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If I ever teach butchery or dressing a carcass again

 
pollinator
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When you want to give away a puppy, you never offer it for free. You ask for a fee, even though you don't give a damn about the money. You give a damn about a good home. You want to weed out people who will treat the puppy badly, abuse, neglect, all that gick. The kinds of people who are willing to pony up hard-earned cash are the types much more likely to take good care of the animal, and be able to afford its care, and put the seller's (giver's) mind at ease. It's an effective winnowing fork.

So, even though your course is free, there should be a "cost" before someone gets in. Answer questions about this video (as suggested above). Send me a pic of your knives/saw/tools and how you keep them sharp. Donate $25 (or $50) to the local food bank in lieu of course fees, and send me a pic of the receipt. Okay, now I know you're serious: let's schedule.
 
gardener
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r ranson wrote:The big problem is, I don't feel it should be necessary to pay for this.  These skills should be open to anyone who asks.  

Because I believe this, I've often offered to teach for free.

But I do require the students to put the effort in to show they care about what they are learning.  That's where things go wrong.  

I just cannot do it anymore.  


It sounds like you've already gone above and beyond.
I've been a teacher for a good long time, and I truly believe that in-person learning is something that remote learning can't come close to (cf current educational fiasco due to Covid). BUUUUUUT a youtube video is pretty much made for sharing info at a basic level. If you feel the need to help people, you would definitely reach a good number with a video, maybe just have someone follow you as you dress a carcass. It won't answer every question, but..... an in-person class won't reach every person who attends, as you've (unfortunately, at cost) found out.
If you really feel a need to share, this is a good way to do it. But just my 2 cents. (my career lately has been focused on how to do my job while interacting with as few people as possible, and I hear your frustrations loud and clear. Plus the idea of having people AT MY PROPERTY USING MY TOOLS has me practically in conniptions just thinking about it).
 
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Hello! R Ransom
For years I have looked for your posts.  They impart true experiences and astute knowledge that comes from it.
Now here is my question.  May I use much of your knowledge and words from your post about never doing a butcher class again. I am preparing to do a community butcher event where I arrange for a local butcher to come teach a class on our farm, with our sheep.
If you are ok with it, may I say I'm quoting you on the document?
Thirdly may I post it to the thread for others to use if they are able to?
Thanks so very much.
I hope you haven't given up on the teaching.
Carmen
 
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Carma Nykanen wrote:Hello! R Ransom
For years I have looked for your posts.  They impart true experiences and astute knowledge that comes from it.
Now here is my question.  May I use much of your knowledge and words from your post about never doing a butcher class again. I am preparing to do a community butcher event where I arrange for a local butcher to come teach a class on our farm, with our sheep.
If you are ok with it, may I say I'm quoting you on the document?
Thirdly may I post it to the thread for others to use if they are able to?
Thanks so very much.
I hope you haven't given up on the teaching.
Carmen



My first thought was "I hope it doesn't make me sound like a cranky old woman"  Then I thought, "what's wrong with that?  Isn't it my goal in life to become that cranky old spinster that knows a lot about ... but people leave alone unless they want to learn about ... so much that they will put up with me?"

As long as you cite back to this thread, I would be okay with you quoting my words for a document.  

I think it would be lovely if you would share the document with permies readers.
 
Carma Nykanen
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Allrighty folks. Here is the rough draft.

I'm a bit dense on how to post so it shows up on here so could i beg someone to help me with that?

I'm having a few fine folks proofread for content and such. Feel free to help me twist it if you see any changes that could be made. Of course, I wiggled everything around to fit our purposes.
I'll post the finished product here for other people to use if they wish.

Thanks R.Ransom.  Your legacy lives on......

Autumn 2020

Welcome to Old Schoolhouse Creek’s inaugural butchering classes. We are happy you will be joining us.  The Lessons will be taught in three different classes on separate days.

First lesson: Tools, attire, anatomy, a full demonstration of a kill/butcher process, and safety all the way.

Second Lesson: Location, tools, humane kill, hands on skinning, and proper evisceration, preserving organs and other useful bits, and quartering.  Finishing with the proper hanging environment and time.

Third Lesson: Proper environment, tools, animal anatomy, a summary of the cuts depending on desired meals, packaging with options, recipe roundtable.

