The Heifer Project

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We got the heifer butchered and things have been jumping around here lately.  It’s been a re-learning experience as we haven’t butchered a cow in 20 years!  We’ve decontructed lots and lots of other livestock and game, though, which is definitely a pre-requisite to butchering a bovine.

You can see in the picture above that the first thing we figured out was that the stinger, the raising/lowering contraption that fits on the back of the tractor wasn’t long enough.  Note to selves, build an extension.  The weather has been perfect and we’ve been super busy trying to get all this meat processed.  With just the two of us it’s an intense job.  We’ll can most of the meat along with making broth to can, curing and drying some of the hindquarter cuts, and feasting on the fresh and perfectly aged rib roasts and steaks over the next 3 to 4 weeks.  Anyone who things gourmet food can only be had in an expensive restaurant in some city needs to visit a working homestead.

Anyway, not much time for blogging right now but I promise, I promise, I promise good posts just as soon as we get finished.  I must grudgingly admit that Facebook, which I hate, is kind of helpful in this particular situation.  We’re posting short daily updates on our Big Turtle Creek page that we hope will keep your interest piqued until I can post more details here.  Y’all stay tuned!

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8 thoughts on “The Heifer Project

  1. Looks yummy! Butchering a beef is a LOT of work – quick question – how do you age yours? We’ve butchered old cows in the past, we had no way to hang/age them – and they were TOUGH!
    It was just too warm out to hang it in the barn, and I don’t know of anyone with a walk-in cooler. I guess a young heifer wouldn’t be quite as tough, but doesn’t it still need to hang a little bit? Just curious.

    1. The weather is perfect thankfully and we have a cabin attached to the main cabin by a dogtrot. The little cabin is cold, but doesn’t freeze to we have a perfect situation this year. Also, if it gets warm we’ll put the rib roasts and steaks in the chest freezer turned refrigerator that we use. This heifer was just a bit over 2 and was a freemartin which is supposed to make good meat. Much of it is really nicely marbled.

  2. Hi Judy,
    Just listened to the podcast you did with Wardeh, loved it. You mention your cob oven. Can you point me to some resources that were helpful to you? Thanks! BTW, your ‘contact’ link is not working.

    1. Heather, my apologies for just now getting around to your comment. I relied almost totally on the book Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer. I did a little research online then threw in some wild adaptations of our own. For example in place of a sand mold (we didn’t have any sand or any money) we built up multiple layers of used feed sacks taped together and burned them out once the cobb was dried. Later we used a rasp to do some fine tuning on the size and shape of the door opening. Never be afraid to experiment. 🙂

  3. Reminds me of my growing up years on our farm, Judy! Can’t wait for all the details. With only two of you working to put away all that meat, I know you’re exhausted. The reward will last a long time, though.

    When you’re busy doing the stuff, the stuff is the priority. 🙂


    1. Well, I hate the fact that I put up all the jars of canned meat without counting them. I will try to comment, though, on the cuts we preserved as we use them. Lord willing, next winter, we may do it again. 🙂

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