Cleaning out the Freezer

Yesterday, Mom and I explored the depths of our enormous white beast of a chest freezer. It was like opening a time capsule. Visions of past butchering days floated through my mind as I pulled out chops, roasts, and stomachs.

"I remember packaging this hamburger." I commented. "Holy cow! Is that my handwriting? It's so sloppy! Oh, wait, this meat was packaged back in '06; that was a bad handwriting year for me."

We uncovered several packages of pork chops that I had searched vainly for on Monday, and a number of truly venerable, freezer-burned chickens. I blessed the dogs with a very old pork hock, but from their doubtful sniffing, I'm not sure that they thought it much of a blessing.

I know you'll probably think me rather morbid, but I have always regarded butchering days as a lot of fun. I enjoy chopping meat in Chester's drafty butcher shop while Chester, Carrie, Joe and Charissa discuss and solve the problems of the world and the kiddos pop in and out to check my progress.

Just when I am convinced that my toes are finally succumbing to frostbite, lunchtime comes to my rescue. We all go into a warm kitchen and drink copious amounts of hot tea while we wait for our appendages to de-frost. Over steaming bowls of stew, we discuss the animal we've been dismembering.

"Ah yes, Piglet. I remeber when we got him as an Easter present."

This invariably leads to other reminiscences about animals of the past, including the one whose meat is floating in our stew bowls.

"Yes, I beleive that this is Rosie. She's pretty tough, but she does alright for stew."

Rosie is, indeed, tough; I have been chewing on the same piece of meat for the past five minutes. I make a mental note to avoid 'Rosie roast' at all costs. Somehow, though, even Rosie's meat is satisfying. I remember the hours I spent getting her 'ready for the pot', and a pleasant feeling of independant self-sufficiency spreads over me. It is a sensation that can only be felt by those who are consuming the fruits of their own labors, and it lends strength to my jaws as I go on chewing.