I am tied in with a community where we are all doing our best to get ready for what is coming down the pike. We have skillsets that we bring to the table as individuals but it is when we gather together and share our combined knowledge, experience and capabilities that we truly begin to shine.
We have been trying for the past few months to involve each other in our mundane and not so mundane tasks. We are putting aside ego and reaching out for help in chores and unfamiliar tasks. This is not easy to do for most people – let alone for people who are trying to become more “self-sufficient”. As an aside – I have taken to calling it God-sufficient because we really do rely on what He provides – whether we realize it or not.
Members of this community do not have it all figured out – not by a long shot. We have an attitude of “Just Do It” and we jump into things without first analyzing them to death and figuring out all the angles. One example is sheep.
As you may have read in Sheep Shearing Sisters
one family had sheep but really didn’t know a whole lot about them. They were figuring it out as they went. By involving community, we all got to learn something. This family decided it was time to kill, clean and butcher the critters and they didn’t know how to do it. Now, they are extremely intelligent folk (intellectuals, actually) but they are new to the ways of preparing meat. This did not stop them. They moved to the country and started working hard on a self-sufficient (some day) homestead and had to give up a lot to do so. They are not afraid. WE should not be afraid of stepping out just because we “don’t know how”.
My wife and I have butchered a lot of deer over the years and we were asked to help. A new member of our crew has actually butchered sheep in the past and stepped up to lead this effort. This gave him a way (as a “newbie”) to make a very real contribution to the community. It is important to let everyone contribute. It is important to find or create opportunities for people to participate. So we set a date (yesterday), sounded the assembly horn and met up at the farm to make meat. We invited folks who were not yet part of our little group because community in many ways is about including not excluding folks. Men, women, children and babies all showed up. It was good to observe people fall into community patterns of watching out for each other’s children, breaking into sub-groups to accomplish certain tasks and so on. The day was filled with rhythms of earlier times.
Catching the sheep was our first challenge. These were not very tame and I really don’t know how the women got them into the shearing shed before. We finally corralled them, the owner shot them with a .22 in the X formed by imaginary lines between ears and opposite eyes, and we dragged them up into a pickup for transport to the hanging tree.
When I shoot deer, I field dress (gut) them in the field and then when I get home, I hang them by the back legs. We hung the sheep by their necks, skinned them and then gutted them into a large bucket made out of an old 55 gallon plastic barrel. The woman who owned the sheep kept the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs (lung soup!). I’d have to be real hungry… She also saved the fat to render into lard or tallow or something.
We saved the hides for tanning later and then proceeded to cut up the critters. We butchered the first one “the professional way” in that we used a saw and made cutlets, chops, leg o’ lamb and so on. We did the second one the way my wife and I do deer basically removing major muscles using only knives.
While one group was butchering outside, another group was inside dealing with the individual cuts – wrapping some for freezing, canning some, grinding some. All the while children were involved to one extent or another although they did poop out rather early and retire to the television to watch some children’s videos. The older boys got a fire going to smoke some the meat.
There was a big pot of chili going and others brought soup, rice, desert and so on so we did take breaks to eat and relax a bit before getting right back to it. All in all it was a long tough day but it was a lot of FUN and it felt real. It felt so much more real than “Black Friday” is going to feel to the masses. That’s my assessment anyway.
Hey, I’ll see ya out there.These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat. – Deuteronomy 14:4 -6
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe
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Prepared Americans for a Strong America