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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: venison

I just watched Farmageddon, which explains the disappearance of local farms in America. The reason that I can give it a great endorsement is that it lives in the middle ground.

Meat and More

Meat?

Extremism (in either direction) is not something that I am fond of. Honest, fact-based descriptions of obvious issues are the ones that I can relate to. One showing people that take a look at their opposition calmly is another trait that I admire in a documentary.

I agree with their take on small and organic farming. Natural food eating is discouraged by the rich. Corporations are rich. They influence our government, and then our government imposes regulations that are corporation friendly. These rules are the kind that destroy small operations.

The regulations drive costs up in paperwork, licenses, fees, surcharges, workers, equipment, supplies, taxes and so on. This drives the small farmer out of business. Managing regulations has become a full time job and has become a poison to productivity/efficiency. The corporations win by bullying those who do not have the time, money, resources, personnel or energy to fight back.

Health and safety are top priorities of being human. I understand the concerns regarding both of those in relation to food. But the thing is, there is SO much out there to buy that is over-processed, over-salted, over-sugared, over-fried, pesticide heavy, petroleum rich and full of unnatural chemical mixtures. It is all REALLY BAD for your body.

Sauce with Bonus Ingredients

Sauce?

But somehow, edibles raised/grown on the land are being marketed by the media as dangerous (the corporations pay for what news gets to you via advertising dollars). The cost of organic food is driven high beyond the reach of the average family. The availability is scarce. And so we all eat the junk food.

And then we get sick, and health care is BIG business. That system makes a lot of money. And then they use it to control the population by influencing our financial leaders and politicians. And that negative cycle continues on.

Fresh Eggs!

Fresh Eggs

There is risk involved in EVERYTHING. The truth is that FEAR is taking over our society. It is now normal to be afraid of PEANUT BUTTER.

Venison Jerky-  ready for the oven

Venison Jerky- Ready for the oven

And the thing is, the more that we expose ourselves to organic, fresh, unpasteurized foods, the healthier we will be. Our immune system learns how to work correctly by doing so. Most of the ills that now plague the country like obesity, diabetes, cancer, food allergies, dependence on medicines, etc. are becoming more epidemic as we move away from eating the way we really should – directly from the earth.

Live Sage!

Live Sage

We are human. We are mammals. We will live. We will be sick. We will be injured. We will die. Sitting inside a house, eating fumigated, boiled, bleached, test tube food will not cure all these woes.

Dried Hot Peppers

Dried Hot Peppers

We can go outside, we can roll in the grass, we can breathe in the fresh air, we can suck a Honeysuckle flower or eat those tiny, wild strawberries. It is OK. Is it possible to catch something from doing this? Yes. But, it is so unlikely, that we are more likely to be struck by lightening.

Farm Stand and Trader Joe's - for the Winter.

Farm Stand & Trader Joe’s – for the Winter

Do you want to live your life, as fully as possible?

Dormant Peach

Dormant Peach Tree

I am glad that we have fresh chicken eggs to eat. I am glad that we have venison in the freezer. I am glad that we can flavor our meals with fresh herbs and spices. I am glad that we have a lovely garden – that gets bigger every year. I am glad that we have fruit trees. I am hoping to have goat milk this Spring. And I wish that everyone that wants this could have it all too!

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We dine on a wide variety of foods in our household. As the focus of the main course, tofu makes an appearance on our table often, along with lots of veggies and fruit. Yet, we do enjoy and eat meat.

The current set of livestock on our farmette produces dairy items only. So, where do we get our meat? Mostly we get it from a grocery store, just like most people in the United States do. But, last year, a friend was happy to deer hunt on our land in exchange for 1/2 the venison acquired.

You can use venison just like any other meat. This piece has been cleaned and then soaked in salt and lemon juice.

You can use venison just like any other meat. This piece has been cleaned – then soaked in salt and lemon juice (our version of brine solution).

Wild grown meat tastes much better than that produced by factory farming. If cooked in a short and sweet manner, it is also melt-in-your-mouth tender. Our new experience with venison was like being taken to the Dark Side in Star Wars. Fresh deer meat has the potential of creating a Neanderthal out of a Vegetarian.

Filling up the freezer with clean, natural meat was enough to activate the somewhat dormant hunting instinct in me. I have felt it when fishing – quietly sitting and imagining a potential seafood meal. But pulling an animal up on a string to die out of water and using a gun to kill one are quite different. I thought about it for a while.

One year later, I am on my way out to the woods for my first try at the sport of hunting.

hunterM2w

I look like a terrorist. Yikes! Hopefully the deer won’t see me and be scared out of our county. PS: Don’t try this at home – without a hunter education class. It is required here in North Carolina and hopefully everywhere else.

