Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Oh Deer


I settled myself down and got over my mad.

This morning, Tim and I spent the morning cutting up deer meat. Steaks, chops, roasts, the smaller stuff got chopped up into stew meat. We got probably 25 packages of hamburger from the first deer so we did not need to grind any from this one. 

We have it down to a fine art. We remove the table cloth, throw down a shower curtain we use for just this purpose. The deer is brought in: one front quarter, then the other. One back quarter, then the other. Finally the rib cage, for the backstraps, tenderloins, and a neck roast. 

Tim cuts. My job is to wash the pieces and examine them closely to make they are clean and free of hair. I'm very good at that job because seeing hair in my food makes me gag. By the time that I'm done washing and inspecting that venison, it's good. Everyone has a special talent, I guess, and now you know mine. 

We vacuum seal our meat without a vacuum sealer. One side of the sink is filled with clean cold water. The other side of the sink is the side where I'm washing the meat and cutting away any scraps of fat. Once the meat is ready to be packed, I drop it into a ziplock freezer bag, zip the package 90% shut and then carefully lower the package into the water right up to the unzipped section. The water pressure removes the air from the bag, I zip it up and pull the bag out of the water and set it on a towel to dry.

My sister taught me that little trick and I use it a lot. Vacuum sealer are expensive and so are the rolls of bags. This is a money saver and vacuum packed food stays fresher longer. 

Tim hauled the fresh packaged venison to the chest freezer, to join the other venison already there.  I gathered up the shower curtain and the old hand towels we use for butchering and took them down to the basement to toss in the washing machine, to be washed and bleached and packed away until the next time. 

It's been a good season. The deer were small ones, and so Tim is hoping for one more, but if he doesn't get one, we'll be fine. 

He got word today. His layoff has been extended until January. 

He digested that news, marked the new information on his calendar, and then headed out the door to do a porch delivery of some piping hot soup. His son started showing some very familiar sounding symptoms yesterday. Tim asked him if he was running a fever. He didn't have a thermometer. Tim left a care package hanging on his door: an electronic thermometer and a bottle of aspirin. Yes. He has a fever.

Today, my daughter was exposed to the virus at work. 

At the beginning of November, we had 71 cases. Dec 1st, 303. A week into the month, we stand at 568. The school is now closed until January 25th. 

This is a mess and yet we still have the people insisting covid is not 'real', refusing to mask or to avoid crowds. 

42% of our population is 65 or older. Risktakers and an at-risk population are not a good combination.

We have one hospital. That small 85 bed hospital has 4 ventilators to serve a population of 39,200

For the first time, I find myself getting apprehensive. Our cases increased by 53% in the first week of December. If this continues, we'll have 1200+ cases by Christmas. 

I. Can't. Imagine. 


  1. Oh, do hope the virus isn't an issue for any in your family but if it is, hope it's mild.

    Found your description of preparing the venison for freezing interesting. I've not experienced such with wildlife or even large farm animals.

    Your bank experience from previous day would be truly exasperating and hope you were able to set it all straight.

  2. I find it incredible that people still do not take the Covid risk seriously. Back in March we saw just how quickly it threatened to overwhelm our little island so a total lockdown was put in place and visitors are still not allowed in until the number of cases elsewhere drop significantly. I hope that your family recover and that you all stay safe.
    Venison. We buy farmed venison from Scotland. The only large mammals we have here, apart from cattle, are the wild wallabies that escaped from the wildlife park many years ago. I don't think they are good to eat!

  3. I share your concerns. People on Facebook making fun of people who wear masks have actually turned me away from social media. In my case, that's a good thing I guess, because I spent way too much time on Facebook. All it has done since March is make me angry, what with Trump and his followers. I am in the minority in my county AND my state.. Half the yards had Trump signs displayed this year.

  4. The pandemic situation there sounds grim.

    I've never had venison. We were once given a moose roast once and didn't really like it.

  5. I hope Tim's son and your daughter are OK in the long haul. This is all such a crazy, scary time. Our numbers haven't gone up as much here in the UK (yet) and we just began vaccinating, so time will tell, but I'm hoping we're turning the corner.

    If I had to hunt my own meat I think I'd be an even more strict vegetarian! (I'm kind of a slacker vegetarian now -- if someone else cooks meat I'll eat it, but I only cook veg!)

  6. That is a nifty trick about getting air out of ziplocks. I will have to try that out.

    We were invited by my Aunt and Uncle to their Thanksgiving this year. They were having a big get together with my Aunt's side of the family despite all the warnings. We politely declined. She went to the ER five days ago and her tests finally came back today as positive for Covid. Some people just never learn. They didn't have any room so just sent her back home with medicines to control the headaches and fever. Thus far she isn't getting better but hasn't shown any troubles breathing.

  7. My mouth is watering at the thought of your venison and it sounds as though you've got the carve up and storage down to a fine art.
    I don't understand how people are so unconcerned about risking death. I hope the symptoms are mild for your son and daughter. Take care!

  8. You like your self sufficient? Do you also grow vegetables?

  9. We are pretty self sufficient. We are not totally self sufficient. I doubt we ever will be, but it is something we strive for. The garden gets better every year.

  10. As someone who knows little about hunting(or what comes after), I was fascinated by your description of the procedure, especially the vacuum sealing. I too am apprehensive, not so much about my own area which is full of hospitals and close to Seattle, but worried about other places without those advantages. And it seems like TOO many in those areas refuse to recognize or accept the reality of this virus. I am so very discouraged about this lack of common sense or connection to fact and science. Hope that your family is OK and will be healthy soon!


I'm glad you're here!

No news results for Tim yet.  (I need patience...and quickly.) Houdi went into hiding again for most of the afternoon. I was quite worried....