Busy week of butchering

It is 7 a.m. and our six youngest children just left for school. I thought I would get this column written right away this morning.

I am battling a bad head cold which kept me awake a lot during the night. It makes for a very tired mind, and it doesn't help when I think of the busy week ahead.

On Friday evening, we butchered a 1,280-pound beef. We are glad temperatures stayed cold with the thermometer now showing 20 degrees. With the mild temperatures during the winter, it can be tricky to butcher meat.

The girls and I plan to start putting up the beef tomorrow. Joe and the children will help when they get home. I enjoy the job of cutting up beef, even though it is a big job.

We washed laundry this morning because daughter Elizabeth will go to work this afternoon. While Elizabeth is working, Susan and I plan to get the tables ready for the beef.


We want to get everything ready today so we can tackle the big job tomorrow. Hopefully by then, I will be feeling better as well.

I will do some canning, but not as much as I used to. It is so much easier to freeze everything. I like canned beef chunks for soups and canned hamburger for casseroles.

I like to see the sun come up earlier in the mornings now, but even more now that we have the solar panels to run our freezer. We want to see how much room we have in the freezer after the beef is done. If we have enough room, we might butcher a hog or two if the weather stays cold enough.

I still have a few bags of sausage left in the freezer from last year. I mostly use the sausage in chili soup and in making gravy. Also I use sausage in casseroles or pizzas. A person can't be thankful enough when there is plenty of meat in the house for another year.

Before we know it, gardening time will be here again. The garden also helps fill the jars with food.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the families hit by the tornadoes recently. We wish them God's blessings in their recovery and rebuilding. Although we were not in the area of the tornadoes, one of the big red oak trees in our yard uprooted during a windstorm. We are very thankful the children were not home at the time because they could have been playing in the front yard.

Yesterday we had a nice surprise visit from Joe's Uncle Solomon in Ohio. Joe's cousin's son Ben was also along.

The girls and I were making breakfast, so we had them eat breakfast with us. On the menu was eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, Swiss and Colby cheese, fried brains that I fixed from beef we butchered.


I dip them in egg and roll them in flour and then fry them. They come out looking just like a chicken breast. Three boys tasted the brains and said they were good, but none of them asked for seconds.

The highlight of butchering beef for our family is having rare beef again. It is steak sliced real thin and deep-fried a few seconds on each side. Grandpa Graber added a lot of pepper to it and Mom also peppered hers a lot.

Joe and I like ours very peppery, but the children just a little. So I fry one stack with a lot of pepper and another stack with less for the children.

Last week Jacob, Emma, Joe and I attended the viewing of a second cousin in a nearby community. He was a bishop in that community and was 69 years old. Our sympathy goes to the family.

With it being beef-butchering time, I thought I'd share this recipe which makes for a good casserole.

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