Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Day 65, Lamb - 9/11
by Shana & Jerrad

Our alarm clock was much quieter this go round. It was Viki's day off so Jesse kindly knocked on our door at eight am instead of the usual Casa Luisa holler. We walked down to the kitchen to help prepare breakfast. During breakfast we learned what activities we would fill the fist part of the day with. We were to go to an old wine cellar that Jesse had been refurbishing to clean up. We went down to the back of the house to get some tools. We grabbed a bucket, some water, a brush, and a sledge hammer. I thought, "What better cleaning tool than a sledge hammer?".
We made it to the cellar and we were informed of our tasks. Shana was to clean the rock wall with the water bucket and I was to take the bigger rocks, smash them into smaller rocks and try to make the ground level. Smash and level? That's one of my favorite all time activities. Whilst Shana was scrubbing I was SMASHING and LEVELING like a savage. I smashed so hard the head of the sledge hammer fell off, so I did what any Viking bearded berserker would do and grabbed the pick axe and Godzilla'ed my ass off. Meanwhile Jesse had learned of a lamb that was going to be slaughtered and the blood, internal organs, head, and balls were up for grabs. He came back and told me there were three lambs getting slaughtered and if I wanted to see the process I could. I figured, "Why not?".  Operation Smash, Level, Clean Rock was going off without a hitch (minus the sledge hammer hitch which was corrected easily) and Jesse came back to scoop me up to see the last sheep get slaughtered. 
We arrived at the Shepard's house just as they were getting the last lamb ready. ***WARNING!!! THE NEXT BIT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. THIS IS HOW A SMALL VILLAGE PROCESSES A LAMB AND USES EVERY BIT OF THE ANIMAL (i.e. food, materials, etc). I AM SHARING MY EXPERIENCE. ONCE AGAIN THIS IS VERY DETAILED AND SOME MAY FIND IT DISTURBING*** The two men took the lamb and put him back side down on a wooden X. The lamb didn't move that much. I think he knew what he was getting into. The shepherd then took a knife and stabbed the live lamb behind the trachea and cut all the way through to the other side to cut jugular vein and the carotid artery. They let the blood drip out into a container to be used made into food and the lamb calmly accepted his fate and was put to rest. Some breaths came out as he was passing. The last breaths of the living. As the rest of the blood drained from his neck the shepherd grabbed the lamb's neck and broke it. This was to prevent anymore suffering. The lamb's leg muscles acted out their last run and then the lamb went completely limp. The shepherd then made an incision by the right, rear ankle of the lamb and inserted a long smooth stick, underneath the skin, and ran it up the side of the lamb to the neck then pulled it all the way back. He then put the stick in again at an angle towards the front, left elbow of the lamb and pulled it back. Lastly he put it through and angled toward the bottom of the stomach/upper left part of the hip. The shepherd then took out the long stick and inserted a small wooden straw (approximately four inches long) made of cane. He took a deep breath and blew into the cane straw. The air ran into the newly created tunnels left by the stick. He took another breath and blew into the cane. The tunnels spread and took over the body. The shepherd did this repeated this and literally inflated the lamb. This separated the skin from the muscle. When the lamb was inflated the shepherd took the stick and hit the sternum to release the skin from the bone. He then let the air out of the lamb and cut the skin from the anus up to the jawline of the lamb. He also cut the skin at the joints of each leg.
The shepherd then broke the limbs off at the elbows/knees of each leg, by hand, and set them aside in a dish. The two men then preceded to peel the skin off the muscles. The shepherd put a small incision in the back tendons. This was so they could hang the lamb on hooks. They hung lamb head down. The shepherd made an eight inch incision on the lamb from the bottom of the sternum towards the anus. The liver, spleen, small and large intestines, stomach, and pancreas, were released from their former homes and slid into a bucket that the other gentleman had positioned. He then ran the same incision all the way up to the bottom of the lower abdomen, opening lamb completely. The rib cage was separated by using a small axe to break the sternum. The testicles were then removed using a knife. After gathering the gonads the shepherd had cut the head off with the lungs attached and put it into a bucket where the other two heads were being held. The two men then took the lamb off the hooks and put it into a different room to hang on hooks to dry and finish bleeding. The small leg muscles were still twitching, using what last ATP was left in them as rigor mortis started to set in. I was asked to gather Shana and we went back to the house for lunch. 
We arrived at the house and Jessie said he saw an old lady neighbor on the way. He asked if she wanted a sheep head and she said "No duh I want a sheep head".* We then fixed and ate lunch. After witnessing a sheep being processed and completing everyones favorite game SMASH AND LEVEL, I needed a nap. I'm going to let Shana finish the post. 

