the numbers are in!

the year is rapidly coming to an end and the numbers are in! what numbers, you ask. the numbers of meat packages in our freezer, of course.

we are feeling especially blessed after the 2013 hunting season. it was a disappointing and frustrating hunting season for me because i didn’t get a buck. while that is a reality of hunting, it was particularly frustrating because i missed a buck and had other opportunities that could have resulted in a harvested deer if i had a better shot and in the moment reflexes. the conclusion? more time at the shooting range for me in the next year. and i think i need to get a new gun because i discovered that i am left eye dominant. anyway…

randy had a very successful hunting season, harvesting a buck and a cow elk. he was one of 5 people in the area to draw a special cow elk tag. the second to last day of the season we came across a small herd of cow elk, thanks to darla telling us where she had seen them the day before. it was my first time seeing an elk on foot (they are rather elusive animals), and my first time being with randy when he harvested an animal. it was a long but wonderful day as we tracked the elk and packed it out of the woods.

a few days post pack out (assuming it’s cold enough to let the carcass hang) comes butchering, of which i am not a big fan. i’ve thought of (ok, and mentioned) the possibility of taking an animal we harvest to an actual butcher shop. but you’re not guaranteed that they will give you the same actual meat back, they don’t make as specific cuts as we do, they certainly don’t use as much of the animal as we do, it costs, and you can no longer vouch for the entire process for the meat you worked so hard to get in the first place. though i don’t love butchering, i do love when it’s finished. and i love pulling a vacuum sealed package of meat out the freezer, knowing that we were a part of the entire process to get it there. we saved all the tallow from randy’s deer and elk and we plan to make candles, or perhaps soap. we saved the shoulder bones from the elk (a super cool, unique bone) for another craft project, but i don’t want to say what just yet in case my original idea actual works. i don’t claim to be crafty, so if i can actually create the unsaid idea out of an elk shoulder, i’ll retire from all craft attempts.

enough about chopping up an animal. if you don’t eat meat you may not find value in the following pictures. honestly, i consider vegetarianism every time we butcher.

one of the hind quarters. my favorite part of butchering: the non-cutting part. in other words, doing nothing while randy gets meat off the bones for me to cut :)

one of the hind quarters. my favorite part of butchering: the non-cutting part. in other words, doing nothing while randy gets meat off the bones for me to cut 🙂

now that will be some mighty fine elk steaks.

now that will be some mighty fine elk steaks.

me being me while butchering.

me being me while butchering.

my view for 8+ hours...

my view for 8+ hours…

R & C butchering

R & C butchering

then we put it in vacuum seal bags and seal it up for later consumption.

then we put it in vacuum seal bags and seal it up for later consumption.

so satisfying to have a box of vacuum sealed, healthy, local, organic meat.

so satisfying to have a box of vacuum sealed, healthy, local, organic meat.

so about those numbers. did i mention that we feel blessed?!

34 packages of elk steak

15 packages of ground elk meat

5 packages of elk stew meat

3 elk roast

1 package of elk fajita meat

1 extra large elk roast (Easter!)

8 packages of elk sausage (made by R)

1 package of elk jerky

11 packages of venison steak

17 packages of ground venison

4  packages of venison stew meat

2 venison roasts

2 venison flank steaks

2 packages of venison fajita meat

1 package of venison jerky

10 homemade elk summer sausages

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