Sunday, January 15, 2012

You Know You Are a RedNeck When...

I try to feed my family healthy simple foods that my great-grandmother (if alive) would recognize.  We buy local/organic fruits and veggies as often as we can and I will admit to paying $6-8/pound for grass-fed organic beef.  Expensive, but my kids are worth it.

I grew up with an avid deer hunter father. He brought home a deer or two or three every year and I remember my mother carving them up in the kitchen.  At least until she wised up and made him bring them to a deer processing plant.  But whether we ate venison sausage or roasted backstrap, we always enjoyed eating those healthy lean deer.

My husband and I aren't hunters ourselves, mainly because the idea of getting up before dawn and sitting in a freezing deer blind has no appeal to us.  And as much as we love meat, I still have issues looking it in the eyes before killing it.  I have a few rooster stories about that...  But I do want my boys to know that the hamburger they eat comes from a cow and not from the grocery store.  And who knows, if the boys show an interest in hunting when they get older, I might drag my lazy rear out there to be with them.

Now, on to my "Christmas Story."

We were supposed to spend Christmas Day with my family and I could already taste that melt-in-your-mouth lamb roast.  Hours before we were supposed to show up, my father calls and starts the conversation with "I had a horrible accident."

Of course I panicked--until I heard the whole story.  See, my father was dog-watching my sister's chocolate lab.  Dad and Charlie (the dog) were going for a morning walk in the woods when a doe burst out in front of them.  Charlie freaked out and started barking, and the deer then freaked out and turned tail and ran smack into a wooden fencepost and broke her neck, dying instantly.

My father, at other times the manly deer hunter, considers all deer on his property his personal friends whom he feeds and waters like pets; so he was really upset.  He called the game warden who said that Dad could have the deer for meat, but he could not bring it to the deer processor because my father did not have a deer tag.  So this is why we received the morning call.

My father has been ill and it was freezing that day so he could not butcher the deer alone.  But I started thinking about those pounds of organic grass-fed meat and I convinced my husband (who had a bad cold) to go early and cut the deer up.   He was not happy, but thankfully he loves me and puts up with things like this.  We googled "deer processing," printed out a few sets of instructions, and headed out.

I won't go into great gory detail, but I will say my father the deer hunter laughed out loud when we showed up with our Wikipedia deer processing instructions...  It was a cold, rainy, blood and guts day.  After a few hours, we had a large beer cooler full of cleaned and quartered venison.  The boys  saw where meat comes from (and they frighteningly didn't seem to be bothered one bit) and I found plenty of excuses to check on Grandma back in the warm dry house.

Later at dinner we mentioned that this was not our best Christmas, and Imp piped up and said "I think that the deer had a worse Christmas!"  From the mouth of a four-year-old.

A few days later my mom and dad cut all the meat off the bones and I brought my meat grinder and we had a fun grinding party and ended up with 20 bags of ground venison.

I made my homemade organic grass-fed venison veggie lasagna.  Yummy!

I took some pics on my husband's phone of him cutting up the deer so he could show his friends his "manly" side.  The other day I was talking to one of those friends and he mentioned the deer pics. He knows we have been looking to buy a new house and he said "You know, your new neighbors might not like living next to rednecks who eat roadkill."  Technically it is not roadkill and more like fencekill, but he still cracked me up.

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  1. Ha! Growing up in Pennsylvania, I never would have even thought to label you a redneck for doing this. What else does one do with a dead deer?

    But if eating grass fed, fresh, lean meat means you're a redneck, by all means, I'd be proud to be one. ;)

  2. That is a fun story! Sorry for the deer to die in such a way, but I'm glad you put it to good use.

    We raise our own beef (being a cowboy is my husband's weekend job ;-) and I love knowing where my meat came from, what it was fed, how it was treated, etc.

    I don't buy organic (have you ever seen a sick cow that's not treated with antibiotics?) I have no objection to giving cows healthy medicine that is not proven to cause any harm to the consumer. I won't scoff at anyone that does buy organic though because that is their right and not everyone has the resources to buy beef like we do here in Idaho! And our cows do get grain in the last few weeks...

    But anyway, if a person is not set on organic and just wants to know where their meat is coming from and know that it was treated well I love the idea of buying a whole (or half or whatever) a beef from a local rancher, and it would be a heck of a lot cheaper and you would get to choose your cuts, fat content, etc. We always "save" out one a year to butcher and keep in our deep freeze and I love having it on hand!

    I love all of your photography helps as well as the little glimpses into your family. You have a beautiful family and you're a great mom!

  3. I totally grew up on venison that my dad would procure every year :) We had a deep freeze that kept us stocked! Good memories. I wish we could get some now!

    ps. thanks for all your great actions/tutorials~!

  4. Thanks for the laugh! Great story and glad the meat didn't go to waste. Side note... love the classic Corning Ware dish. We had the same ones growing up!

  5. we here at our house LOVE venison too!! and I've had to butcher my share of deer carcasses. My husband is an AVID deer hunter. I have lots of recipes for deer! My boys also love to hunt!

  6. Now that's a story but I don't think I could do that. Too much of a city girl I guess.

  7. Cute story. I am a hunter's daughter and have seen my fair share of dead deer, however nothing grossed me out more than having to see skinned deer "thawing out" hanging in my garage each morning last week. They were shot up north and froze whole. I don't think there is anything worse than having to view hanging skinned deer first thing every morning while leaving for work and having my two year old jump over puddles of blood while getting in the car. Yuck!

  8. I grew up with a father who hunted, he would pull us out of school for two weeks every year to go with him. the entire family,(his side) would gather up in the mountains and camp out. I remember it being fun when I was pretty small until I saw the deer all strung from the trees with the blood draining out of them. it changed me and who I am forever. The last time I went on the hunting trip I was like eleven and my dad said I couldn't go anymore after that because I made all the hunters feel guilty with my picket signs in front of our motor home that said "Deer have feelings too" LOL no joke. He said handing out animal rights flyers was bad too. LOL
    I cannot even imagine trying to get my 6 year old to eat deer, it wouldn't happen. We don't eat meat of any kind, we are not health nuts at all but absolutely vegetarians.
    I still enjoyed your story though, if it were me I would have had a huge deer buried in my back yard with a headstone that my daughter made herself. LOL Stranger hings have happened.