The “Appointment”

I’ve made the “appointment”. The pigs are going to be slaughtered March 8. I’ll admit I’m already a whisper sad about it.
I grew up raising my own food animals. I did 4-H and FFA. Every year I watch as our commercial calves are loaded into trucks to become food. I watch the custom exempt slaughter of our personal freezer beef. Heck I even worked in a slaughterhouse. I’m not new to this lifestyle, but for some reason I am already bummed out about the pigs.
Maybe because this was my project, my idea, my money, and my time. It was the first time a bright idea of mine worked out successfully (ask me about goats sometime). Since October, I have spent every day with these pigs making sure they were the happiest pigs they could be. In December I started making their food. I’ve cooked for these pigs more than I’ve cooked for myself.

Happy pig

Happy pig


I realize that is their “job” to be pigs and if they didn’t have a “job” they probably wouldn’t exist. I know I have provided them with the best pig life I could. I know they are happy and healthy. But I am still going to miss them; I think I would have no soul if I didn’t.
Treats!

Treats!


When I would have a bad day at work, or someone poked me with a stick, I would simply go out and hang with the pigs. They are always super excited to see me, even more excited when I bring treats and the most excited when I brush them and give belly rubs. They run and grunt at me when they see me, just like I sing them silly pig songs and talk to them when I am in their pen.
This project has been a success and we haven’t even tried the pork yet. It was wonderful doing adult 4-H and having so many visitors to the Ranch. It was great having something my Dad and I could talk about everyday, where I could ask for his advice. And best of all it was wonderful to bring awareness to this pork. I have a waiting list for next year.
This project reminded me that my place is on the Ranch, not in an office. Over the past three years I have worked in town from 8 to 5. I worked on the Ranch during my weekends and free-time; so I have not noticed how “soft” I have become until recently.
When we first got the pigs I noticed it was hard for me to pick up the 50 pound sacks of grower feed. My arms were sore after I started cooking their food all weekend (it takes my whole weekend to cook enough food for them). I had blisters on my delicate little office hands. I have to make two trips to feed them because two full five gallon buckets were just too much for me.
But after 6 months of taking care of the pigs every day, twice a day (except for like a month at night, when my Parents fed for me because it was too dark by the time I got home) I have upper arm strength again. I can pick up their 75 pound sacks of feed like it is nothing. I now fill their slop buckets as full as I can get them and “pump buckets” on the way to their trough. I have calluses. It feels good and I’m thinking of becoming a bouncer with these guns, lol.
My "man" hands. I've very proud. I missed them.

My “man” hands. I’ve very proud. I missed them.


Since this was a success my Parents have agreed to let me start raising pastured poultry this spring. When I take my vacation next month I am going to build a portable coop and get chicks. I have fond memories of being a small child and slaughtering chickens and turkeys with my Dad (he would always give me the sea glass from the turkey’s gullet). Very exciting stuff is happening for me!
Work. Lots of work. All weekend worth of work. I need a weekend from my weekend.

Work. Lots of work. All weekend worth of work. I need a weekend from my weekend.


Be prepared Dear Readers, even though I will probably be sobbing, I am going to video and take pictures of the whole slaughter process just like I did with my beef all those years ago (Industry groups, if you are concerned about this, please contact me NOW, I don’t want another Beef Council incident).
Thank you to all of you that have kept up with our pig adventures. I’ve really enjoyed all of your comments and feedback! I’ve even met new “friends” through this project, it’s just been such a wonderful experience. However I am a little excited that I can start to sleep in and have weekends again after these pigs are gone. It has been a lot of work balancing my town job and my pigs.

7 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, family, food, Humor, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

7 Responses to The “Appointment”

  1. I can understand how hard it is, heck, even I am in two minds when I read parts of this. The fact is though, you’re right, animals with jobs. Pigs have been raised for meat for .. well darned if I know how long, I mean, I’m sure before modern agriculture developed, people were still raising them. I think in this case though, you’ve shown that you have had very happy pigs, that you yourself have had happy times with them, and that you’ve taken good care of them and treated them humanely. I also think it’s interesting to a consumer like me, that you’re not shying away from showing how they are going to be slaughtered, processed, and cooked eventually. Like your cow slaughter post, I’m re-assured that you’re going to do it in a matter of fact, down to earth way. For me, this is one step closer to “bringing the consumer to the farm” and educating us on where our food comes from.

    Thank you so much for educating us and I can’t wait to read the next installment. I assure you, I’ll be sad to see the pigs go too, but at least now I have a better understanding of all the hard work and dedication it takes to look after animals, keep them happy, and bring them to my dinner plate.

    • Thank you for reading Ian! I’m glad you think the slaughter is going to be interesting! I do too and I am baffled by people that don’t – to me it’s part of the process! Please let me know if there is anything you want to see in particular! Thanks again for following!

      • I don’t need to see the animal being killed obviously, but I would want to know the method used? Are there other methods available and how do they differ. ALSO (and this is a big one if you can) I’d really like to know why European bacon and American bacon is so different, it’s more fatty over here for one, are they using skinnier pigs back home, or is it that the bacon is from a different part of the animal? Thank you so much for helping me find out more!

  2. I’ve enjoyed your ‘pig posts’ over the last several months. It reminded me of when we raised pigs on our own farm as I was growing up and of the pigs my brother used to raise for his 4-H projects. Hopefully when I get settled on a farm/ranch somewhere in the near future I can get my own pigs too! So while I will miss you pig posts, I know there will be more pigs and more pig stories next year. I am really looking forward to reading about your stint into raising pastured poultry!

    It’s awesome to see you growing and discovering where you are meant to be and how you are coming up with new ways to make your ranch profitable! Good luck as you head into your new endeavors! If there’s ever anything I can do to help don’t hesitate to call.

  3. I think it’s ok to be a little bit sad about your pigs leaving, regardless of the reason! Heck, I’ve cried before after selling my 4-H steer, just plain because I would miss him. And sometimes I cry when I wean my sows at work and all the piglets leave! Cows and pigs have personalities, and if you spend enough time with them you get to know those personalities and get attached to them! It’s totally normal, but soon you’ll have new pigs to put a smile on your face. Maybe someday you’ll be able to work on the ranch more and in the office less! I can’t wait to read about your chickens and especially see the next group of pigs!

  4. The sadness is completely justified. You have poured so much of yourself into this project and it is sad to see part of it coming to an “end.” Megan, not an ounce of this project has been in vain! By chronicling it and sharing it here on your blog, you have shared the entire process with people who otherwise might not have an access to/understanding of the process of bringing food to the table.

    Bravo!

  5. Pingback: Mess-Ups | The Beef Jar

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