Requirements for class:  
• Pay money to reserve your spot.  Complete payment within 24 hours of class starting.
• Bring own butchering knive(s) with sharpener and sheath (See attached acceptable knife qualities)
• Watch: THIS/THESE VIDEO(s)

Event price breakdown:  Animal cost, Butcher’s fee, Rental fee of equipment, packaging supplies

Things to know:
 There will not be any knives to borrow. You must bring your own and a way to keep it sharp.  It should have a sheath for when it’s not in your hand.
 You will be asked to show your knives when you arrive.
 You will memorize the mantra: “Knife is for flesh. Saw is for bone”.
 Check the supplies list to see if there are any tools you could bring to use or to share if you are willing. It really helps.
 This may be intense for some. You will get hungry and thirsty. Be prepared.

Tool Etiquette:
 If you are to hand a tool you do so with the handle towards them and the blade pointing at the ground.
 No tool will be put on the ground at any time. It is a tripping hazard and very dangerous.
 A sharp knife is a dream to work with. A dull knife is time consuming, frustrating, and dangerous.


Farm:
 Only bring the people you have agreed upon to the farm.
 No children under 12 unless previously discussed. All that come should be prepared to be involved.
 No one is to interact with the livestock. If you’d like to do so, arrange another time.
 No wandering to other areas of the farm.
 No smoking, drugs, drinking on the farm.
 No dogs.

Lessons:
 The Instructor is in charge of the butcher. All are to show their respect for the instructor by listening, talk quietly when needing to talk to another, and do all they can to not impede the instruction from being heard.
 The tools are designed to disembowel and carve up an animal roughly your size in under 20 min.  One mistake will seriously harm a human in less time than you can say "let me just reach in and grab this for you"
 At any time anyone can yell "HOLD!" at which time, EVERYONE freezes and waits for instruction
 One person at a time on a carcass. The person with the knife is ‘in charge’ of the carcass and all others will not touch unless otherwise instructed.
 When invited they are to touch ONLY the part as they were instructed and not to anticipate the needs of the knife holder.
 It is essential that the class to conducted in a timely manner to keep the meat in good condition.  
 Please ask questions when opportunity arises but be listening when others ask as they may have just asked your question for you.

Most importantly!
 You will show respect for the life that just ended.
 You will treat the farm with respect to show appreciation to them hosting this event.
 Value the opportunity to learn and get hands on when invited to.  Get all you can out of the experience.
 This agreement and accompanied Release of Liability will need to be signed by all attendees.

Gear recommended:
 Apron
 Rubber boots
 Hair tie to keep hair out of face
 Headlamp, yes could still be helpful at midday


When we are clear about our expectations of our participants and they are followed through with, and our instruction is on point and allowed to flow, the participants will be satisfied with their experience.

After rereading what has been outlined, if there is anything that is unclear be sure to let us know. This is a grassroots endeavor and we don’t claim to have it all figured out but we are doing our best to ensure it will empower you to take on butchering on your own.

This Document was largely written from the wisdom of R. Ranson, Left coast Canada’s experience. https://permies.com/t/40/116852/teach-butchery-dressing-carcass
Please look up what she wrote.  You’ll get a good laugh and more than a few Ah-ha’s .
 
Tereza Okava
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Hi Carma,
just a thought (from someone who works with all sorts of prepayment silliness)- maybe it`s just me but it is not clear to me when the person has to pay, and that tends to be the part people have the most problems with anyway.
You say prepayment so I imagine it is "payment must be received by 24 hours before the class starts", but then I`m not sure if you`re receiving payment within that 24 hour span prior to class (that morning? as they walk in?)
If it were my slippery clients I`d say something concrete with no wiggle:
Our class starts at 9AM on Wednesday. Class must be prepaid (via whatever method) by 9AM on Tuesday in order to guarantee your spot.
Other than that it looks good!
 
Carma Nykanen
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Thanks Tereza,
I appreciate your input. I do want all payment before the event. I don't want to deal with it the day of.... a small amount to save your place at the event. final payment a day before??  Perhaps a few days before so we could call next on the list if they were to not show...

Figuring out how much to charge and the like.  I've been scouting around and perhaps that's another question i could put to the permies folk.... input?
I'm going to visit with a potential butcher (i'm just the loyal assistant and it'll be at my place) tonight and he's going to set his price.  

