And now for something

skinning logs

Leah snuck up behind me and took this picture yesterday. Why am I still wearing ear muffs? Is the sound of the draw knife too much?

I did all that you see laying there just before this pic was taken. What you see is the parts to the frame that will be a small shed off the North side of the Seedhouse. Someplace to park the MULE and the lawnmower out of the weather. I’m continuing on with the round pole stuff I learned more about at the class back in January. What, with all the Ash trees dead or dying, they are so much dried lumber just standing out there fixing to snap in the wind and rot into the ground. The Locust is from where the road is going across the street.  Keeping on.

This morning I took Piedro to the butcher. He had been getting fairly aggressive with Ann since the birth and has been pretty pushy with Viann. Since there were 3 of them out there  and he was only around to keep her company, he got taken down the Green Mile. I found watching him push her around distressing. She obviously wasn’t into it. Some folks said something during Leah’s class over the weekend. Piedro went to McDonald Meats.

Well. Soap box. Meat is Murder. No 2 ways about it. Someone has to die so that I can eat their flesh in order to sustain mine. Life is death and destruction. We destroy in order to live. Taking him to the butcher feels like a total betrayal. Leading him into the holding cell that reeks of death, my heart dies. Hearing him scream in confusion as I leave him there. I’m dead inside. I’m shaking. Only a little easier this time. I wasn’t sobbing so hard that I couldn’t drive away. Not like with Skunk. Dead is dead. It’s a stupid plan, but I put myself into their perspective. Anthropomorphizing them terribly. What could I possibly know about a goat’s inner world? Those screams leave little doubt though. It’s so damn easy to just order a burger at McDonald’s Restaurant, (which I do not do, EVER) So easy not to think that someone put a bolt gun against his skull and killed him. I am sickened by my own consumption. Just driving away from what is about to happen makes it worse for me I think. When I’ve taken animal’s life in the past, chickens and goats mostly, I’m there, the one doing it. My fault. I say goodby and thank you before I take their life. In that taking of the life, all the held emotion can release.  When I take the life, I participate meaningfully. I can thoughtful burn off the adrenaline as I skin the animal. Or just what the hell ever needs doing because there is always something. Just tooling off from the back of a slaughter house allows for no gradual dissipation of that pent up tension. The tension of having a goat staring out the windows of a car he can’t possible understand. A 15 minute drive, so it’s not a sudden instant change of scenery. Gives me a chance to regret taking him there. Driving away, I’m always nearly overcome by guilt and consider going in and taking them back and letting them live out their days.

Goat meat tastes good though. I won’t cry after he’s in the freezer.

Now if only Ann would stop calling for him.  He was going at her pretty good. Almost brutal. Goats are goats and herd is herd. Better the devil you know than an absence where it once was.

She will adapt. Or accept. Or forget. Viann will get older. We’ll get more goats. More of them will Walk the Green Mile, never to be heard from again.


3 thoughts on “And now for something

  1. Greetings:

    I’m sorry you are losing your ash trees. We bought our farm on the tail end of the elm blight. It was a heart break to me watching those elms die. It still bothers me when I see an elm sappling (like the one you are working on in the photo) losing its bark. I sense the ash problem bothers you too. But the big picture tells me it is OK.

    Do yourself a favor and make a draw blade bench/vice. The way you are working with a draw blade makes the work much harder. Also turn that sappling around if you just want to debark it..

    Most of the folks I know keep their bucks separate from the does because of the bullying problem, and to control breeding time(no one likes kidding in January). I also separated bucks and does till we cut back to having just a few does. Now I “rent a buck” in November.

    If your going to eat your own animals or game, my feeling is that you should do your own butchering, it is less tramatic for the animal, and simple. But doing your own butchering my be too tramatic for you. So it is a personal issue.

    No, meat is not murder. Murder is one person killing another person. Eating meat does require killing, but not murder. No you do not have to eat meat to live a healthy life. Eating meat is a choice, not a necessity. Eating meat does make our ecological foot print bigger, but the ecological footprint idea assumes you are separate from the environment, not part of the web of life on your farm. Personally, I come down on your side of this artificial divide. I eat and enjoy meat, not a lot and much of it is simply part of our farm: venison, squirrels, ground hogs, rabbits, goats, chickens, and ducks. I do enjoy the occasional hamburger or meatloaf, but from grass fed beef grown by a friend.

    Just my two cents worth. No offense meant, I hope none is taken.


    1. I copy loud and clear
      a draw blade vice would be paradise
      i’ve been looking into them
      actually used a really basic one a few months ago
      one more thing on the list
      the picture is a it out of context
      there is a system there
      chaotic to be sure
      you can’t really tell from but there isn’t a piece of flat ground anywhere on the property we live on that doesn’t have a building on it
      even the driveway
      so everything is a little wonky
      pretty much par for me
      this being my 3rd solo frame, I’m learning. this one is better than either of the earlier ones

      life is a funny thing
      i see no cause for offense here
      none at all

      ps MEAT IS MURDER is a reference to an album by the band The Smiths from the 80’s.

      1. OK. If you don’t have time to make a simple draw blade vice(takes about a day), use your weight, sawhorse, and a piece of rope to advantage. Balance the pole on your sawhorse, more or less, tie the end your not working on to a tree(3 loops around the tree down low and up for 3 loops around the pole and tie off), then straddle and sit on the working end of the log while you use the drawblade. It’s a kind of a see saw affair, and doesn’t require level ground.

        But to debark, you still need to draw with the run of the grain.(draw toward the top). Think about how a tree grows and you’ll realize that drawing toward the bottom of the tree forces the blade to dig in. OK, if your trying to get a flat face, but makes debarking harder(your forarms will get sore from trying to control the pitch of the blade).

        Glad you took no offense to my comments, some people find comments on their work irritating.

        PS I don’t know that band, but I mostly guit listening to new music when the 80s were new and they played all that dreadful disco music.

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