). Not too shabby. Even if I dropped $200 for feed, that's still a great price per pound (Under $2!). Plus? We're not contributing to factory farming and astonishingly inhumane "living" and work conditions. I feel really good about that. Really good.

We're already planning on raising a few more this year. Several friends have asked if we'd raise one for them, and I figure it's just as easy to do 2 (or 4) as it is to do one, and they do prefer to be in groups, so... This time around I think it's safe to figure the pigs would have a hanging weight of 120-160 lb. We sure won't let them get as big as Breakfast did (6 hams off of her, because they were so big!). We figure to buy the pigs in early spring and schedule a slaughter date for mid-late September, which should lead to them being in the preferred slaughter range of 200-250 lbs.

Honestly, no one who knew either of us a few years ago could have predicted we'd be doing this. Hell, we wouldn't have predicted it.

What I love about this is that not only do we get truly fantastic meat, but our pasture is going to be all the better for it. As we move them around our field, I'll go in after and reseed to rebuild the soil and upgrade the pasture. Right now it's in pretty poor shape, and the rooting, pooping, peeing, and weed eating is just what we need to start off on the right foot. If I can figure out a good shelter for them, I'll also put some chickens out in with the pigs, to spread the manure and take care of flies and worms. While the pigs are young, I may also put the goats in with them, but the girls got pretty aggressive and I think that I'd prefer not to find out if pigs eat goat.

* how much would you charge for killing, skinning, and cleaning two pigs in 21-degree weather? Figure 2-3 hours of work, here. It probably wouldn't be $36, would it? How do they make a living at that price? That's where the extra few bucks came from in the price breakdown, btw. Thirty-six. When he got the bill, Husband said, "Thirty-six ..... dollars?" and butcher's brother said, "Yeah. It's cheap."


d e v a n said...

wow! I'm impressed and jealous about all the fresh meat you have that you raised and fed!
Makes me want to live on a farm.

Laura said...

MMMM bacon.

Northwoods Baby said...

THIRTY-SEVEN packs of mmmmm bacon!!