I'm happy to hear the rest sounded ok to another person
 
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Carma, nicely done! Are you willing to have the class teach people how to sharpen their knives? If not, you might make it clear up front. If this was in my area, I can imagine half the people showing up with dull knives, waiting until after the class starts to decide to do something about it, then say, "I thought you would do it/teach us how to do it." I would be tempted to write, "knives should razor sharp upon arrival." Some will likely carelessly pack them and they will be slightly dulled in transit, but should be able to be quickly touched-up after inspection and before class. You might specify if electricity will be available for electric sharpeners.
 
r ranson
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maybe

"Complete payment within 24 hours of class starting."
"Complete payment is due 24 hours prior to the start of class"

??

 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:The big problem is, I don't feel it should be necessary to pay for this.  These skills should be open to anyone who asks.  

Because I believe this, I've often offered to teach for free.

But I do require the students to put the effort in to show they care about what they are learning.  That's where things go wrong.  

I just cannot do it anymore.  




I think Nicole was on the right track to just deal with this.
Make the people WORK and not PAY to earn the course.

Money puts a lot out of balance in our society, some have a lot of it and didn't have to work
hard for it, while others work hard and still have none.
So when you make them PAY for the course there will still be bad apples, as those who think that they
paid for the course so now you have to obey them.

I would suggest to make everyone who wants the course, do a full work day on your farm:
- this way you can get to know the people's behaviour/work ethics and obidience, thus sorting out the worst apples, or even "educate" them to listen to you
- Part of this work-day could be sharpening/repairing the knives, i think this is a HUGE one,
because then they will learn how munch damage is actually done when they abuse the tools
and they will be more incited to take care of the tools
- You engange more on a personal level to gain mutual trust, before going into the "dangerous" course
- They can learn more skills in terms of food self-suffencicy and respect the farm

Also i really admire your ethics that you don't want to charge money for your course.

I think it is a reasonable argument to say:
"Hey i do this course with sharp knives and stuff, i HAVE to know wheter you can follow my rules before we do that!"
I also think anyone who is eager to learn the skills you have to offer will not be driven away
by working one day on the farm, i assume it will even attract the type of people you WANT to teach.
 
pollinator
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I'll be hosting a chicken slaughter class in a couple weeks.  I'm charging $40, but that includes lunch and 2 whole chickens they can take home at the end.  The fee is formally for the class and the cost of the lunch, and the chickens are just a "thank you" for the help and good attitudes.  

I was a little surprised to only get 2 takers, but that's fine.  I didn't want a massive crowd anyway, and I have other friends showing up to help, so I don't really need the help from strangers.
 
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It is very instructive to read about the low quality of the experience you are having with the folks who accept your free offering.  I feel like we are seeing "self-regulation and feedback" in action on this thread!   I really sympathize with your impulse to offer these classes for free because you want to share the information.   Consider this, though -- you have a very useful skill.  Therefore your time is precious and valuable.  A wise gardener puts their seeds in the soft garden earth, not throwing them on the hard asphalt road.  A class experience which takes you days to recover from costs you, yourself, too much in your time and energy.   I think the ideas of setting clear expectations, making sure students have prepared and pre-paid, and the idea of exchanging work for a class are all good.  

One thing I have not seen on this thread is the idea of a scholarship.  It might not be convenient for you at one point in time to have folks to work on the farm, or it might not be the right time of year.  Making prospective students fill out a scholarship form with some questions, and maybe even supply references, could also provide the same “skin in the game” on their part.  i.e. why do you want to take this class?  What prior experience do have with x?  Have you ever Y?    That sort of thing.  Just a thought.
 
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r ranson wrote:This is a reminder to myself more than anything.  If I ever teach anyone to dress a carcass again, I must enforce the following:

The cost for my time reflects the amount of stress.  For this task, it is a minimum of $50 per hour up to the agreed amount of time (usually 2 hours to learn to dress a sheep or goat).  After that, it is $100 per half hour!
For every future bad experience I have in this area, the rates will go up and this list will get longer.

Please note (and this is IMPORTANT) that dressing a carcass does not mean butchering.  Dressing involves skinning, cleaning, and cutting into halves or quarters.  Butchering is the act of cutting into meal size chunks - this is a whole different lesson and is not done at the same time as dressing.  Please do not expect or demand that I include it in the dressing lesson as the time was not scheduled for it.  


Tools!