I obviously skipped the lamb murder. Jerrad and I worked a bit more on cleaning stone wall, smashing and leveling but were summoned back to Casa Luisa for lunch. We arrived with Jesse boiling blood and cooking lamb stuff. I didn't know boiling blood was even a thing. Then lunch was served. I tried to eat while simultaneously attempting to shut off my olfactory senses. It didn't work. When everyone got full we headed to the bar for our daily beer and wi-fi. When we were internetted out we headed back the house for nap time. Yes, our helpx host let us nap after lunch and beer instead of immediately getting back to work.
Jerrad woke me up from my nap with the best news ever; I was going to a local village to buy YARN! The previous day I had mentioned to Jesse and Maria that I crochet a lot and went to school for fiber arts. I showed them some pictures of stuff I had made and they asked if I could make some art and handy things for their house. I said heck yes, so they arranged a meeting with the local fiber lady so I could buy supplies. I wasn't sure when I was going to get to go, or if I would actually get to make art as my helpx contribution, so when Jerrad woke me up with that news I was STOKED. I jumped out of bed, got dressed and headed down stairs.
Jerrad and Jesse Man went to work in the garden to harvest onions, tomatoes, and beans while Viki, Maria, and I went to the abandoned village of Trillo, where the only remaining resident is Merce. We drove through some beautiful hills and about 40 minutes later we arrived in Trillo, where we were greeted by some cute dogs. We walked up to a beautiful house that was covered in vines and flowers. We said hello to Merce and out of the corner of my eye I spotted some hand spun yarn laying out to dry in the sun. I got super excited and couldn't wait to see what was inside the house.
Once we got into the house I felt like I was in heaven. There was a loom with a weaving still on it, wool being combed, nuno felt, quilted mandalas, a cat, pretty hand dyed skeins everywhere and wool fleece. I was in a fiber paradise. Maria asked me what kind of project I could make from the materials and what kind of art project I would like to do. I decided the yarn could be good for either seat covers or hot pads, and the fleece could be good for a felted tapestry. While googling some images of crocheted granny squares (for inspiration), I mentioned the process of shibori to Merce. She had never heard of the process before and was very excited for me to share the process with her. Because she was so thankful for the new information, she gave me some merino wool as a thank you. I had my art project material! Next it was time to pick out the colors of yarn for Maria's kitchen project. We picked out dark brown, olive green, orange and a skein that altered between green and orange. I accidentally (or maybe on purpose) picked out my favorite 70's colors. Whoops. After talking with Merce for a bit more, we headed back to Secastilla to eat some dinner.
When we got back to the house, Jerrad and Jesse were finishing their dinner of BOILED BLOOD LOAF. If you're thinking "Fuckin' yuck.", you are 100% right. Jerrad said eating it made him feel barbaric. I still refused to kiss his yucky blood mouth until he brushed his teeth 5 times. Luckily there were also delicious, freshly harvested vegetables to eat (and the blood was out of sight), so the other girls and I ate our dinner in peace. After nom noms, we headed to the bar for some wi-fi and beer. Then we went back to the house to hang out in the attic for a bit before going to bed. It was definitely an eventful, memorable day. 

*Not literal translation, but close enough.

a castle in view


  1. Jerrad, we can sure use your new "Smash and Level" technique on our rock yard here. And did you follow the recipe for blood loaf? Dad #2 wanted to know. And I didn't know a lamb chop was so bloody much trouble. Glad I haven't had any in 10 yrs. Shana, sounds like you are in fiber heaven. Getting it right at the source. Hope you can save a remnant for a souvenir.

    1. I'm gonna sneak in some blood loaf to dad's next spaghetti dinner