Sunday, September 19, 2010


We've got a freezer full of grass fed, humanely raised beef! I'm excited about that.

Soon we'll have chicken - chicken that we raised. In a few months we'll also have more rabbit.

Our transition to home-raised meat has been interesting. It started with our rabbits. We had two pass away recently and rather than waste them we dressed them and put them in the freezer. Now, I've had rabbit before, at a restaurant, and I enjoyed it. But there is just this kind of block I had about eating animals that I had raised. Maybe it was an uncertainty as to whether it would actually be edible? Kind of like, I wasn't confident enough in my skills to raise something and cook it properly to where it tasted good? I honestly don't know.

This past week we had my mom over for dinner (a good bye dinner, she moved this week half way across he country) and decided to braise one of the rabbits. This was the first time I had ever had home raised meat, and it was delicious! I was pleasantly surprised.

Then last night we went over to some of our homesteading friends' home for a dinner party. We had given them some of our older hens for eggs, and due to unforeseen circumstances, she had to slaughter two of them (which we are totally cool with because we were going to do it anyways). She stewed the older of the two (she was probably at least 4 years old). I wasn't sure how I was going to like it. People had warned me that non-cornish cross chickens would be like rubberbands and would have a horrible flavor. Granted our friend stewed her for a really long time, but the meat was delicious. It tasted like chicken - nothing like store bought chicken.

Now our coming meat issue is with pork. Out of all the meat we eat, pork is the one we eat the most. So our plan is to buy a piglet in the Spring and raise it for a few months until it gets up to slaughter weight. Well, that leaves us with quite a few months of no pork.

So now we're looking for a good butcher. Apparently that is easier said than done. There's one butcher here in Vallejo. It is in the G-H-E-T-T-O. It is scary. I don't want to go there. I have a feeling they don't sell humanely raised meat.

Then there is the Fatted Calf in Napa. Um, yeah, we can't afford to buy anything there. I had called them to buy a whole pig once. They wanted $700-800 for it. It is Napa after all. We ended up buying a live pig from a gentleman who raises hogs for 4-H and having it slaughtered for $180. That's a HUGE difference. So the search continues.


  1. Yay on filling the freezer! When we used to raise meat rabbits, my kids were really small, maybe 3 & 4. They would help me take care of the animals, feeding, watering, etc. Anyway, when I would cook the rabbit and they'd ask what was for dinner, I'd tell them "lapin", which is french for rabbit. I just told them that the other day and we all had a good laugh. It might work for your mental blocks as well. "What's for dinner tonight honey?" "Oh, we're having poullet (chicken)". It actually works for me.

    I'm so jealous of you raising a piglet. I asked dh the other day just how much room would we need to raise a pig to slaughter weight. He seemed interested (ie: he didn't immediately shut the thought down LOL), so it's possible we'll do the same. What I "need" to find is a small livestock trailer. Not necessarily a horse trailer, but something you could haul a pig, calf or a goat to market in.

    As for the butcher being in the getto, so is ours, but I still brave it. The people who are actually shopping in the slaughterhouse are mostly older black men and younger Hispanic women. Usually I'm the only white woman in there. I always have to wait while they pack up my order, so I've struck up conversations with people waiting. Totally out of my comfort zone, but it's been interesting and surprising to find out how much we have in common. Can you and your husband go together to pick up the meat? After the first couple of times, I stopped bringing my dh with me because he kept buying things like pork necks, chaudions (stuffed pig stomachs), beef tongue, etc!!

  2. motherhen68, That's a brilliant idea and one we can use to make sure my stepson will eat it. He's rather upset that we'll be eating the "bunnies" and refuses to do so, even though he has no issue eating other animals.

    Since we do live in an urban area and we like our neighbors, we're actually going to raise the pig on a friend's rural property. We use an XL wire dog crate to haul animals in the back of our truck.

    As for the ghetto butcher, it's not the clientele that bother me - it's the hoodlums loitering outside blatently making drug deals that freak me out. Our city is bankrupt and saying that it's short on police officers is an understatement.

  3. Oh, I understand about the getto. It's really a crying shame that drug dealers are just so bold, nothing scares them.

    The XL dog crate is a good idea, though I think it may be too small for a calf, but a goat or piglet, it would work!

  4. I've only had rabbit once, in rabbit florentine that my father-in-law made, but it was tasty! Good luck on the butcher, $700-800 is insane!

  5. I hope more people take the time to embrace the city, it could use it.

    Why not use the opportunity of having a homestead to build community and awareness?

    In a place with increasing social stratification and decreasing city pride this could be an important opportunity for you to do something for people in a very real way...

  6. Anonymous, if you follow our other blog (linked on side) you would learn that we are working on changing our front yard into vegetable beds to help feed our neighborhood. We also volunteer our time to help build new community gardens in our city.

  7. But wasn't it emotionally difficult to kill an animal that you had raised? I am sure I could never do that.

  8. It definitely is difficult. It should never be easy. However, if we want to eat meat, milk or eggs, it's what we have to do. Saturday we're sending our two male goats to the slaughterhouse. I'm heartbroken about it because I'm really close with one of them. But I also know it's something we have to do if we want milk and meat. We can't keep all of them and if we sell them they may end up with a worse fate than if we take care of it ourselves.