After Wednesday’s unplanned bull adventures, S knew he was going to have to help harvest this bull.  Most slaughter plants can only accept live animals, walking off the trailer.  Once the animal has died/been killed, they cannot accept it.  There was no way to get this bull back in the trailer, he was already injured, and we knew harvesting it at home was the only way to save the meat.  So, S spent Wednesday and Thursday night reading up on harvesting cattle, and watching how-to youtube videos of methods used around the world. 

I won’t bore you with too many details, but on Friday night, the bull finally met his maker.  The bull had been a bit “off”, eating less, limping a bit, moving slowly, etc. since his adventures, but we didn’t know if it was due to a bullet or due to soreness from his escapades. No one wanted any more suffering for him though, so S got a couple of his buddies together, one of whom was an experienced shooter with a good rifle.  One distant shot in the heart/lung area caused the bull to lie down, and then he was able to use a pistol to hit the imaginary X on the bull’s head, thereby finally bringing an end to any and all misery.

For the next few hours, S, 3 of his buddies, and another neighbor worked on the bull.  The owner had had to go out of town, but his wife worked to keep everyone comfortable, fed, and hydrated, and also took it upon herself to monitor and feed all children in attendance.  I got to assist when they needed another hand, and be gopher for supplies.  First, we had to roll the bull onto a tarp and drag him by hand out of the pasture.  Once we got it through the gate, the tarp was attached to the hitch of a pickup, and they drug it up the hill to the designated harvest area. 

The next few hours were spent skinning and eviscerating the bull.  S said it was by far the toughest skinning he has ever done.  Now we know why cattle leather is used for so many heavy-duty items. 

At one point, maneuvering the carcass got a little difficult, so the neighbor brought over his Case Loader, they chained the bull to it, and lifted him into the air.  That made the job much easier, and they had the job done soon enough. 

For the last couple hours, they were working by lantern light and flashlight.

Once everything was cleaned up, they used a reciprocating saw to remove the head and saw the carcass into halves.  Finally, they drove it over to the owner’s garage, hauled each half inside, and hung it from the rafters to age for a week or so. 

We left the owner with instructions on how to use a space heater and the garage doors as climate-control, and lent her our good thermometer to help ensure the carcass temp could remain between 32 and 40 degrees.  She has been so worried about it, I’m not sure she has slept much while her husband was away.   So far, though, things seem to be going well.  We saved the liver for her, and she gave us the rest of the offal and organ meats for Athena (our livestock guardian pup who eats a raw food diet).  S also managed to get the hide to experiment with ash soaking and making buckskin-type leather. 

We were all exhausted by the end of the evening.  Unfortunately, over the next 18 hours, there was more unplanned adventure to be had.  I’ll do another post on that later.  Nevertheless, we were blessed to have new learning experiences, lots of meat for the pup, and build lasting friendships with the neighbors.

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