Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Our Thanksgiving Feast was small but festive.
Richard & Arlene were our guests. It seems so formal to call them guests because they are so much more than that, they are Family, Friends, and true comrades. It was 15 years ago that I drove with Betsy & Reuben to the Mercer Island Park & Ride and waiting for us were Richard & Arlene. They have been there for us every since. Bringing us into their home, their friends becoming our friends, Arlene sharing her family with us to the point that Franny was a "Mom" to me when I needed advice about "the kids" and Grandma to Betsy & Reuben.
Traveling to Arlene & Richard, for they were our true destination, was a wonderful turning point in our lives and I will always be grateful to them both.

Keith kept us entertain while we got the meal ready.Richard made the mash potatoes & gravy - his specialties!
Next year we hope I will be standing behind our own home-grown turkey!

We do love stuffing,and Keith loves carving the "Beast"!

The meal is complete with Franny's recipes of Cranberry Sauces, carried on by Arlene.
With the sauces, Franny is always at our table.

You know the meal is over when Richard retires to the couch, this year he had company.
Hank not to be upstaged by the little pooches sought out Arlene and had a lovely conversation with her.
Belated Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fletchers Day of Reckoning ( or Ours?)

Last Tuesday was our big day - the day we killed Fletcher.
Grant and Mary-Ann told us they would be here by 10am.
Keith & I were both a little anxious, not in a "Oh poor Fletchers" but more in a "what will the day be like?" state.
To pass the time I watched the bridge, and went to say good-bye to Fletcher, and Keith sang impromptu songs to the Steer.

Here they come!

Grant & Mary-Ann with the .22 rifle

Grant's aim was true, Fletcher fell immediately and was dead before he hit the ground.
They reckon he weighed about 900 lbs. He was a good size for his age.
I'm not posting the photos of the slaughter, but it all went well.
I was only taken aback for the first 3 minutes, after that I was fine.
The skinning and seeing the anatomy of the cow was fascinating and I had no problems being covered in blood and bits of flesh or holding onto innards while the stomach came rolling our when Grant slit the underbelly. Fletchers stomach was huge - about 3 feet in diameter.
I'm making a little photo book of the process, so when you visit the farm you will be more than welcome to look at them.

We are tanning his hide. This is the final rinse, the hide is now in the basement drying out a bit,
the next step is salting the hide.

Mary-Ann told me how to prepare the liver before freezing it. His liver is huge! I washed it 4x in cold water then 3x in salted cold water- to get all the excess blood out of it.

I also prepared the tail for Ox-tail soup and the tongue. Many of the other organs went to Mary-Ann's daughter. Not too much was wasted, the stomach and the intestines are out in the far pasture waiting for coyotes and the such.

This is our first Fletchers meal - Liver & Onions.

It was delicious! Keith & I both had images of Fletchers frolicking in the Paddock as we chewed, but it was a good thing, it just made us appreciate the meal that much more, knowing that the cow was well cared for when he was alive.

Today we are cutting & packaging half the beef, tomorrow the other half.
I think we will be having steak tonight.
We really appreciate Grant & Mary-Ann for taking us under their wing and teaching us the Ways of The Farm!!!