i had a dream a few weeks back about catching a rabbit and butchering it...well, it sort of came true today (warning, graphic photos ahead....don't say i didn't warn you!)
i was minding my own business, working at the computer today on the next issue of herbal roots when i realized it was getting dark. it was only about 9:30am so i knew a storm was coming. i ran outside to load up the wood cart to bring inside so i'd have a supply of wood to keep us warm and to cook our meals with.
as i was coming back in, i noticed the dog walk over to the side of the house right off the porch. i looked down and saw a dead rabbit. upon inspection, i realized it was freshly killed, most likely by my dog so i seized the opportunity and brought it inside to butcher.
first, i had to clear it with my daughter who gets upset about butchering. she knows it's our way of life but she's still unsure about the whole killing to live process that we go through. i talked to her about how the rabbit was already dead and the dog was about to eat it, or worse yet, eat a bite or two and then leave it to rot. i talked to her about skinning the rabbit and tanning the hide so we would have a soft rabbit pelt. she asked if i could make her something with the pelt, like a dress or something. i pointed out the size of the rabbit was much smaller than her so a dress most likely wouldn't work out but perhaps some trim on a dress or something...with that, she was agreeable to me butchering it.
she chose to leave the room but sage stayed by my side the entire time watching and playing. this is the first time i've butchered anything other than a chicken but i'd heard it is rather easy to butcher a rabbit so i dug out my carla emery book and flipped to the rabbit section. first, i had to cut off its head and drain the blood (note the bottom of the bucket is muddy water, not blood, i grabbed the closest thing which was a harvest bucket that had some roots in it).
after draining, i tied string to the hind legs to hang him by off the basement doorknob. not the ideal site but it was cold and raining outside.
next, i cut a slit from one hindleg to the other...
then pulled the fur down the length of his body. this was fairly easy to do although i did get hasty and rip it twice. i'll know better next time.
inside out fur.
naked rabbit, ready for gutting.
my gut hook knife sure came in handy, it cut through the rabbit like butter.
all gutted...the hardest part was trying to cut around the vent hole to remove the instestines in their entirety...there was bone all around it so i did a real hack job of it. but, it was successful, no torn or cut intestines!
fresh rabbit skin, waiting to be stretched and dried.
salted and tacked up on the side of the garage (interior). once it dries i'll work on the next step. i'm debating if i want to use the brains to brain tan the hide...or save the skull for a friend who collects skulls....decisions, decisions...
i forgot to photograph when i deboned and pan fried the rabbit. anyway, after browning, i made a gravy and added cooked potatoes and carrots and chopped up the rabbit into bite sized pieces. i would have added herbs but i was side tracked with phone calls, hide stretching and kids so i forgot to. next time, herbs will be added!
anyway, the gift from my dog turned into our lovely dinner, along with some cornbread and a salad.
the kids loved it! well, all except jaden who ate a bite, said she liked it and then wouldn't touch it again.