Sunday, January 9, 2011

Filling the freezer

When I was growing up, we ate mostly beef. My grandparents had a large farm with cattle and when a cow was taken to the butcher, the fresh packaged meat (steak, hamburger meat and roast) was distributed among the family. I rarely remember mom buying meat at the store except for chicken occasionally and we'd eat fish when the guys had a good day fishing. When I met Wes I was introduced to a whole new ballgame when it comes to meat eating. They always had a freezer full but it consisted mostly of fish, rabbit (raised, not wild) and deer meat in just about every form. At the time we met, I was a chicken breast girl so I didn't fully appreciate what the full freezer meant. In fact it has taken me many years and now realizing the cost it takes to feed a family of 5, I am thankful for a freezer full. I'd still consider myself a chicken breast girl, even though rabbit is my very favorite (don't say "ewww" until you try it - best white meat around), but now that I grocery shop I am thankful we have a variety of options in our freezer. Plus, it's all lean meat and the kids approve. Also, I can cut up dried deer sausage and take it to a party and it will get eaten faster than any chip/dip I would have taken.
One thing Wes and his family have always done is process their own deer meat. Yep, the deer steaks, dried sausage, fresh sausage, deer jerky and this year-salami, are made in our garage and then put right in the freezer. When we got married I thought this was what everyone does, but I have learned it is rare for someone to process their own. When sausage making day comes around I am pretty much hands off. The large masses of raw meat in huge tubs isn't something I want to sink my hands into. It is more of a "guy day" and I provide snacks if I need to. Otherwise I stay out of the way.
This year Wes had 70lbs of deer meat to do something with. Yesterday, Austin & Caleb were able to help Wes make dried sausage. It was a great day for them to be outside in the garage. Grandpa Otto & Popo came over to get in on the action as well. It true Avery fashion, Avery mostly stayed inside with me, but she did make it out for a lunch break. It was a great day and Wes was exhausted when the day was done, but I know he enjoys being able to accomplish this on his own. Our next dilema - we need a bigger freezer!
Side note: I am beyond frustrated about posting w/ pictures because my wording never coincides with the pictures. Now as you see above, the wording has a mind of it's own and part is way up in the post. When I edit is shows it all together. If there is a secret to writing text inbetween the pictures, someone with a blog, email me or comment on here. Right now when I upload my pictures, they are all jumbled together... I can't really space them out. If I try, the text still won't adjust how I need them to. GRRRR

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