11/23/2008

The long awaited sheep post!

So after much anticipation, I have gotten a whole sheep and processed it myself. I would have posted yesterday when I was done but I was too exhausted. I am posting only links to the processing photos as they may be a bit much for some and I do not want to have them viewable on the front page for those who don't want to see them. So, you can either view them or not.

Let me make a note here that #34 was 3 years old, a gorgeous ewe that was being culled from the flock as she was a smaller frame at 90 lbs and could possibly have trouble bearing lambs as she aged, compared to the larger ewes. Her death was pretty quick and painless, the farmer made sure of that. I could tell he cared deeply for the sheep and had the utmost respect for them. That made all the difference. These sheep were grassfed and had many many acres to roam on. What a life!

Levi, my step brother helped me skin and remove the front legs. Our tools were a small hunting knife for cutting the hide, tendons and muscle and a cleaver for chopping thru bone.

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Hanging, before skinning. Skinning was done by cutting around at the ankle, then down the back of the legs and pulling down while cutting carefully down the stomach.

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Skinned, abdomen slit. What you see is the stomach and intestines.
*Make note the sheep is hanging differently. Something happened with the tendons (accidentally cut while skinning I think) and as we were halfway thru skinning, it came crashing down on the ground.

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Gutted, head removed though not visible.

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Neck, front legs, shoulders and ribs removed. Cleaver was used to cut the ribs along the spine. Front legs were removed by cutting the muscle and tendons around the shoulder blade and twisting it out of the joint.

Though I didn't get a picture of the last shots (I was about to collapse at that point in pain), the next things to be done were removing the back legs in the same fashion as the front, and sectioning the spine by cutting the muscle and fat around the vertebrae and bending it backwards to break.

Here's the pictures now of everything that was cut and bagged. The only thing you won't see is the intestines. The hide was saved for tanning.
Fat, trim, and legs

Back thighs, spine, hips

Ribs

Shoulders and misc pieces

Stomach, before emptying contents which didn't smell at all.

Tripe after emptying/rinsing in blue ziploc, above is kidneys and pancreas or spleen, heart to the right of that, neck and head, lower right hand corner is liver and lungs are to the left of that.

Cleanup crew! She ate all the meat pieces in the sink after I was done.

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