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Harvesting our Idaho Pasture Pigs

Today was a long anticipated and dreaded weekend. Butchering some of our first Idaho pasture pigs. My dad taught kenny how to butcher and as a kid, little kenny was always around helping. They had done a few with him, but when you raise them for yourself it doesn’t happen usually only once a year, which means a long time in between to get a routine down. The past few years someone raised a pig for us and we just brought home meat from the butcher.

Its time though to get the skill honed in and do our own again. Its always sad and happy thinking about my dad at this time. Thinking about how grateful we are he took the time to teach and sad for the void missing in the day.

This year though the universe brought us some new helpers. Rita is a wonderful lady who has had much experience in many of the farming life, butchering and meat cutting being one of them. She was gracious enough to come and work with us!. Her daughter Erin also came to help and they were such a blessing!

Its always nerve-racking when you have not done something in a while to try to remember order and “the easier way”. Especially with our tractor still broke, it was a whole other game trying to do things “off grid”. The boys did a great job remembering and rita stepped in with guidance to share and teach as they went. With that said, I told Rita she should offer her service of knowledge and skill to those who want to butcher their own animals, but don’t have the confidence quite to follow through. She would not “do” the work, but would guide and coach. It is her passion to help people to learn a lost skill and trade. If you are local and interested you can contact me and I will give you her contact.

The butchering is done and tomorrow will be a full day of cutting and wrapping. We will be so glad, relieved and happy to have this job done and to have the pork. Im excited to try it as they say that it is the better than typical pork breeds.

Its also a hard day to harvest an animal. People always ask “how can you do that? Isn’t it hard?” The answer is yes. We just know going in what we are raising it for and don’t become “attached”. Yet at the same time give it the best life they can have. They are well fed, happy and have a place to run and be pigs. The other question asked is..”is it cheaper to raise your own?” That answer is no. In most cases the feed costs are more than buying meat at the store. When you pay $20 per chicken for farm / pasture raised it covers cost and many times doesn’t include the time and care as a wage. We do it because in return, we know that we have given it a good life. It still is a responsibility and requires time and an initial shelter and fencing cost , but we are grateful knowing that our food was well taken care of. Knowing they are chemical and hormone free and fed good wholesome non- gmo food.

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