Thursday, March 11, 2010
See the pig. The pig is big. See the big pig.
The pig is big enough to kill. The pig is big enough to eat.
Homero would like to let the pig grow a little more. I don't know how much the pig weighs - he's about as big as the other two pigs were when we killed them - but I know how much the pig eats. The pig eats a lot. A bag of pig food costs about fifteen bucks and lasts two weeks, supplemented with household scraps. In two weeks, how much weight does a young pig gain?
That's the kind of thing I could probably look up.
And then, if I were further mathematically inclined, I could actually figure out the cost of each pound gained by the pig, and come to a perfect break-even point, a scientifically derived death-date for the pig.
That's not really my thing. I'm more of an estimator. Storey's guide to pigs says butcher weight is between 200 and 250 pounds. I think our pig is just about that weight. Time to kill the pig, stop spending money feeding the pig and let the pig start feeding us.
Oh did I mention, we ate the last scrap of pork from the chest freezer about a month ago? NO, of course that doesn't figure into my calculations. What do you think I am, a monster?
So the question is, not whether or when to kill the pig, but how. We have, for the first time, the opportunity to hire a local expert who will work for a share of meat (Hi Crecencio!). He butchered the goats last fall and did a damn fine job.
Upside: saving $250 we don't actually have at the moment.
Downside: losing a quarter or so of the meat (random guess - anyone out there know what percentage we should offer him? This is all new to us). Losing good quality ham and bacon, replaced by whatever I, with nil experience, can cure and smoke myself. Probably that means bacon, no ham. Everyone I've talked to who has tried it says that our climate here just flat out isn't conducive to ham unless you have a climate controlled room. I don't. But I do have a small smoker capable of smoking bacon.
What to do, what to do? While I mull it over, please enjoy this picture of the pig with his head stuck in a bucket.