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Breaking Down a Pig

I want to start writing more about being a butcher, so I'll start with one of the things I do an awful lot of in the run of a week - breaking down a pig. The place I work goes through about 150 to 200 pigs a week to supply our own customers, our sausage making operation, as well as a lot of local restaurants and even other smaller butcher shops. And this gets accomplished by me and the 3 or 4 other butchers on staff. Sorry that I am unable to provide my own video of exactly how we do it (maybe some day), but here is the first hit I found on Youtube which shows the same basic steps being done by a restaurant in San Francisco. We do things a bit differently in some spots but it is essentially the same process except that we have a band saw and do it a lot faster. On a typical Monday we'll do 50 to 70 pigs. Then 30 to 50 on each of Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday we rarely do any but sometimes there maybe 4 or 5 in there.

Becoming a Butcher

As those of you subscribed to my Youtube channel already know, I’ve quit High Tech and have landed a job as a butcher at a local small butcher shop with a really fantastic reputation for high quality food at regular supermarket prices. In some ways this is one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made, while at the same time as you’ll see by reading on, it is one of the most difficult. After 5 years of university and 15 years working as a programmer and a Network Administrator, I hope this means I’m done. My wife and I certainly are resolved to make it work as difficult as it will be financially, because I really have not liked High Tech for some time now.

I’ll never forget the day I lost my job at Nortel, after just over 12 years working there. But let’s first back up a few months to when they declared bankruptcy. I’ll never forget that day either - hardly anyone actually worked on that day - most of us stood around in the hallways in small groups huddled together chatting and speculating. I recall this day so clearly because I was casually bouncing around from group to group, to hear what people were talking about. And in doing so I was being extremely flippant about it all, making a lot of jokes and taking it all pretty lightly. It was not until one woman broke down into tears (not because of anything I’d said, fortunately) that I finally realised that most folks were pretty worried about it all. It was then that I started to hold my tongue. In hindsight it was foreshadowing the day I’d get cut, because on that day I drove to work knowing I was getting cut, and as I approached the building I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom take hold of me. Not just a superficial sense of freedom, but a deep-seated, become-one-with-the-universe sense of freedom as though nothing could ever possibly touch me or harm me. When the building finally came into sight I was actually cheering alone in my car, and screaming with delight. Even though I knew I would not get a red cent from them because of their bankruptcy protection. (Aside - my friend with 12 years experience who had gotten cut just before the bankruptcy got about $60,000 - nice!)

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