Women Who Kill Goats

November 9, 2010

I spent this weekend in the woods with about 200 women, and 4 friends: Miz H, A, L, and K.  And now I want to live in the woods permanently.

Friday night, we set up our tents in the face of a freeze warning. Black night with stars clear and perfectly spaced, like tiny polka-dots on fabric. Built a fire, sat in folding chairs, and talked. About jobs, about personal philosophy, about food, eating meat, about parenting, about boys, about girls. We drank Corona and ate sunflower seeds.

Not one of us slept a whole hour that night, mostly because we were so, so cold. I tried curling up in a fetal ball to conserve heat. I wrapped things around my head and ducked into my sleeping bag. Then my toes got cold, so I covered them with my quilt and a small pile of clothes I couldn’t identify in the dark. Then my butt got cold, so I wrapped a scarf around my pelvic area like a bandage. Dozed off. Then wild dogs barking.

And in the morning, I drank shitty coffee and ate a bite and went to a workshop called Field Dressing. I imagined in my head when I signed up for this class 2 months prior that there would be a dead deer hung up in a warehouse of some sort, and the instructor would have a knife that s/he would pass around and give each of us a turn cutting something. But when I got to the designated meeting spot, there was a trailer full of 10 live, quite cute goats.

So we went to kill them. Me and Miz H and A.

We cut 10 jugular veins and 10 carotid arteries. Then we carried them by their feet to a pile of wood so they could bleed all of their blood out. Miz H and I had one goat. A had a goat all to herself. We cut them open delicately so as not to puncture their stomachs, and then we took their bowels out. We set the heart and liver aside. We cut the hyde off, then quartered it. Leg meat, neck, back, ribs. Sawed off feet and heads. Done.

And now I want to live in the woods in a cabin and raise and kill my own meat and cook it in delicious ways for my meat-eating friends. And for those of my friends who don’t eat meat, I will cook well-spiced and generously seasoned sweet potatoes and greens and corn and rice and beans from my garden behind my cabin. And we shall feast on ceramic plates with silver spoons. And I will be tired and happy.

Does that not sound lovely?


(The event was sponsored by Women in the Outdoors. To find out about WITO events in your area, go here.)


15 Responses to “Women Who Kill Goats”

  1. I’m horrified and intrigued in equal parts. The experience sounds utterly miserable and life-changing.

  2. Miz H Says:

    That pretty much sums it up, Lunar.

  3. Courtney Says:

    Ooh! I can’t believe you had to kill your own goat! That’s a fascinating photo, Pring!

  4. Miz H Says:

    BTW, I’m already tentatively planning on going again in June.

  5. apollonia Says:

    my my that was some experience to be living in at 8 in the morning. and now i feel more confident that i can survive when and if the collapse happens. i’m all for living in a cabin in the woods minding my own business.

    yo miss h, i hope spring gave you the 10 bucks i owe ya, and that you could email me me the pics from the trip sometime. thanks!

  6. Does this mean I could give you one of my stone tools and request that you full-on butcher something with it? Because, if I can make that request, I will.

    And hopefully I can go one of these times.

    • okiefeminist Says:

      i’m gonna say probably. i might not be able to make pretty cuts, but i will butcher it nonetheless.

      what ‘something’ are we talking about butchering?

  7. Also, I realized that I have a lot of tips for sleeping comfortably in cold weather. You may know ’em already but just in case:

    Don’t just put blankets on top of you; put them UNDER you too. A lot of the cold of sleeping outside comes from the ground so the more you can insulate yourself from that cold, the better.

    Wear as much clothes as you can, including a hat and multiple pairs of socks.

    Pull the sleeping bag up as far as you can over your head without suffocating yourself.

    Better yet, have a sleeping partner. Zip your sleeping bags together (most modern sleeping bags are capable of doing this) and cuddle all night.

    Put another blanket over your tent on the outside (though be careful you don’t block any vents).

    Wool or down blankets -or better yet, the full skins of any animal with a lot of hair, like sheep or bears- are the absolute best. I’ve slept on top of a wool blanket with just a sheep skin over me and was not cold at all.

    Hope that helps!

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