The Girlfriend and I headed out to a farm yesterday to get rid of some tension. The farm belonged to a friend of a friend, to put it rather simply. They raise rabbits, chickens, a cow or two, just a small little operation. We've had one of their rabbits for dinner before, so I kinda knew the folks, but hadn't really sat down and talked with them at all. The owners had part of a Broadleaf Maple tree come down in the last windstorm, and due to medical reasons they could cut it up with the chainsaw. They also had a few rabbits to cull.
So the girlfriend, myself, and our pal who actually knows these folks headed out to the farm yesterday. After checking the place out and seeing what needed to be done with the tree, we got to business. We also found out that the owners had bought a sheep to slaughter in addition to the rabbits, since there were going to be extra hands around to help.
So they started with the rabbits. I stuck around to watch, because I'll be doing this at some point in the future. While the girlfriend and our pal were gutting and skinning the rabbits, the owners (I'll call them J and K) got out their chainsaw and I got to work. I'll say this, that Maple was frigging HUGE! And to top it all off, there is more that needs to come down from that tree before it falls over. Can you say "Widowmaker"? I can. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the tools I would need to bring it down. Living in the city doesn't require much in the way of tree-felling equipment, ya know? So I started cutting the wood that was already down. After a while, we took a break, had some water, and then got to the sheep. They hadn't quite figured out how they were going to kill it, (They used a pellet rifle on the rabbits. Works like a charm) but some bright (not so) young man had his .45 pistol on him as any good law abiding citizen should. By the way, my .45 is now named "The Shepherd", because I'm sick and twisted like that. Heh. I also learned a few things from all of this.
1) Unlike the pigs I used to raise, who would just stiffen up and fall over when you killed them, sheep spasm. Hard. And they also kick. Stand well clear.
2) Shooting a sheep in the head and causing instant death is the preferred way to do it. Quick, painless, and humane. However, a .45 APC slug tends to liquefy anything inside the skull, which then leaks out of just about any orifice on the head. When the sheep spasms (see above), it tends to fling large amounts of blood everywhere. If you happen to be in the way of that blood, you come away looking like you have been circumcised with a chainsaw. My pants are ruined.
3) Rabbits just kick a lot when they're killed. No biggie. Hold 'em up by the scruff to avoid ruining any meat.
Once the sheep had stopped spasming, we hung it up so that they could start skinning it. After it was hoisted and hung, I went back to the chainsaw and started cutting again. Let me reiterate that this tree was HUGE! And this was just one section of it! It was easily 50 feet long, laying on the ground, and branched out from two or three points. I probably spent a couple of hours cutting this thing into large pieces. Once I got the main parts cut into 6-10 foot lengths, I noticed that the chain was starting to come loose from the saw blade. So I set it down and went to go help with the skinning. Sad to say, they didn't quite need my help. With four people there, one more set of hands would have gotten in the way. So I stood back, drank about a gallon of water (because I was sweating like mad), and watched the girlfriend, our pal, J, and K cut the sheep up. It was about 60 pounds of meat dressed out. Not bad. The total count for the day was one sheep, four rabbits, and one Raging Dave who's lower back was saying really nasty things about him.
By the way, if there are any woodworkers in the Seattle area who would like some maple wood, let me know. J and K want it gone. And there is literally tons of it.
Anyways, working for hours with a chainsaw is a great way of releasing stress. The girlfriend was happy cutting up little fuzzy things for dinner, and we came back with three rabbits for our freezer. After letting them age in there for a couple of weeks, I'll toss them in my smoker for an hour or so before I cook them up. MMMMMMmmmM!
It was a good weekend. I hope you all have a happy Fourth of July.