e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Little lamb, little lamb...

Not so little, actually.  We had another front blow in this afternoon, dropping temps to just above freezing by late afternoon, with a wind chill I don't want to contemplate.   Brian, who delivered the lamb, had picked up his son from school on the way--and the boy shows lambs--so nobody mentioned what was going to happen until Brian drove away, leaving us standing around the lamb and petting it.  So, yeah, the kid will learn, but he doesn't have to learn *now*.   When we figured they'd driven far enough, and we were freezing in that wind,  we moved to the downwind side of the barn, by the big door the tractor can drive through.  The tractor was just inside, its bucket (which we'd use for a hoist) rather suggestively dripping chains...

The lamb, being a show lamb and accustomed to handling and being led, was perfectly calm as we led it around; J- positioned it while I readied the pistol, and then shot it, and then R- cut the throat so it would bleed out, and J- and R- secured the hind legs to the bucket with chains and J- lifted it up.   When it had bled out, we started skinning it.  This being a former show lamb, it had been sheared perhaps a month ago, when it was last shown.  So it had some fleece, but not anything troublesome.  Skinning took the most time; all three of us worked on it.  It was very handy to have the bucket as a hoist, because as the skin began to hang down, J- could lift it higher and we didn't have to bend as much.   I did not want to try tanning it myself (no time, basically--I think it would be fascinating but I have too few hours already) and had not located a custom tanner, so the skin went into the large container of things we weren't keeping.  Then J- removed the lower part of the front legs, and the head, with a power saw. 

Then came the gutting, where my job was mostly holding body parts steady, or standing out of the way while J- and R- worked at it (there not being room for three bodies and six hands with multiple sharp objects....)  and J- cut the sternum from the ribs with a power saw.  Then J- backed the tractor into the barn and shut the big door, and we left it to hang overnight.   I took the knives used into the house and cleaned them, and put them back out in the barn for the next step, the cutting into chops and roasts and stuff.   Then we came home to feed horses and have supper. 

I'm not sure how long it took, because I had left my watch at home...I know it was after four when we killed the lamb, and probably about 5:30 pm when we finished gutting it and moved the tractor back into the barn, but we what with hand-washing and knife-washing, etc. we weren't on the road home until 5:50 pm (well, we were a solid mile away by then, but that's not much.)  

Tags: country life, slaughter
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