Freezer Camp 2016

Well, 2016 is officially done and its the first time in all these years on the farm that I have done ALL! the butchering.


From wee quail to 600 plus pound pigs to everything in between, all done by myself.. and boy did I find my groove and did I find my limits on tools, skills and gear!

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I did some work arounds.. if you can’t cut the bones, section off the leg and debone it, don’t have a big enough grinder.. chop the meat, can it and then pull it apart will work in different dishes.


The beef is getting lower and lower in the freezer and cellar jars.. its now on ration till I do Marty in the late spring-early summer and yes, I am planning on doing him myself..

I am going to rate myself on skill set, fowl butcher.. its all there.. small critter, rabbit and such, fast and clean.. I can do a lamb now fast and easy, same with a goat kid..


Small pigs.. yup.. but still need work on the big BIG pigs, they are a handful and then some.. I much prefer to do them in the 200 to 300 range..

Tools, what I am missing is a bone saw (man, that is one thing I really do want a power tool on) and a big grinder.. I have hand grinders and they do the job well, I even have a small grinder and its not bad but I have out-grown it for the volume needing to be done.

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I have worked it out that I like the best cuts for curing, or for the freezer, the rest are canned for other uses. I need a better smoker..

Roughly between hauling costs, kill cost, cut, wrap and cure costs, and tax on top, doing everything butcher wise in 2016 saved us around 5 grand..  talk about paying yourself well for time invested.

And while the savings money wise are huge, the working of skills is worth even more to me.. This is a area that we will see more posts on in 2017..

The goal in 2017 is to all my own processing but to expand my skills, knowledge and ways of preparing cuts and curing an smoking, sausage making an so forth



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6 Responses to Freezer Camp 2016

  1. A Small Country Living says:

    [J+D] This is the real farming life! This is what it is ultimately about: housing, feeding and clothing the family, and selling/trading any surpluses. These days, with so few really connected to the land, so may relying on the state, it’s a delight to read a post like this.

  2. Pingback: Freezer Camp 2016 | A Small Country Living in the Outer Hebrides

  3. valbjerke says:

    With both of us working off farm, we stick to small slaughtering, though on occasion in the past we’ve done beef. The biggest issue for us is alway the time it takes to process the animal into freezer ready cuts and not getting behind on other chores. I much prefer my own cure and smoking with the pork, and if I can juggle the timing with days off, we do our own. The fact that you’ve managed to do all of your own butchering last year is stellar!
    I’ve a hand meat saw that belonged to my dad, and we finally purchased a reciprocating saw (saws-all) that is strictly dedicated to meat – big time saver. I’ve also a decent sized meat grinder that my husband attached to an electric motor – it makes reasonably short work of that chore. Our smoker is an old fridge that we’ve piped a wee woodstove into, and installed a cookstove temp gauge into to keep an eye on the temp.
    I don’t have the slaughter skills you have though, butchering I’m good with. 😊

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