Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Getting the Conditions Right for Butchering

Whenever sheep or goats have been butchered at Opportunity Farm, they were hung up in the shed where we park the cars. This could be quite a surprise for anyone arriving home, flinging open the sliding doors to find a carcass or two swinging in the breeze. We are fortunate that our neighbour does this task for us so we often did not know exactly when it was going to happen.
An uninsulated tin shed is not the best place to hang a beast. In winter or on cool days it was OK but not for as long as the meat needed to become rested and tender. In summer it was a no-go.

So we needed a special place to keep carcasses cool. A small room was built in one of the sheds - concrete floor, insulated walls and ceiling. Two strong hanging rails were bolted to the ceiling. This was fine but still needed something to lower the temperature.

First an air-conditioner was purchased, a frame built and it poked through a wall into the room. This was a great device but it did not cool the room lower than 16 degrees. Not cool enough.
A trawl on Ebay seemed to provide us with a solution. An imported Chinese air cooler claimed to be everything we needed. Once it arrived it was installed. It needed to be inside the room so the hole for the air-conditioner had to be filled in and brackets installed in the ceiling. Hopes were high as we turned it on. The fan made a nice noise but the room temperature went up. Internal investigation of this unit showed it had no compressor or coolant. Back to square one.

Our local air-con man (local in the widest sense - 140kms away) said that he would have a look at the unit. Several weeks later came the news that it would cost thousands for the additional devices to make the air cooler effective.

Once we realized that what we were after was a 'hanging shed' - a place that kept cool to a few degrees in the hotter parts of the day a few times a year - and not a "coolroom" - a place that stays cool at almost zero degrees indefinitely 24/7 - then we could work on a new plan.
The original air conditioner could 'at our own risk' be doctored to cool lower than 16 degrees. A few more months of trying to coordinate dropping it off and picking up both devices came to an end today when they were collected.
The Returned Air-Conditioner Unit outside the 'Hanging Shed'
Now to rebuild the frame and the hole in the wall and maybe... just maybe.... the room will cool enough to hang some beasts and clear some of the backlog. Fingers crossed!

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