Monday, November 17, 2008

Up to Our Ears in Deers....

Well - it's Deer Season again here in Nebraska! It's always a fun and exciting time of year around here.
I USED to like to hunt but haven't been in a blind for several years.

Now I "hunt" a different way. I let someone else sit out in the cold and then take any meat they don't want! It works out well all the way around - they get to hunt, they get to keep any "rack" from deer they shoot, and we get to have Deer Steak all year!

The deer are so plentiful, and so many licenses are being bought, that the Nebraska Game and Parks has started a new program this year. It allows people to sign up for the meat. Hunters see the list and get in contact with people who want the deer.
It saves a lot of deer meat from being wasted.

For once - a government program that doesn't cost anything, and actually WORKS!

On Friday, I took some scrap metal over to a neighbor's house to make a better "hook" to hold the deer up while skinning it. It is, basically, a piece of square tube, with a hook welded on each end, and a loop welded on the top, in the middle.

To use it, you hook the hind legs of the deer (right above the "elbow") into the hooks, then raise the whole thing up so his head is off the ground. I have an old 12" steel bridge railing beam that is hung about 10' off the ground to hang them from.

My neighbor told me that his welding "ought to be worth some deer". I brought my hands together and formed a circle with my fingers about 1" high and 2" long, and held it up for him to see. He gave me a dirty look , laughed, and went on into the house.

Sunday - 16 November 2008 - we got a call at around 11:15 in the morning. Someone had deer meat they didn't want - and they would even deliver! They got here at 11:45 and had THREE deer in their pickup. I don't know the actual weight, but there were two large bucks (with good sized racks), and a doe.

We had "Deers coming out our Ears"!

We started the process a few minutes before noon. There was PLENTY of "help" around while skinning. Once the chickens saw what was going on, they HAD to be part of the process. Every once-in-awhile, I'd cut off a good chunk of fat and toss it to them. It was real comical to see them fight over it.

I'm not sure how much meat we have, but the freezer has several new packages of nice tasty meat in it! Deb cut most of it up into steaks and stew meat. I also leave the necks intact - cut into two pieces - for the crock pot.

This year, we did it a little bit different. Years ago, when my mom had a bakery/restaurant, she had a nifty little "meat tenderizer". It is a machine you drop the meat through and it uses little roller knives to cut it.

Think "cube steak".....

Mom gave it to us way back when we first got married. This is the first time we have really used it much.

We had the stove covered with the canner, there were dead deer bodies on the counters, jars on the wood stove, freezer bags and the Seal-a-meal ready to use. All we need do was de-bone and package.

I took one of the rib cages out for Yani to clean up. Naturally the goats came running to see what I had. They were disappointed when Yani was the only one who got fed. She growled at the chickens - and the cats decided "discretion was the better part of valor", and headed back inside the barn.

They would get their share later...

I went out to close things up for the night a couple hours later and Yani was there, but her rib cage was not. I had seen her carrying it earlier, so there is no telling where it ended up...

The chickens were still out "guarding" the rib cage I put near their coop. About 8 die hard feather dusters didn't want to go inside and leave the goldmine. I convinced them they needed beauty sleep.

I had to make a quick trip into town, so I grabbed a small piece of meat for our neighbor - one about 1" x 2" - and put it in a bag so I could drop it off on the way.

I had it in my hand when he opened the door. He gave me another dirty look when he saw it, and turned to give it to his wife. We sat down at their kitchen table, and he got out his magnifying glass to take a better look at his steak. That's when I reached under my coat, and brought out the other package of steak!

He called me "ornery". I can't, for the life fo me, figure out why....

At any rate, we got it all done and cleaned up by midnight. It was a long afternoon - and our hands and backs are hurting - but it's worth it to have the meat.

We still have a bit of meat to grind into hamburger and some stew meat to can, but this round is over.

Hopefully, we'll get a couple more before deer season is done.....

***UPDATE***

This morning, while we were grinding some meat into hamburger, we got ANOTHER deer! This one was a LARGE buck. Now we have several MORE pounds of good meat in the freezer and canned.

God is GREAT!

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