Monday, November 14, 2011

A Butchering Party

This past Saturday, which was opening day for deer season here in Missouri, Ryan called in the morning with the news that he had gotten two does! And would we like to come out and help butcher? Of course! Due to prior commitments, we arrived rather late in the day (around 3:45), and we got right to work. This was Ashley's first time helping butcher an entire deer so it was fun to share a bit of how we have done it in the past . . . and it was interesting how we all fell into our 'roles'.

First Dad sharpened all of the knives . . .

. . . and then he and Ryan headed out to do the skinning, quartering, and cutting off of the tenderloins, backstrap, etc., while we ladies got things prepped in the kitchen . . . cutting stations ready, freezer paper torn, tape torn into strips and stuck to the edge of the table, and more. Then we waited for the first 'meat delivery'!

Our master butcher. :)
Mom cutting a roast out of one of hindquarters . . . the rest of it was either stew meat or was ground into hamburger

Leah working on a forequarter which just about all went into hamburger - it's amazing how much meat she can get off of one of those! She's definitely thorough.

The grinding station . . . at which Leah, Ashley and Ryan all took turns

After I cut up some steaks and stew meat, everyone else had enough meat cut or ground up for me to start packaging . . . which kept me busy the rest of the evening.

Ryan bringing in the forequarters of the second deer

Mom had cut roasts off of the hindquarters, and due to the varying sizes I teasingly paraphrased the bit from the story of the three bears . . . and then Ashley labeled the roasts this way! Just a glimpse into some of the fun and light-hearted humor we all enjoyed this day. :)

Ashley taping the packages shut after I wrapped them

More meat to cut up!

We had so much fun working together, talking, laughing, and seeing the piles of packaged venison piling up on the table . . .

At this point, the men had finished with their job outdoors and had come in . . . and shortly later look who woke up from her nap . . .

After some Daddy and Mommy time, this is where she spent the rest of the butchering time . . .

Dad sure didn't mind! He's such a great grandpa. :) Adelyn seemed to really enjoy watching all of the activity! And there was a lot of it as we all busied ourselves in the kitchen . . . cutting up more meat, packaging, grinding hamburger, Ryan taking trips 'downstairs' with the packages to put them in the freezer, and more.

Ashley grinding more hamburger

Once she got a full bowl it came to me, and I weighed it out and packaged it up

And then the packages were tallied up and Ryan brought them to the freezer

As we worked, I was thinking about how special this was . . . this is a part of what family's are . . . working together, taking pleasure in each other's company, and helping one another.

Our little watcher . . . I loved this photo with her little fingers wrapped around my Dad's!

Finally, the last bit of meat was cut up and packaged, and it was clean up time. And holding Adelyn time as we all took turns. It's always so enjoyable being able to hold her and spend time with her!

Aunt Leah and Adelyn

Mom and Adelyn

The end of clean-up, though, didn't mark the end of our evening together as Ryan and Ashley had gotten pizza for us all and we had brought some soda so we had a pizza party. It was so nice to sit down and relax and visit after the hours of butchering!

Daddy and daughter . . . things like this just warm my heart. It's so special seeing my brother as a Dad!

Thank you, Ryan and Ashley for the wonderful afternoon/evening! And hopefully Ryan gets some more deer so we can do it again. :)


  1. Sounds like a very fun and productive evening, Sarah. I'm long did it take for all of you to finish the butchering job? I'm very impressed that you do all the processing from start to finish--that's quite a bit of work.

    Did I read right...are you a soda drinker now?! Will wonders never cease...:-)

    ~ Betsy

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! :o) It's so nice to have family close to be able to share in helping each other. :o) I just told my mother yesterday I want her to move closer for that exact reason ;o) she is a 20 hr drive away :o/ Loved all the pics of everyone! And loved all the aprons! Esp yours ;o) LOVE sunflowers!!! How much meat were you able to get in total?

  3. That's wonderful to know that the freezer is full of good meat for the Winter. I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed the cutting up though!

  4. Very nice. Looks like you got a lot of meat. I do so wish Phil could get a deer. He needs a better hunting place.

  5. Hubby got his deer Saturday morning. We like to leave them hang in a cool place for a day or two. We will be cutting up our deer this evening. We still have a few more tags to fill. Hopefully this will put lots of meat in our freezer. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful pictures. Beautiful family!

  6. We were doing the same thing here, only I didn't have as much help.:-)
    James, my youngest, and I were doing all the processing. We put some jerky in the dehydrater too.
    Cute apron you're wearing. :-)

  7. This is my favorite type of post, Sarah, where you all get together to work on something :)! It was so nice to see pictures of Adelyn - how she has grown! I think she really looks like her Daddy! Have a blessed evening with your family.

