Last night we had Venison Tenderloin for dinner, and boy was it good!

One of the perks of living in the high country is being able to harvest food from our own land. In addition to the garden and ducks we keep for eggs, we are able to hunt game on our property. Recently, Tim was able to shoot a deer, which provides us with roughly 65 lbs of healthy venison to eat.

This is all new to me. I do not come from a hunting background. I grew up in a suburb in Northern California—not a country girl there by any means. But, as I migrated over the years to areas that have become more and more rural, my city upbringing has long been left behind. Tim keeps asking me if I ever dreamed I would be doing some of the things that are normal for me now. I actually used to dream of living in a cabin in the woods (ala “Little House In The Big Woods”). I thought I would have a garden and a dog, and live happily ever after. I just didn’t know what all that kind of rural life might entail.

With all the deer in our area, and there are a lot of them, we’ve long thought we would like some venison. This year Tim was able to get a license for a buck, so during his hunting week we were on the lookout. He was able to shoot this buck just after dinner one evening. Peacefully grazing, the buck went down with one clean shot. We did all the cleaning and butchering ourselves; the first time for both of us, thanks to some YouTube videos. After some research, we decided to let the meat age in the refrigerator, vacuum-sealed. We’d heard that the tenderloin would not need as much aging, so after 3 weeks, we had that for dinner last night. My next project will be to trim and package the meat for the freezer. We look forward to many meals of this nice venison over the next few months.

Some would argue that it’s cruel to hunt, or that for some reason it is wrong. Are these people all vegetarians? If not, where do they think their meat comes from? I guess they prefer grocery store meat that comes from animals raised in horrific conditions—small corrals or pens, tumbling over each others’ feces all day long, given unnatural hormones & antibiotics, fed grains they wouldn’t normally eat, driven through chutes to slaughter. I would rather eat meat from animals that lived a natural, happy life, and that died happily grazing. Ya can’t get more natural than this—no food additives, just natural vegetation for food. We do appreciate watching our wildlife, and are always on the lookout, not just for food, but for the enjoyment of seeing the animals on our turf. But there is a balance: with plenty of deer around and our need for food, we are grateful for the opportunities we have here to eat more naturally.

One at a time, I will need to learn to cook each cut of the venison. Some will be roasted, some stewed, and some ground for burgers or sausage. I’m sure all will be a treat, and a great savings on our grocery bills.

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