Friday, 7 October 2011

Move to Ireland, learn to skin a rabbit. !!!!WARNING PICTURES AT END!!!!

Moving to the Irish country side has been a learning experience. I've learned about different types of potatoes and the harvest, more about sheep than I care to know, and now how to treat game after it's been shot. I thought I lived out in the country before when I was little, but this is nothing. You would think that Ireland being a huge player in the international scene and a fashion forward country that I wouldn't learn how to skin a rabbit at all. WRONG.

Let me preface this by saying rabbits over here are a pest. They tear up the fields and are just as annoying as prairie dogs out west and raccoons/possums in Maine. There are hundreds just around where we live. So yes they are cute and cuddly but they are also a pain in the you-know-what. My father-in-law had shot two at the beginning of the summer, but that was it. He has promised me to let me have a go at skinning them when we got another set, but no luck. However, just this week, one of our neighbours brought us a fresh rabbit he had shot in his field. Big R, as I call my FIL, let me have a go at skinning the rabbit and cleaning the meat. Why did I want to do this you ask? Well, not really sure. Maybe it's because I don't get out much any more, or there isn't much to do around here, or just cause it is something I've wanted to experience, for an anthropologic experiment. I've study history all my life, but never really experienced anything that people from the past would have done.
Now the next part is not for the faint of heart and there will be a few pictures at the end, so beware. However, if you're just curious as to how one would have gotten their food in the past, by all means read away:
For those of you who won't read ahead, it was a good learning experience and I would do it again. I'm hoping we get a pheasant during the season.

We took care of the rabbit in the garage. We had hung it up first for a day to let the blood drain of the wound. We thought it had been shot in the head, but when we took it apart it had been shot through the leg and spine.  The first thing you want to do is take off the feet. Now I will say this was a part that kind of made my stomach turn. You have to break the legs at the knuckle. After you do that you can easily cut the feet off. After that you have to peel the skin off the rabbit. I won't go much more into that, I'm sure you can figure it out. Then you have to take out the inner organs. Another stomach churning part for me was when we discovered where the wound was. There was a slight smell of bad blood. I'm very sensitive to smell, so it was hard, but because the rabbit was so small it wasn't too bad. Probably nothing compared to deer or another large animal. After that you can take off the head. Once the organs are out you can get the meat. Now I don't like meat that much so deciding what is edible and what is not was almost impossible. To me this was like a really cool biology experiment. I probably would have looked at every organ and stuff, but it went straight into a bag.  Big R helped show me how to cut the leg, thigh and breast. There really isn't much meat on a rabbit at all, so to feed a family of 4 would probably have taken at least 3 to 4 rabbits, at least for a good stew.  We put the meat in a salt water pot to draw out the blood and then to the freezer it went until we get another one for some stew. Now I've had rabbit once before and I wouldn't say I'd like to have it again, but I think in a stew instead of a BBQ it might actually be nice.

Overall it was a cool experience. Not for many of you I know. Here are some pictures. My husband posted the video on facebook, but seeing pictures is a little easier to stomach than watching me take care of the rabbit.

I was forced to make this face. But that was the size of the rabbit.

This is the very start of the process, just after we cut off the legs and opened up the rabbit.

Removing the inner organs

Big R is showing me how to cut the breast off the bone.

This is what was all the meat we were able to get out of the rabbit.
oíche mhaith

Saturday, 1 October 2011

My Baby turns two and the hubby gets an interview.

September was a very busy month for us. It started with family weddings and parties, then it was O's 2nd birthday and at the end of the month my husband had another job interview. With all this going, I have been very bad about keeping my blog up to date.

I've told you all about the family stuff. O's birthday was on the 16th of September and we had a small party on Saturday. It included the Greats, the grandparents and our neighbours who have three older boys who love to play with O. I made a big cake and we had a nice quiet BBQ. It's crazy to think that my little baby has grown into a toddler. I love having her this age, but I kid you not, as soon as she turned two, she turned into a monster. When people talk about the terrible two's they ain't kidding. But more about that later. Here are some pictures of her party.

O's Birthday Cake. Another hand-made Victorian Sponge Cake.

The birthday girl on her big day!

Everyone from the party waiting for cake 
After O's party we went to R's cousin's birthday party in Kilrea and this is O showing off for the camera.

On her actual birthday, Friday, We took a cake into the Mother and Toddler group and sang to her. She did really good blowing out the candles.

Another big thing that has happened is the hubby got a job interview. As many of you know, he's been out of work for just over a year and has only had a 1 interview since than. He's been working with a recruiting agency who have been very good in sending out his information to different companies but the economy is just horrible. On Monday they called him and said there was a company that was looking for a media guy. The description to the job was very close to what he did in America with the same salary. They sent his CV and portfolio on Monday morning and that afternoon he had set up an interview for Thursday. He went to the interview and thinks it went well. We won't hear anything until next week hopefully. I can't tell you how much we need this job. Not only financially but mentally as well. We are at a crossroads in our life and both of us are ready to take the next step towards our new future. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts, but keep them going, we'll let everyone know what the outcome is.

oíche mhaith