While I was out doing errands yesterday morning, I saw a deer carcass lying in a cemetery off a busy highway in Hickory. It was buck with antlers. I almost kept on driving, then I realized, that deer couldn’t have been lying there too long. If so, some redneck would have stopped and took the antlers. So I turned around and pulled my car off the road in front of the cemetery. The deer was somewhat stiff, but it had been well cold to preserve it. Minimally, the cemetery management would have removed it if it had been there for more than a day or two.
So, I dragged the carcass towards my car. Did I mention this was a big buck? Probably about 100 pounds. Dragging it was hard enough. Getting it into my car was even harder. I couldn’t imagine what people were thinking as they drove by. Who cares what people think. It was free meat in a time that I needed it.
I curtailed the rest of my errands to get the deer home and process it. I would have liked to have been able to bring it into the house to cut up but there was no way I was getting it up the stairs. It’s just as well. Whatever hit that deer was big. It’s hindquarters on one side were severely damaged. It didn’t hurt the meat any. As soon as I started cutting, I was swarmed by the chickens. While you’d think of chickens as herbivores, they are really omnivores. They eat a lot of bugs and worms during the warm season and I know they were missing that protein source. I’ve seen them catch and eat small mice. Who needs cats? The chickens, cats and dogs merrily ate away as I cut the legs and meat off the carcass. It really looked like a scene from a horror movie. I gave Liath one whole hind leg, probably a good 30 pounds of meat and bone. Rose has the neck, backbone and rib cage, still containing a lot of meat.
In addition to the additional venison, I lined up another source for rabbit. This was a source that I thought we had lined up months ago, but the people that have the rabbits can be a bit hard to track down. A few weeks ago, the husband came to the Shelby auction with the sole purpose of getting Wally’s number because he had a lot of rabbits to get rid of. He never called us. Then I saw an ad on Craigslist for the rabbits. I knew it was the same people. I finally tracked the wife down and arranged to come out to talk to the husband. It seems he lost the business card Wally gave him. We are all set to pick up as many as 20 rabbits Friday afternoon. If all goes well, we’ll buy all their culls. I’ve been buying rabbits from a couple that used to live close by, but they moved 75 miles away. We meet in Statesville every other week or so and I get 40 pounds of rabbits from them at a time. In the past, I’ve used rabbits sparingly because 40 pounds every two weeks is only about a dozen rabbits. My cats can eat a whole rabbit (3.5 to 4 pounds) in a feeding.
I used to grind their rabbits, but I stopped doing it. Instead, I put a heavy piece of cardboard on top of a large piece of cutting board. I hack the rabbit up with a cleaver and then cut it into smaller portions with kitchen shears. Whatever the cats don’t eat, the dogs clean up. If I grind the rabbits, the cats eat faster (and more). The chewing is good for them.
Off to feed and water everyone …