Tag Archives: butchery

Battle Hymn of The Goat Father, Part 2

5 Dec

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Stunt Foodists Join the Occupy Wall Street Protest Movement

11 Oct
Stunt Foodways activist, Adele Higgins, 24,  confronts a pair of “deep pockets” as protesters march north to midtown Manhattan and beyond intent on visitingthe homes of the homes of News Corp. CEO Rupert MurdochJP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch, among others.

Stunt Foodways activist, Adele Higgins, 24,  confronts a pair of “deep pockets” as protesters march north to midtown Manhattan. Higgins is one of dozens of Stunt Foodists who have joined the national Occupy Wall Street protest movement. “We are the 99 percent, too!” proclaimed Higgins, who, like many Stunt Foodists, advocate using the whole animal when cooking. Higgins says she and and fellow Stunt Foodists found in the now familiar “99 Percent,” Occupy Wall Street rallying cry a demand they could relate to, and took to the streets today. Higgins chose only the Primal Cuts grid as a costume–but  elected to wear gloves to ward off the cold.

(courtesy The Huff Post)

NEW YORK — Hundreds of protesters, emboldened by the growing national Occupy Wall Street movement, streamed through midtown Manhattan on Tuesday in what they called a “Millionaires March.”

They marched two by two up the sidewalk, planning to pass the homes of some of New York City’s wealthiest residents. An organizer said they didn’t have a permit and wanted to avoid blocking pedestrian traffic.

“No Billionaire Left Behind,” said a placard hoisted by Arlene Geiger, who teaches economics at Manhattan’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Protesters expressed concern about how much less the wealthy will pay – and who would be negatively affected – when New York’s 2 percent “millionaires’ tax” expires in December.

In the closest they’ve come to naming names, the protesters planned to visit the homes of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch, among others.

Protesters have been camped out for weeks in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, saying they’re fighting for the “99 percent,” or the vast majority of Americans who do not fall into the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

Battle Hymn of the Goat Father, Part 1

2 Feb

I pulled Jake out of school for two days so we could go to Montana and turn some goat into meat. He’s six. I don’t expect him to become the best butcher in the whole world. I am not starting him young so he’ll have years of practice when it comes time to write his personal statement. I just thought it would be fun to sneak out of school for two days and have a Western adventure. It was a bonus that imbedded in this adventure would be the teachable moment: How meat gets to the table. So, Friday lunch time instead of horsing around with his pals in the cafeteria, we’re waiting for our connecting flight through DEN.

cross-country hooky, the adventure begins

Jen’s the real hero in this story. After all, they’re her goats. She raises them for milk, but every winter the herd needs culling. This year there are eight on the roster.

For a few years, early on in the goat project, the meat truck would be summoned. When it pulled up to the coral and Jen and her husband, Tex would add their goats to the unhappy, bleating load and that would be that. The meat would be gathered up in boxes some days afterward and no more would be said about the missing.

Eventually they thought better of this abdication and resolved to do the culling themselves. And so every winter, sometime in January Tex and Jen call on a few stalwart friends and the occasional eager beaver, put the chili from last year’s goats on the stove for lunch and get to work. “This way,” says Tex, with only the slightest apology creeping in behind his assertion as he started again. “This way at least they know us. Know that we’ve never done anything to harm them before.”

It was my intention to have Jake join in the activity. I figured it was time he understood what getting meat to table involves. He is six, after all. Lisa didn’t think Jake was ready for such a revelation just yet. She is over-protective. I think so at least, and I said as much. We went back and forth, but eventually she relented with the drop-dead caveat that Jen get the final word about whether Jake gets to participate.

The plan was to park the two tractors outside the barn, hard-by the entrance to the pen, position the earth-moving buckets above our heads so that we could hang the goats by their back legs at about six feet so we could do the bulk of the work standing up straight. This is a luxury you don’t often get hunting. Another luxury is that the goats wait eagerly by the fence watching as we proceed with the set up.

Watching, curious, while we park the tractors in position outside their pen

After our arrival, I put it to Tex and Jen about whether Jake should participate in the harvest. I tell them about my disagreement with his mother back in Brooklyn. In the course of the day both find ways to gently plant the seed of doubt. The next day, when the appointed hour draws near, feigning disappointment and radiating relief, Jake is bundled off to the Museum of the Rockies with their boy B and his babysitter for the duration of the grizzly bits.

It takes a village.

Using the tractors as an edifice of an outdoor abattoir, the crew can harvest two goats at a time.

It's not that you get used to the work, but after the first two goats are converted to meat a churning routinization dulls the marquee emotions associated with taking a life. And once the goat is upside down an undeniable anatomical logic eclipses any lingering grief or doubts about the way the goat shucked his coil: Well, first the hide’s gotta come off, and we gotta make the little hole bigger if we ever hope to get all those guts out of there and into that garbage can.

There another one done.

Jen, fetch up another goat.

Nobody noticed that the temperature never climbed much above zero

What happens between Jen fetching a goat and it hanging upside down, well, least said, soonest mended.

Within two hours there are eight carcasses cooling in the barn and Clint even has time to scrape a hide for me to take home to Brooklyn and tan.

Clint dismisses my protests that I will not be able to find a taxidermist in Brooklyn who will finish the job. He says I can just keep the hide in the freezer while I’m looking in the Yellow Pages. Never mind that a salted goat hide stowed in the fridge is incontestable grounds for divorce in my jurisdiction.

Coming up in Battle Hymn of the Goat Father Part 2, watch while Young Jake digs the gut hole with a back hoe and find out how to cook all this goat.