Feb 19, 2011

"The Slaughterhouse 5"
(Minus 1 - Plus 2 - Plus Many More!)

November brought the Canada geese to our fields.
We thought we would have some time to enjoy them and watch for the familiar V-formations heralded by their sounds in the sky.

        We were so wrong.

The next day brought a little skiff of snow that had all but melted by the time we were coming in with the tractor in the afternoon. 
And the next day brought a snowstorm that went on until everything was covered.
 Hans was up to his ears in paperwork so we thought we had better call the missionaries and have them come to work with Gustav on bringing in the Advent tree right away.
 Elder Grindstaff from Texas was fearless!
He scouted out the perfect tree,

  Gustav sawed it down, and they hauled it home.
Soon it was into the hole and straightened up,
 and they headed to the barn to help with the milking, (that's Elder Rice from Salt Lake City putting the milkers on Bobo, one of our cows).  And to round out the afternoon, both of the Elders worked with Gustav  in the front field covering the logs from the threshing barn that had been taken down two months before.         
                 (With a shaggy sentinel to keep them company.)
Quite a day of service. 
We were so appreciative of their kind help.
Having the tree cut and up early was such a good feeling.  Hans was looking forward to having the lights on in good time this year so it would be all ready for the first night of Advent.
It was the last big item on our list before we were into
the slaughter.

But the snow and ice that had come so quickly was about to bring us something we hadn't counted on....
 That very evening, while coming out of the bus depot in Junsele with his arms full of packages,
Hans slipped on the black ice and his leg went sideways and under the car.
The break was extensive to say the least.
As soon as we could get the swelling down we took him to the hospital in Sollefteå, about an hour away, where they did the surgery, put on the cast,
and gave him the crutches....
for the next eight weeks.

 He was brave, he was trying to be optimistic, he was worried and he was
 in  a lot of pain.
It was such a blow.

Now we were faced with a multitude of problems.
The slaughter was scheduled and the butchers were arriving early the next morning.  The plan was that the five of us would handle it...
Hans, me, Gustav and the two butchers.
But now we were minus ONE...Hans.
 And the ONE we were minus was a very important ONE.
Gustav and I felt that we could handle the actual butchering part that takes place after the meat has been hung for several days,
but the slaughter was a different story. 
It takes TWO to bring the animals in and I simply do not have enough physical strength. 
We wondered how the missionaries might feel about being a part of the slaughter?
It is definitely not for the faint of heart, and seldom for a "city slicker" who has grown up on packaged meat from the glitzy supermarket around the corner.

We were so wrong!

They said YES!!
Grindstaff---stage left!
These young men--plus TWO-- were  real troopers.  They never flinched once.
The entire process went off without a hitch and miraculously all was accomplished in record time and the meat was hooked and hung like it is every year,

waiting for the butchers to return for the cutting and packaging.

 And return they did!
Anders and Patrick.

   They could not be any better than they are.  Both work full time jobs and moonlight at butchering in the evenings.  They know their craft, they work smoothly and quickly, they are good-natured, they are clean, they are a "Piece of Heaven" to deal with. They cut, I labeled and Gustav and I packaged and sealed.

To everyone's amazement we completed the task in about 2/3 the normal time.  We had had to speak to Hans very sternly when he insisted that he could help.  It would have been too dangerous with the break and the surgery so new.  But we missed him terribly and felt so sympathetic for the suffering he was going through.

 We began the process of filling the freezers...a little at a time so that the freezing takes place thoroughly before the next layer is added.

It was the last step in our preparations for the winter of 2010/2011.

This was a singular experience for all of us.
It seemed impossible that such a thing could be accomplished. 

When our son, Manny, left for his mission last March we wondered how in the world we would ever manage on the farm without him.  It took some real faith on our part to face the prospect of having our fourth team member absent for two full years.
But we have seen miracle after miracle in the time that he has been gone and we know it is because we are being blessed for his righteous service as a missionary.
Every time we have needed help, help has arrived. 
Often it is in ways that we could not foresee. 
Always it is heartwarming and reassuring to all of us.

In  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
we have a wonderful book of scripture entitled the Doctrine and Covenants.
From it we read this promise:

"I will be on your right and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
                                                                                                      Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

We have felt the "many more" mentioned in the title of this post a hundred times as we have been "born up" by angels both seen and unseen.
Having done our best during a difficult time  for us:

This promise has come true!


Iain said...

Hi Lorrayne, Hope all the family are in better health now! We are about to leave Sweden permanently, moving to SW France on March 1st. We have yet to sell the house here in Långvattnet, but I had a minor TIA back in November so find life here too difficult and cold these days! In addition, Janet is working part-time in London so it will be better for us to be in France.
You could always have asked us for help with the cattle slaughter - though it is an unpleasant task I have become used to it, helping Monica & Håkan at times. Best wishes to all for the future. We can keep up by reading your blog which I chanced upon last year while in France!

Donald Garmon said...

Lorayne, Please try to find time to write in and update your blog, We really enjoy it. Thanks, Don