Friday, December 15, 2006

No more supermarket meat!

It's hunting season here. Ken headed out one frosty morning a couple of weeks ago about 0700. At 09:30 he called me on the radio to say he was about to start field dressing a nice doe! She was nice too! It was a perfect shot, right through the heart, so she died within seconds - which makes me feel better!

He was quite a ways from the house so I went up and helped sling her to a pole and we made our way precariously down the mountain with the pole on our shoulders. It took us about 45 minutes to bring her out of the woods -and 3 days to get the crick out of my shoulder! Then the real work began! Skinning, cutting, processing and bagging the meat for the freezer. This is only the second deer Ken's dressed out so I think the next one will go a lot faster. He's very meticulous and tries not to waste anything.

The steaks and stew meat from this deer will last us most of the year. He's hoping to get one more before the season ends in January. Most of the meat from that one will be ground for hamburgers, sausage ect. A lot of the old timers around here can or bottle -for those in England- the meat. They put it in the pressure cooker. The guys at the fire station told Ken how to do it. I was always a bit worried about canning meat but our neighbor Ann cans anything that'll stand still long enough and she's healthy as a horse. She offered to lend us her pressure cooker and come and show us how she does it.

Between the deer, our rabbits and the garden we're getting more and more independent of the supermarket. Hopefully the goats will have kids in the spring then I won't need to buy milk for a while. I need to give them their shots and find out if they need extra selenium before breeding them.

One thing I like about the deer, I don't have to worm it , I don't have to give it shots, I don't have to trim it's hooves and I don't have to buy hay and grain and feed it! Well I guess that's more than one thing. But you know what I mean. And they look beautiful grazing on the lawn ( but not in the garden!)

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This is where Ken got our deer. It's way back up in what we call the 'other holler'.

For Susan and David who've been here, it's over the other side of the mountain that's on the other side of the steam!

Gosh, we need to come up with some names for the different areas of our property! Posted by Picasa

She doesn't look all that big here but she must have weighed about 200lbs. Here she is still with the pole we slung her from to carry her down off the mountain. Posted by Picasa
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Dressing the deer

The pine tree by the driveway turned out to be a good place to hang the deer for dressing. We got a couple of pullies and hoisted it up there. Posted by Picasa

Ken cutting up the meat. Posted by Picasa


Mmmm...Tourtiere! or French Canadian meat pie.

My ex-husband was French Canadian and this meat pie was always the traditional holiday faire at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My ex mother -in -law would bake about 14 of these in one go!

You can make it with regular ground beef but it's usually made with half ground deer meat and half ground pork. I just used straight ground deer for this one and it was wonderful! It also only has a pastry top - I'm trying to help our waist lines!

Here's the very basic recipe for what it's worth. I don't measure anything so it tends to come out a little different every time. Sometimes I add other things like a bit of carrot. It depends what's lurking in the fridge!

Boil and mash 3 or 4 potatoes (we're still using our home grown! Woo Hoo! all that digging paid off)

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. I chop and saute an onion and add that to it.

Season the beef with salt , pepper and about 2 tsp of Alspice. I throw in some onion powder and garlic powder too.

Mix the meat mixture and the mashed potatoes in a bowl then put it in a pie shell with a top and put it in the oven.

Now, someone get the smelling salts for my mum please. She's probably passed out over her keyboard after seeing her totally clueless in the kitchen daughter post a recipe! Posted by Picasa

Moonshine WAS here...

...for a very short time!

Here he is arriving in the cow limo.

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Here he is 3 minutes before he went right through an un-electrified spot in the fence and headed for the hills!

What a time we had! Six hours we spent scouring three mountains and the hollows between them trying to find the little devil. Up and down, around and around, slipping and sliding and getting tore up by the long thorny tendrils of 'Wait A Minute Vine'. All over our 34 acres and the neighbor's next door.

Ken would call me on the walkie talkie to say he could see him 'down by the apple tree in the "other 'holler' or up near 'the big rock formation' Thank goodness he's white or we would have had no clue where he was. At one point I was trudging down our dirt road talking to Ken on the radio when a pick-up truck came slowly around the bend and pulled up next to me. A man I'd never set eyes on before leaned over and asked in a slow drawl : " did ya faand yer bool? Ah'd help ya but I got heart problems."

That was very nice of him but how did he know I'd lost my "bool"??

Now, don't ask me how we did it but with Joshua's help we actually managed to round the cow up and corral him again just as darkness fell. The hole in the fence had been blocked so we thought we had him good this time. He ate some hay and had a drink then what do you know, he lifted his head, decided enough was enough and walked right through the electic fence! Two hot wires! We stood in amazement. He'd been zapped by the fence a few times and jumped back. So we never imagined he'd go through it.

By this time it was too dark to try to find him so we had to just let him go and hope for the best. The next morning Ken was up bright and early and went back out to look for him. There was no sign of him anywhere so he continued up and over the ridge on the off chance that Moonshine had made his way back home. And there he was. Back on his own land standing by the barn with his little herd!

Based on the advice of a couple of experienced ox drovers we've decidied that he's going to have to be kept tied in a stall in the barn for a while until he's fully broken. So, all last week we were busy building a good sturdy and draft free stall for him.

He's set to return next week on the 21st. Keep your fingers crossed!Posted by Picasa