While attending a class, it became clear to me why you can’t purchase a hunting license without having had the safety class. Hunting was a much more dangerous sport before this requirement. The accident stories are more than enough to keep me honest (following the rules).

The classes are designed to produce a responsible, knowledgeable and involved hunter. There are not only safety, but ethical guidelines to follow too – from not offending the anti-hunting advocates to conserving wildlife for future generations.

FYI: Many conservation efforts are financed by a special hunting gear tax. This, along with hunting limits, has brought back wild turkey in North Carolina, along with many species of wildlife across the country. 

Class also = Free Cool Patch

Class also = Free Patch = Super Cool

Although some are super-focused with their eye on the trophy prize, most hunters enjoy feeding themselves and their family with a successful kill. Both are accepted as long as species are not depleted and meat not wasted (many food banks have hunter/processor donors).

I cannot deny that it would be exciting to get a giant set of antlers as an added bonus. But, for me, it is a good way to live off the land without eating the livestock (I often think of them as pets).

If I actually bag a deer, I’ll be bringing home the bacon. And you’ll be the first to know when I am successful (well, maybe second)!

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If you happen to be a vegetarian and are so as to save animals from death by grocery stores and hunters, you may want to stop here. Some people stay away from meat for health reasons. I was a vegetarian for a while as a young adult for both. But, the human animal is omnivorous. At this point in my life, I choose to go with what nature intended for us rather than fight this tendency towards meat eating.

Having said all this, the subject of this blog is deer hunting. A few years back when we still lived in DE, I was at a car wash watching the vehicles move along the conveyor along with 3 men in the waiting room. Two were hunters all dressed in camouflage and one was uncomfortable with the idea of hunting down and killing a deer. He admitted that he did eat beef – obviously from cows. There was some discussion about how ranches raise and butcher them. One of the hunters said “At least they have a chance” (referring to the deer he hunts). This changed my perspective. If you are going to eat meat, it makes sense to have an animal live its life free and not even know what hit them when they are taken for their meat.

So far, my husband and I do not hunt (although we do love fishing and crabbing) and use our livestock for dairy products. But, we have a stretch of woods on our property and offered a friend hunting privileges. Our very experienced, hunter friend is not one that would shoot anything that moved. He spent a day in a tree stand out back watching does and young ones wander by before taking a buck not long before sun down. It was gutted of all organs in the woods, leaving a feast for raccoons, possums, etc.

Jim T. and his buck

I did not choose this pic to be gruesome, but to show what excellent aim Jim has. His estimate is 6 seconds to death when a deer is hit in the heart and lung area. There is no long-term suffering or waiting in line to die. And they get to live free instead of being crowded into pens with nothing to do but eat and sleep.

Our pony helped drag the carcass out of the woods. This only lasted about half way since the rope came loose and the pony bolted ahead on the trail to the yummy grass in the back yard. Jim dragged it the rest of the way and left it hanging to cool.

It didn’t seem like a deer to me anymore. There was no movement at all and its spirit was gone. It was now similar to a fish getting ready for the frying pan. I was unexpectedly calm and curious.

Dead Buck & Live Goats

Our pygmy goats were curious too. Our goats are not a meat breed. There are quite a few people that raise goats to eat. The most popular for meat is a Boer goat. They are really large and yield more than a deer. I don’t think that we will raise them to kill, at least anytime soon, since our livestock animals quickly become pets. 

8 point antlers

Jim removed the horns with two 45 degree saw cuts. My son Dorian and I watched on in amazement and listened to the explanations and stories of the hunting/butchering process. The tools were a knife, a saw, plastic bags and a tarp. We got to see the brain and all the choice cuts of meat. Dorian got the tail to salt and dry. Jim generously brought the antlers back for our him, along with packs of meat for our family. 

Tail - from the white tailed male deer

You honestly can’t beat deer venison in flavor and freshness. I was quickly altered to a new level of carnivorous satisfaction. My husband and I just looked at eat other wide-eyed when we tasted grilled back strap meat, and even wider with the tenderloin skewers. Our response to having Jim hunt out back – ANYTIME (It is still hunting season)!

Frozen venison roast

The leftovers of the deer were dragged back to the woods. This time it was a feast for coyotes, foxes and vultures… Nothing gets wasted. Apparently even mice get nutrition from the remains of the hunt, particularly calcium from the bones.

Hopefully, Jim will get more deer in his hunts. A big doe would be good, since the ratio of males to females is far outweighed by the girls.

To our vegetarian friends – we greatly respect your choices. We hope that you are able to accept ours.

Also, many thanx to Jim T. for everything!

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