Bully to Bullion

9 Jan


This is Rammy’s heart.  It is outside his body now.  In the freezer, to be exact.  His mean streak escalated to the point that he began charging us and there is just no turning that habit around.

Of course his incredible destructiveness also contributed to his demise.  There’s this:


and this:


and this entire fence line:


Rammy repairs have begun, these green T posts are the beginning of a new fence line. The barnyard creatures are establishing their new pecking order.  And most of the labor of processing his body is complete.  The hide is skinned, pinned and salted.  The meat is cut and frozen.  The bone broth finally came off the heat today.  It turned out beautifully.


Here it is in the cookpot.  And here it is in the jar.


We’re jerking all the back and neck meat with a Bresaola recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book.  Its one day into a five day brine right now.  I tried another, quicker recipe from said book, Spiced Hot Smoked Liver, improvising a bit on the spice blend.


I rubbed the spice blend into the liver and it sat for 4 hours.


Then I wiped it off and smoked it with maple wood for an hour.  I must admit I’m not a fan of liver but I do know it is a healthful medicine, so I wanted to try this but I wasn’t exactly thrilled to eat it.  I did try it tonight and besides tasting like liver, the spicing turned out really nice.  If you live local to me and you love liver, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll gladly bring you some slices of this latest work of art.

I can’t get my man to eat organ meat with me (yet).  But I have been reading a ton about it and experimenting a little.  Partially because I don’t want to waste any thing from these gorgeous creatures who died so that we may be nourished.  And partially because I believe the organs are incredible sources of power.  Last month when my child was sick and my man was really, really sick, I ate a lamb’s heart to strengthen my body’s fight to be well.  I think it was the strength I needed, I did not get sick.

And while we’re talking about organ meat, I am well aware that the source of Rammy’s destructive behavior was his nut sack.  Raging testosterone is what fueled his hours upon hours of head banging every object that stood between him and his girls.  It is what kept him at the top of the barnyard pecking order and it is what eventually turned him mean.  So I harvested them, yes.  But they have yet to hit the fry pan….. we’ll see. Here they are anyway, one straight out of the sack and one skinned.


Rammy was one of the first sheep we got, he was three months old and we named him Gendry because we love the Game of Thrones book series.  We watched him grow into his manhood and become a force to be reckoned with.  We could jovially tell you all of his courting rituals and many a hilarious story about his manhood.  We had him just over two years and we have loved him beyond reason (obviously!  what real farmer would allow so much property destruction?)  When the day of his death came, he knew.  He’d been chained up like a junkyard dog for two days, giving everyone on the farm a much needed break from his dominion.  The day was perfect!  A chilly morning that gave way to a glorious winter day.  Here is a silly shot of our livestock guardian dogs that morning.


From my facebook page: “Some things cannot be counted in a straight line. Like going from one kid to two kids, its an exponential growth and not easily calculated. Turns out butchering a ram rather than a lamb is similar. We got started at 9 am yesterday and I was still cutting meat at midnight! Today we are sore and spun, but satisfied. I keep thinking about it and the word that sticks is Beautiful. That might seem odd, but its my truth. We spent lots of time with him in the morning, brushing him and thanking him and recollecting, it was deeply sweet. His death was resigned and easy. D cuts the throat, no guns involved. We held him and loved him as he passed. I love him still. Raising animals like this is a labor of love and requires great stamina… heart, mind and body.”

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise animals, harvest them intentionally and turn them into medicine for people.  I am touched by each animal born here and each life we take.  And I am forever improved for having raised, known and slaughtered our Rammy.  RIP and thanks for the snacks!


5 Responses to “Bully to Bullion”

  1. rgsquared40 January 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Your thoughtful and gracious manner of putting this animal’s life and being into a sweet and amusing story is a soul-filled detail of the true workings of a mindful farmer. What a life you have created for yourself and family. Keep writing these fantastic pieces. They are a great read and in a voice I don’t usually hear. Thanks!

    • uberherbalmama January 10, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      This is sweet and I am super excited about your life too, Rachel! Thanks for the cheers and for coming over here!

  2. Ellen January 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    This is so moving and just as I would hope all animals get to live and die (and so very few do). Thank you for the way you are showing up for life, all forms of it, what you are teaching and offering the animals and your family and community as you do so, and for sharing it with all of us. I would love to partake in that amazing organ meat with you! I don’t love it but I know its power to replenish. Carry on brave soul!!!

    • uberherbalmama January 10, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      I’ll cook you a feast when you get yourself to S. Oregon Ellen!!!!

  3. Lithia Ray January 11, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    This is a moving story. I have respect for what you are doing on your farm. You are a brave and loving farmer warrior princess! The timing is serendipitous for my urban wild life. I have a new boy kitten, Chi, that is developing quite fast and he is not neutered yet. Even though I would love for him to be a wild and carnal cat, I have less doubt now that his procedure may lead him to a more peaceful and healthy life. Missing being your local! 🙂

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