New Skills


IMG_7629Today I learned a new skill.  I use the term skill very,  very loosely. I think my husband was much more skilled than me. (I know he is much more skilled at this than me!) Today, we butchered a hog…yep…start to finish.

We have butchered deer and chickens in the past….and we actually slaughtered a hog years ago, but then paid someone else to cut it into chops, bacon, hams etc. This time we tried it all on our own.

We were fortunate to get a hog from a farmer who had one that could not be sold, due to a bad leg. Rather than let an entire hog go to waste, we ended up with it and were so grateful.

I found a YouTube video on how to butcher in a Facebook group called IA Farm 2 Table. The video on learning this skill is put on by a couple guys called The Bearded Butchers.

I will have to say those two guys made it look like a walk in the park.  I am here to tell you, our hog did not turn out quite the same as theirs. In fact…I think my husband and I just may have invented a few new “cuts” of meat.

Our excuse for slightly different looking cuts of meat was lack of equipment used by those two bearded butchers. (I am pretty sure our knives would have made them laugh.) I am totally sticking to that excuse!

We did invite our daughter in law to come help, but for some reason she respectfully declined. I am not sure why….I thought it was not too bad cutting up a hog, on a hayrack, under a tree. The breeze was very nice and cool.

As we were cutting it apart I would comment that our cuts did not quite look the same as the video. My husband would respond….”it will still taste like pork. Make it into a roast type hunk and you can do anything with it.” Then we would both start laughing.

We did not do bacon or hams, as that may have really taxed our skills AND we did not have a smoker.  We did attempt roasts, pork chops, and ribs. Tomorrow I hope to can the meat that we cubed. It should be interesting as I have not canned meat in years. I guess that means it is time to give it a whirl again?

We were tired this evening,  so we bagged and froze the fat so it can be rendered into lard later. We also froze the trimmings so we can grind them at a later date.  I will say once all the packages were wrapped; they looked really good!  Almost professional.

I will also say it was an adventure. When I woke up this morning I really was not too excited by the prospect of dealing with the hog. Now that it is packaged and in my freezer I am much more excited about it.

My word of advice for the week—You can teach old dogs new tricks. You can learn new skills. A YouTube video and some makeshift equipment and you are good to go.

What have you learned this week?  I would love to know! Oh……and one more thing…..we still have all our fingers intact.

“Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.”

― Theodore Roosevelt


42 thoughts on “New Skills

  1. Anne Mehrling says:

    Wow! You and Lar are amazing! You went whole hog!! And you laughed as you did it!! Bet you butchered that pig quickly, too — chop, chop!

    You might laugh at a skill I need to learn. I’m going to see if You Tube has advice on staking tomatoes. A neighbor gave us some little plants that are growing like crazy.

    When you are ready to eat your first bit of pork, be sure to lick your chops.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ray V. says:

      I suppose there is always something challenging awaiting you on the farm. When I was a young boy, my father was friends with a man who ran the local slaughterhouse and some of those Saturday morning visits are burned deep into my memory 😊. Thanks for sharing the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        We have others in this area that are also butchering livestock as we are in an area with plenty of it and nowhere to go with it. I remember going with my friend and her dad to the butcher shop to slaughter an animal. We learned about the “circle of life” at a young age LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      LOLOL Anne. I usually put my tomato plants between cattle panels…but then I grow a lot of them. My dad always used heavy construction type stuff and made it into a circle for his tomatoes. I know that explanation is about as clear as mud! But I don’t know what it is called.


  2. peggyjoan42 says:

    Well – I have helped my husband cut up a lot of different animals over the years. Quite a chore, but when you are married to Dave Daniel Boone it is not unusual. Ha Matters not if anything is cut correctly, because your husband is right – “It still tastes the same.” Enjoyed this post. Have a great week and enjoy that pork each time it graces your table.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda says:

    Good for you! That’s funny cause when they were talking about meat shortages I said we will just ask Larry and Faye to help us butcher😃 it’s amazing what you can find on YouTube videos.Merlyn uses them to figure out how to fix machinery all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. says:

    Wow, I admire your gumption. The thought of cutting up an entire animal is beyond my comprehension, but with the times the way they are now, I expect we’ll all be making choices to do things we never thought we would do. Enjoy those hunks of pork, knowing that you were a part of the process (ing).

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I have to confess I am tired today and my hands hurt from all that cutting yesterday. We do have a lot of farmers around here selling their animals cheaply because the alternative is to euthanize them as the packing plants are not yet operating at full capacity. I am just glad ours is now in the freezer and after today will be canned in my jars.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. susieshy45 says:

    That was a great lesson woven into the post. I’m glad you learnt this new skill and got lots of food into the bargain.
    About what I learnt this week- I learnt how to be firm with my husband this week – previously, when we had ‘discussions’(arguments), it might have ended up with one of us giving into the other just to avoid the discussion but this week I understood I have the skill to be firm with people and put my point across.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I think yours was an amazing skill to learn Susie. I, myself, hate confrontation so I totally get how hard it is to be firm…especially with someone you love. It is good to learn how to be firm with love. I am still working on that.


  6. Al says:

    Think that is a skill I’ll have to pass on, Faye, but I am always perfecting my skills at eating the delicious cuts from the butcher shop. After all, I am also an important cog in the farm to table food distribution chain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      LOL I tried to walk the careful line with details! Did not want to get any animal activist on my case. I bet if we really checked around there would be more blog posts on butchering :). I know there are plenty of how to videos!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pam says:

    Good for you! I love meat and would make a terrible vegetarian, but I must admit this city girl would have been a bit squeamish. I think it’s great you have all that meat now!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ruthsoaper says:

    Yes you can teach an old dog new tricks if they are willing to learn. Kudos to you for being willing! This is a great skill to have especially now-a-days. A friend who has a goat farm in Delaware told me he has 20 plus goats that were supposed to go to auction but with those things being closed he doesn’t know what he will do with them. He could sell them to individuals if people knew how to butcher them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Timelesslady says:

    I don’t know if I will ever need the same skill, but it is good to know that there are people who still know how to live off the land…and can teach the skill if we need to learn it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. thecobweboriumemporium says:

    Hello Chicken. Long time no see!
    Although I couldn’t do this type of new skills job – I am filled with awe and admiration of you that you jumped in and did it!

    You’re absolutely right … new skills can be learned courtesy of the internet, You Tube and learning from those in the know…. and in my case, asking questions and questions and questions, until I conjure up the confidence to give whatever it is, a go. My Grandma used to say … “You can’t win if you don’t begin” – and I repeat that to myself all the time. It helps me get the ‘job’ done.

    I’ve missed you sorely, and am thrilled to be back, with a bit of time to spare, and blog again, and catch up with people I’ve missed. You being one of those people.

    Sending you much love and many hugs ~ Cobs. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Hello Cobs!!!!! I wish I had a love button for this comment. You have no idea of the huge grin on my face when I saw this comment. How have you been? I have been doing fine just have not felt the blogging urge the past couple months. I have a feeling once the busyness of canning season is past I may get back to it. I will be looking for you now. Welcome back my very dear friend. (And I still have not totally figured out how to leave hearts LOLOL…..some tricks are just beyond old dogs I guess. So much love sent your way. ~ Chicken Gma

      Liked by 1 person

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