Monday, August 20, 2012

A machete, an African, and a whole lot of meat

Today I helped butcher a fawn with a machete.

After my escapade with the groundhog, I had kind of sworn off slaughtering things. The groundhog just smelled really bad, and it tasted bad, too. Yes, I know I said otherwise at the time, but after the fun of being a tough girl wore off, I admitted to myself (you begin to talk to yourself a lot when you live alone, I've found) that I didn't really enjoy it at all.

Well, today as I finished up a light lunch of salad and a cheap chardonney (my favorite summer beverage right now), I heard gunshot down the hill. Dane (one of the day employees at the products business) has been trying to get a deer for the last, oh, month, ever since they reached plague-like levels of destruction, munching the delicate centers out of ever single head of lettuce we had and mowing down the bean patch. And yes, we do have deer fencing--which is about the animal equivalent of the child safety lock on medication. Meaning that it's only us human beings and adults which the darn thing frustrates.

It's not hunting season, but we got a permit from the game warden and last week our hunters took out two old does.

An orphaned fawn haunted the pond all weekend with its cries, like a little child.

Fortunately, that little fawn has now found its mother in the celestial fields where, I'm sure, God provides them with unlimited lettuce and tender bean tops. She's certainly not chowing down on ours anymore.

So back to the afternoon: I finish lunch and wander down the hill toward the gunshots to see what all the fuss is about, and the guys are doing a sort of absurd masculine war dance over the poor little corpse. It was too small to justify running it over to Willis for processing that afternoon, and obviously you have to gut and drain them as quickly as possible, so Nii'Anung and I hung it by its hocks over by the backhoe and went to work with a machete and a cleaver. By "we went to work" I mean Nii'Anung was the pro with the blade and I assisted--though I did my share of yanking internal organs free of fascia and cutting the skin loose, pulling it over the fawn's thin shoulders where it caught like a child pulling off a sweater.

Along with the bottle-green flies, a little orange butterfly daintily sipped the spattered blood from an old log.

Perhaps I'm getting used to death, but it was a lot better than that disgusting groundhog. For one thing, fawns smell nice and clean and groundhogs smell like...hairy gym socks.

So now my freezer is full of the most tender, lean meat, free of charge. I think I'll make stew tonight.

[Full disclosure: this actually happened last week; I only just finished the post.]


  1. As a hunter of thirty plus years, I've come to realize you never get used to death. To extinguish a life, no matter the reason, plays on one's emotions. Being omnivorous, (as humans were created) I feel we have a duty to have complete understanding where our food comes from. To be a hunter gives one worldly insight that cannot be explained with pen and paper. There is just something deep within one's self that changes (spiritually and emotionally) upon harvesting that first animal. To take a life gives you the utmost respect for the life you take. To take a breath for a breath... That is an awfully powerful way to exist.

    You have had some life experiences in your few short months on the farm that no amount of money can buy, you can't get at a university, you can't get at a church, and many of your peers will never understand. All of these experiences you will be able to carry with you for the rest of your life, and I'm sure you will never forget them!

    I just would like you to know that it was an honor to have met you!


    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jeff! I'm so glad to have met you and the other hunters as well. If I ever start hunting, I will certainly credit you. :D

    2. You're welcome! If you take up this "way of life", credit not me, but yourself, with that venture! For that decision comes from within! I think your "groundhog experience" might just seal the deal on that!(HaHa) I felt a little apprehension the afternoon I invited you to join me, deservingly so, I completely understand. "Who is this crazy guy?", you must have asked yourself. Anyways, I would like to thank you for hanging out and sharing a small portion of your life with me!

      I would just like you to know what a gift God has blessed you with in your ability to view this world from your eyes and to be able to express and translate your thoughts and feelings from mind to paper. I feel as if your time on the farm, as difficult at times as it must have been, will fuel your writing for many years to come. The experiences this short time must have provided you with are priceless. The back breaking work, seeing and feeling the calluses form upon your hands and feet, digging deep within during the many nights you utterd a word to no one, all will provide you with a "new set of eyes" in which to view the world. Take all of these lessons and memories of your time in Floyd, integrate them into your future life, and greet success with open arms!

      Thanks for sharing your writing with me! I have really enjoyed reading your posts. Being from the area, I have a genuine understanding of your experiences you have endured.

      Shout at me sometime on Youtube if you would like! (I have a couple short vids of the farm and intend to add more in the future)

      Take care and God bless,