"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Armed Aimee?

Goat butchering season is right around the corner.


I had been dithering, thinking that perhaps it would be worth it after all to have the professionals come do it... sure, it's $70/goat, but that only works out to about $3.50 a pound, same as the pig....

But that was before the deer incident. Although we didn't eat any of it, we did skin it and butcher it. It was an icky job and the results were far from professional, but I am rather more convinced that we can cut up a goat now. I think we can and should do it at home. It's all part of self-sufficiency.

However, I want to ensure that they are humanely and above all quickly killed. Homero says he can cut their throats, and I know that would work and is in fact how it is done in most traditions, but I want to shoot them in the back of the head.

Instant. No pain, no fear. Except, that is, for the fear I felt upon entering a gun store for the first time in my life and asking about 22 pistols. My hands would not stop trembling. It's absurd, and I know some of you more experienced folks are laughing at me right now.

That's okay. For me, buying a gun, especially a handgun (I thought about a 22 rifle but on the advice of a good friend have decided on a pistol) is a big deal. I haven't held a gun in my hand since I was 14 and my Dad won a tiny little pearl handled revolver in a game of poker and showed me how to shoot it in the basement of the Pioneer Square Hotel. I think I shot it twice.

I need to get a gun soon, because I want to have time to take a handgun safety and training course before I have to shoot the goats. Right now, I just about know which end of a gun to keep pointed away from me and that's it.

Any advice from knowledgeable gun owners would be welcome.


13 comments:

Franna said...

I commend you! Both for learning to butcher your goats and for going out and learning to use your gun. Gun safety - take it seriously. It's a tool like any other, with more severe consequences for misuse. I've tried to slice the lamb throats, but don't have a sharp enough knife and the wool is a complication. I think shooting is the way to go for me, too.
- Franna

AnyEdge said...

I have fired a whole lotta guns, including some military models. Always with experienced supervision. Guns jam. You have to know what to do. What I know to do is set it down carefully with the barrel aimed downrange and call a professional.

Animal skulls are hard and smooth. If you don't fire almost perfectly othogonally to the curve of the skull, you can get ricochets very easily. Even though the gun is slightly faster, I think the throat slitting is much safer.

Aimee said...

othogonally? seriously?

AnyEdge said...

Yes. What?

AnyEdge said...

oRthogonal!

penelope said...

I'm not coming over unless and untill you show me a locked gun box. But other than that, good for you! I might consider taking that gun safety class with you, it might come in handy.

TheMartianChick said...

I second the locked gun box!It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this. It is a good idea for you to know how to safely use a firearm on a farm. The time may come when you have to put an animal down or protect your livestock.

Aimee said...

penelope, I was going to keep the gun in the mama barn, up on the highest shelf where I have to go get a ladder to get it, and the ammunition in a separate place. Also not even ever tell any of the kids that we have a gun or let them see it. But if that's not good enough for you, I'll get a box with a lock. But I don't have the gun yet, so....

penelope said...

personally I spent a lot of time in haylofts as a kid (with you) and needing a ladder (or twelve milk crates stacked akimbo) never stopped us from getting anywhere. I remember crawling into the attic from barely accessible trap door in the ceiling of beanzo's closet, hacking through 50 yards of 6' tall blackberries to find little abandoned shacks, kids can and do get everywhere, certainly everywhere you or homero can get they can too . A lock box is cheap, there's no reason at all not to get one. and it's not just for my kids' safety, who do you think Sam would shoot?

Aimee said...

good point, sis. Okay I'll get a lock box.

Melinda C. said...

It makes me chuckle when we adults think we can hide things from our kids. Of course, I think I could do it...until I think of all the things I found as a child.

I still wonder if my child will figure out the combinations or find keys to lock boxes. But that might be paranoia.

Spinner said...

I have a little different view of this. Kids will desire by nature what they are forbidden to have and I think it is better to satisfy their curiosity.

We allowed our children and they are now allowing their children to touch, hold and even fire guns safely. They are taught gun safety from the time they are old enough to understand.

Guns should be locked up but children also need to learn the danger and consequences of mishandling them and how to handle them safely only in the presence of an adult.

Aimee said...

Spinner, I actually agree with you, but only when the kids have reached the age of reason - commonly considered to be seven, but it depends on the kid. Mine are 6 and four, which is too young. Oh and then I have a teenager, which is a whole nother story. It's not her I'd worry about, it's her inviting some crazy reckless boy teenager over and showing him the gun.