butchering-sm2The day started with a degree of hesitation and excitement and after some theory and discussion of what was to come and how to kill livestock humanely, the participants got straight into it and killed several chooks and a sheep.

The air was tense as they took turns at the killing process. It was an intense personal experience for each participant with mixed reactions confronting their fears, emotions and expectations. For many of them it was the first time. Some were nervous, some apprehensive, some excited. The workshop enabled people to realize their capacity and limits with regard to the size of animal they could kill themselves. Some felt immense satisfaction to be able to finally take charge of the killing process – something they had wanted to do for a long time. Indeed it was as much a spiritual experience for the participants as a practical one.  The group certainly bonded more than any other workshop we have run here.

After the killing process participants went straight into butchering. We hung the sheep and whilst skinning we had a discussion of how to tan the hide. The beast, hanging in the cool room, was also hung on the gallows, drawn and quartered so to speak!

butchering-sm3Over the two day workshop the group enjoyed the fruits of their labour during the lunches and dinner by consuming the chooks they had killed, some sheep and beef – in full knowledge that they have taken control of the whole process by raising, killing, butchering and then consuming. And the taste, well as with many things, is nothing like you buy in the shops!

Three instructors ran this workshop and one – an 82 year old butcher – showed us all the secrets to butchering experience he had learned over his lifetime. Expert cuts were carefully bagged and labeled for the freezer. All in all it was a very successful workshop achieving what it set out to achieve with lots of fun and laughter too. Dates for the next workshop will be released soon. Permaculture Design Certificate students will soon be able to enjoy the delights from the freezer especially knowing it is fresh, local, organic and lovingly raised, killed and processed.