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!
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.
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