Saturday, July 5, 2008

Slaughter Day

12 hours. If anyone on the subway or the bus or at a cocktail party should somehow try to stump you with “how many hours does is take for 3 grown people to turn baa-ing sheep into lamb chops and other assorted wrapped packages? YOU have the answer. Which is, really, “although lamb seems really expensive, it is not nearly expensive enough to cover the cost of growing it.” But, yes, 12 hours is indeed what this particular challenge evokes.

That would be the right answer.

So. Got up at 4:30 this morning. Wow. Actually, I got up on my own; commandeered the alarm clock with the idea that since I was up Mark might steal a few minutes. Stole downstairs and hugged the clock to my chest while I entertained the fantasy that I was going to get 20 more minutes of sleep because I would leap up when my clutched alarm began to sing. But, of course, it went off, and all hell broke loose and Mark was peering down at me wondering what the problem was and I hadn’t slept another wink at all, so overall a loss.

But, I turned the coffee on (what little we had) and got going. Thankfully, I’d bleached the tables and otherwise readied our “processing” station last night, but as Mark headed down to get the first lamb, I thought of 20 things I should have handled.

We were lucky today. We’ve only done this once before, with a salty merchant marine who’d done everything twice, but today it was strangely relaxing, and therapeutic.  We had wonderful, necessary help from a friend who is completely un-squeamish and totally willing to do whatever needs doing. The weather was phenomenal; incredibly benign temps, and drizzling, with a few gentle breezes thrown in. The lambs were relatively calm (we worked hard to keep them that way), the air was cool, the flies were few, etc. Ice played a lesser role than it might have.

Today is a real turning point for us. Mark helped kill the first lamb with John, but killing a whole lamb (much less 3) and then BUTCHERING them truly deserves some accolades. He is one serious Hombre, my husband. There are few words to describe the satisfaction of a locker full of meat and the knowledge that this animal lived well and died well, at our hands, on our land, with no uncertainties to get in the way of us and the food we eat.

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