An acquaintance of one of the men on the land here informed us that he had been catching wild hogs, and quite a few of them. This being brought to Michael's attention, he thought it would be of great benefit to the community to take advantage of this gift of meat from God. And so, he put together a plan, which involved building a pen to hold them. We built the pen, bought the wild hogs for a very nominal fee, and began to raise them. The whole community has been involved and has benefited from this provision from the Lord. We have since been able to gather several more pigs the gentleman has captured.
However, with this has brought the processing of the pigs from the very beginning to end, which for Sue and I has involved a new venture for us in the realm of farming: slaughtering and butchering. For me personally, this has been interesting, given what I said in a previous David's Digest; however, as we continue to progress into more proper, biblical perspectives, the Lord has shown us that He has granted us dominion over these animals and has provided them as food.
And so, it had come time to do what needed to be done. Here are some pictures (for those that aren't used to seeing this process, it may be a little discomforting).
Here are several after being shot in the head with a .22 caliber rifle (meaning they were basically instantly dead) and their throats being cut to bleed them out:
And then the butchering began:
In reality, it wasn't too bad. And for me, once you get the skin off, it really just starts to look like meat from the store. Also, now after participating in this process several times, it is not as shocking as it was at first.
Typically with our pigs in the past, we would simply can the meat in all of its various forms (bacon, sausage, chops, etc.) after getting it back from the meat processing place. This time though, in hoping to continue our education in the old paths, which includes reducing our dependency on the world for its canning supplies, I wanted to take one section of the meat obtained from one of the pigs, and dry cure it by hand. And so, Michael gave us a recipe, which started by rubbing the meat all over with a mixture of salt, sugar and salt petre, followed by covering it with a cloth and storing it in the root cellar for a week, after which time the container is cleaned and the rub-down step is repeated. This sits in the root cellar for 1 week per inch of meat thickness. After that, it is washed and soaked for an hour in cold water, is drip dried, and then it sits in the container for 2 weeks to "equalize" the meat, which helps permeate the curing mixture throughout it. And then technically that's it; it's ready to be cooked to eat, and should stay preserved in the root cellar for some time. Here is a picture of the ham with the dry cure mixture on it:
Before final storage, Sue "painted" on a flavoring mixture of brown sugar, honey, pepper and salt petre, and we hung it in the root cellar for future use:
We pray the Lord continue to teach us His ways and grant us His continued provisions, in accordance with His will. And we are most grateful to Him for both.