4:50 a.m.: My husband Joe doesn’t have to work today, so we were able to sleep later than usual. I get up because daughter Elizabeth is awake and packing her lunch for work.
5:15 a.m.: Elizabeth leaves for work. Joe gets up to check on the coal stove while I fix a pot of coffee.
6 a.m.: I wake up the rest of the children. They want coffee soup for breakfast while they get dressed for school. Seems this hour always goes fast.
Usually, someone can’t find their shoe or someone else has forgotten to do their homework, so we rush to get ready for the bus.
Joe is outside cutting a quarter off the 1,740 pounds of beef we dressed Friday night. The boys go outside to help push the pony wagon — which Joe put the meat on — down to the basement where we will cut up the beef. It is nice to have walk-out doors so they can pull the wagon up to the table. The quarters of beef are heavy so just lifting them from the wagon to the table was hard enough.
7 a.m.: The bus comes and the children are off to school. Daughter Susan doesn’t have to babysit today, so I will be glad to have her help. We get more tables set up in the basement and prepare to cut up the beef.
8 a.m.: Sister Emma and her daughter Elizabeth arrive to help.
8:15 a.m.: We have a breakfast of Egg Dutch, bacon, toast, cheese, sliced tomatoes, coffee and juice.
9 a.m.: We are ready to start on the beef. Joe cuts the steaks while the rest of us work on cutting strips of hamburger for the grinder. We also cut the meat into small chunks, which I will process later.
Noon: Emma’s son Steven comes off the school bus.
1 p.m.: We finally take a break and eat grilled cheese for lunch. I also fixed some “rare beef.”
1:45 p.m.: We are almost finished with the second quarter. It takes a long time to trim all the bones and cut all the meat. I also slice some of the steaks.
3:30 p.m.: The rest of the children are home from school.
4 p.m.: Jacob and his children come over to help. Our friend Dan also comes in and gives us a lift. It helps that he keeps our knives sharpened, too. Working around the bones, the knives get dull fast.
5 p.m.: Daughter Elizabeth is home from work. She is working 10-hour days, which gets tiresome. Elizabeth’s friend Timothy also comes to help with the beef. Things are moving faster with so many people helping. The boys go outside to do the chores. Elizabeth makes supper for everyone.
6:30 p.m.: We are almost done and the hamburger is put through the grinder. All the cut meat is carried to the tool shed where it will stay cold during the next few days while we work on getting it bagged and processed for the freezer.
7:30 p.m.: We are eating a late supper since we wanted to finish up first. The younger children ate earlier. Elizabeth made spaghetti and meatballs and potato soup, along with cheese and crackers.
While we start eating, I fix rare beef. It is best to eat it right out of the skillet, though it is time-consuming since we only make one piece at a time. To be unable to taste rare beef on butchering day just wouldn’t be the same.
8:30 p.m.: Dan, Jacob and Emma all leave for home. We appreciate everyone’s help. It is really windy and snowy when they leave. The children are hoping for a snow day and no school tomorrow. I am also hoping they will have off so I will have more help with the meat.
9 p.m.: Timothy leaves and we are all ready for bed. It has been a long, tiring day.
God’s blessings for all.
2 cups sliced raw potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green peppers
1 cup sliced onions
3 cups sliced tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
Grind beef and put into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer vegetables twice. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour until potatoes are soft.
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