  8. It was, Betsy! I’m not sure what time we actually finished up, but I would guess that it was around three hours total time. I should have looked at the clock once we were done! It is a lot of work, but we enjoy doing it, and it’s amazing how much meat one can get with just a little effort.

    You made me laugh about the soda comment! No, I haven’t become a soda drinker. :) Though I did drink about half a glass of one of the kinds, but then finished the evening drinking water. For whatever reason, I still don’t care much for soda!

  9. It is very nice to live so close together, Nabila! We are so thankful for that. And yes, we did have a lot of fun. :) That would be wonderful for you all if your mother lived closer! A twenty hour drive is a very long way. I hope that someday that would work out for you to live near one another.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos, and thank you for your comment about the aprons! I really like sunflowers as well, and it makes cooking more enjoyable having an apron like this to put on. :)

    We didn’t officially tally up how many pounds of meat that we got, but if I am remembering correctly, we estimated it to be around 50 pounds. Quite a bit!

  10. It is, Elizabeth! They were so thankful for the meat. I don’t blame you for your opinion about the butchering of the meat, though. :) It might have to be an acquired enjoyment! I kind of grew up helping butcher, so while some parts of it are a little . . . unpleasant . . . we all enjoy it for the most part.

  11. I hope that he is able to get one, Becky! Like you all, we don’t have a good place to hunt now where we live so it has become a rare treat to have venison. If Ryan should get two more, though, one of those he offered to give to us so we are really hoping he gets them!

  12. That’s great, Monica! I am sure you all are grateful for the meat. We like to hang our deer for awhile as well, but since it was so warm out on Saturday and since he didn’t have a cool place to hang it, we needed to butcher the same day this time. Were you able to get your deer butchered this evening? Hope that went well! And hopefully the rest of your tags will be filled soon, too.

    Glad that you enjoyed all of the photos, and thank you for your kind comment!

  13. Isn’t it so satisfying to have all of that meat in the freezer, Mrs. Anne? I am sure that you and your son enjoyed working on it together, though it would be quite a job for just two people! Mmm . . . the jerky sounds delicious. We’ve never made jerky before, but we’d like to try it someday. Some friends of ours gave us some one time and it was so good!

  14. You’re comment brightened my day, Anna! Thank you! I am glad that you enjoyed the post so much. :) Working together with family is a blessing, isn’t it? I know that you can relate!

    Adelyn has grown so much, hasn't she?! I have some more photos of her that I had forgotten about that my Mom had taken recently and I hope to post those soon. And I would agree with you, I think she looks a lot like her Daddy, too. :) Though, she has quite a bit of her Mommy in her also!

    I hope that you have a blessed evening with your family as well!

  15. Yay for meat in the freezer! Stephen got a deer opening day here, and then the evening before Dakota was born I got one also! So we have 2 deer in the freezer so far also. It is so nice to get it all packaged up and in there. Stephen and I did his all on our own this time, but we usually have his little brothers and sister over to help us with the processing.

  16. My thoughts exactly, Becky! That's great that Stephen got one and that you got one as well! That sounds just like you :), deer hunting the day before Dakota was born. :) That will certainly make a great addition to her birth story!

    I am impressed that you and Stephen put those deer up all on your own especially with the birth of Dakota! You all must be accomplished butchers. :) Enjoy all of that good venison!

  17. It's nice that you could all work together on this! And very nice to have fresh deer meat!

    We have so many deer in the woods a few yards from our back porch. The other night I went outside to throw out some turnip tops (some friends from church with a greenhouse had given us a pile of turnips and I didn't want to put the greens in the trash). Anyway, when I went outside (it was completely dark but I had turned on the porch light) I heard this sound like something (lots of somethings) running through the yard. It scared me until I saw that it was only deer. They had been in the yard and they were running back into the woods.

    They ran right to the edge of the woods and then stopped, and because the porch light was on, I could see pairs of eyes looking at me through the darkness. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, so I called Elyse and she came out and saw them, too. Just these eyes looking at us and then blinking. Then they lowered their heads and we could hear them crunching through the leaves. Then they would stop and look up again and we could see the reflection of the light on their eyes.

    Glowing eyes in the dark woods...would have seemed creepy if I hadn't known it was just deer! Now David keeps saying he could just shoot from the back porch and get a deer! :)

  18. We are all thankful for these times together like this, Joy! Family is such a blessing. And yes, it is very nice to have fresh deer meat, too.

    Wow, what a neat experience for you and for Elyse as well! That would be amazing to see, and then their glowing eyes in the dark. I am glad you both could experience that. Thank you for sharing as I enjoyed reading about it!

    That would be the way to hunt . . . from the back porch! :)


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)