Bittersweet-bacon is curing as we type

We took the biggest hog first.  The others need to gain more weight before going.

We took the biggest hog first. The others need to gain more weight before going.

It is bittersweet.  It is sad to remove an animal from our farm.  It is sad to know his fate.  But let’s get to the nitty gritty.  We eat meat.  We’d rather eat meat that we know than meat from the store.  This pork is hormone free, antibiotic free, and steroid free.  The hog got to wallow in the mud, dig in the dirt, and enjoy sunshine.  He got to frolic in the snow.  He had some variety in his diet. He didn’t live in a concrete jungle with a million other pigs.  He didn’t get pumped full of unnecessary medications or hormones.

Half of the pig wrangling team:  Great Uncle Lewis and Grandmama

Half of the pig wrangling team: Great Uncle Lewis and Grandmama

We lured our pig onto my Uncle’s trailer with his last meal.  Mostly grapes, strawberries, and milk.  My original plan was to route the pig around the back of the hut, down a fabricated chute, into the trailer.

See the perfect walkway we created?

See the perfect walkway we created?

 

Every time he got to a certain point he would turn around, knocking into poor hubby, to get back to where he felt safe.  See the board we are holding?  That board did not hold him back.  Hubby has bruises to prove it.  🙂

This is the corner at which he did not want to round.

This is the corner at which he did not want to round.

I finally realized the hot wire (even though off) made that corner area off limits to the hog.  He was not going down that way no matter what goodies I had in the bucket.  Once we figured that out we removed a panel in a different spot and the hog followed me into the loading area.

I put a few grapes on the ramp and put the bucket of food in the trailer and the hog just walked himself inside.  It was that easy.

Goodbye, pig.

Goodbye, pig.

Once loaded, we drove to a local processor and put our hog into a pen.  We labeled the pen with our name so the butcher knows which hog is ours.  Then we walked away.  It was exciting.  This means we are really farmers, right?  But I’m not going to lie.  It was also a little sad.  I have an emotional and financial attachment with these animals.  We’ve fed this guy two or three times a day for five months.  He enjoyed nibbling at my pants and even put a hole in my muck boots so I could fully enjoy the mud just as much as he did.  Wasn’t that sweet of him?

We pick up our meat in 10 days.  They cure and smoke the hams and bacon.  We will have roasts, pork steaks, pork chops, and sausage.  The meat will be wrapped into individual packets to be sold at the farmer’s market.  I don’t have final pricing yet but will once I have the final cost of the processing.  We aim to price it fair, based on the amount invested in the purchase of the hog, feed, and time.  Remember those frigid mornings where we had to break ice?  All those trips to get veggies/fruits from the grocery store? I think we should get paid a few cents for that work!  🙂