Notes from Windward: #68

Adding a Crane

a better set up for butchering

     We hold off on doing the fall butchering until after the point where we can count on having a hard freeze each night since that pretty much kills off the flies. The fall rains bring out a burst of last-minute grass growth which the animals put to good advantage as they fatten up for winter.

     Our practice is to kill and skin an animal in the late afternoon, and then let it hang over night to cool down. Warm meat is difficult to work--cooling it down makes the kitchen work much easier. We don't generally talk a lot about how we butcher primarily because we don't do enough of it to be especially good at it--we do a good job, but we're much slower than people who do it regularly.

removing a front leg

     Still, every year we undertake to improve the process in some way. This year we rigged up a hand operated crane to mount on the downhill corner of the PowerLab. This worked well because it gave us a way to hoist an animal in order to quickly drain the blood out of the meat, and when it came to skinning, we were able to raise and lower the carcass instead of having to spend a lot of time reaching up or bending down.

Nathaniel working the hand crane

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68