  • I no longer lend my edged tools (knives, saws, other kitchen cutting up tools)
  • You are welcome to rent my knife - cost is $100 per knife (it takes a minimum of two hours to repair the damage done to the blade when people borrow my knife so now it costs money to use it)
  • You can buy the same knife off me for $50
  • You can purchase the same knife from the shop for about $32 ($25 on sale in the House of Knives, and $13 on Amazon)
  • Same rate goes for borrowing my bone saw - rent=$100, buy = $50, buy in the shop = $12 ($4 on sale)
  • You will memorize the mantra: Knife is for Flesh.  Saw is for Bone.
  • Hint: I'm encouraging you to buy and bring your own equipment
  • If renting my knife, it will not be placed on the ground at any time.  If you must place it down, use the sheath it came with.  Place sheath on the belt for easy access.  The sheath is washable.
  • No tool will be placed on the ground at any time.  This is a tripping hazard and dangerous.  
  • You will not hand the knife to others point first.
  • When handing the knife to another person, you turn the knife so that the handle is towards the other person and the edge of the wepon is towards the ground.  



  • Farm!
  • you will not bring more people onto the farm than agreed.  
  • you will not endanger your children by encouraging them to interact with the livestock
  • if your children are not participating in the lesson, then they can wait in your vehicle with the windows appropriately down.
  • If there is a sign saying "beware of..." there is a very good reason for that sign.  If you disregard this sign you put your children's lives in danger.  If this continues, there will soon be a Beware of Farmer sign.  If you insist on trying to kill your children, please do it somewhere else!
  • This is not a free version of a petting zoo.  These are working animals who are trained to defend themselves.
  • You shall not smoke on the farm.  This includes but is not limited to e-cigs, regular cigs, cigars, pipes, and those special cigarettes.  There is an extreme risk of wildfires and I'm sick of emptying the well to put out grassfires thank you very much!
  • No drugs allowed on the farm
  • Do not bring your dog on the farm without first consulting us - this not for our chicken's protection.  This is for your dog's protection.  The chickens like the taste of dog.  The bigger and more lively the dog, the more our chickens enjoy eating it... if the geese don't get there first.  DO NOT expect us to dogsit.



  • Lessons!
  • At any time anyone can yell "HOLD!" at which time, EVERYONE freezes and waits for instruction.  This does not mean "finish cutting then look around"  This means  "STOP YOU BLEEPING BLEEPER AND DON'T DO A THING BECAUSE OF SERIOUS INJURY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!"
  • Do not take the piss with the HOLD rule.
  • If I am giving the lesson, I am in charge of this event.  These tools are designed to disembowel and carve up an animal roughly your size in under 20 min.  One mistake will seriously kill a human in less time than you can say "let me just reach in and grab this for you"
  • You asked me to show you how to do this because I have done it before and you have not.  Do not give me the girl treatment - push me to one side - get frustrated because it's 'too hard' - then act shocked when I can do in about 6 seconds what you struggled for 20 min to attempt.  I have done this before.  Yes, I am a Girl!  But I learned from the best and I learned by listening to the teacher.  I've done this many times in the past.
  • Dressing a carcass has nothing to do with strength.  It only requires two tools: a brain and a sharp knife.
  • One person with a knife at a time on the carcass - the person with the knife is 'in charge' of the carcass and all others will not touch the meat unless otherwise instructed - at which time they will ONLY touch the part as they were instructed and not attempt to anticipate the needs of the knife holder
  • if the gambrel was meant to stay fixed, it wouldn't swing around like that.  It hangs loose so that we can move the meat instead of spraining our wrists.  Suddenly grabbing hold (without first being asked) and steading the carcass can cause serious strain on the wrist or the knife to slip off course and end up in your wrist.  That was a very near miss.
  • You will not keep stopping the lesson for self-e or force your children to come and take pictures with my knife, thus delaying the lesson. It is disrespectful for the life that just ended and the teacher who has already cancelled two important appointments to help you learn this skill.



  • Most importantly!
  • You will show respect for the life that just ended.
  • You will treat the farm with respect!  This farm is a source of food for many people. Do not trample the food.  
  • Just because you see something does not mean it is for sale.  
  • Just because it is a farm, does not mean that you can demand to pay less than in a shop.
  • you will treat me with respect.  My time is valuable.  I am not on vacation even if you are.
  • arriving 45 min late for the lesson does not show respect.
  • expecting me to drop everything I'm doing and give you free lessons without advance warning, does not show respect



  • This list is an accumulation of several times teaching this skill.  It may be that I won't teach it again because after I do, I come away feeling hugely disrespected.  I suspect this is because I did not lay down ground rules before we start.  

    Thinking about this more - the above also applies to butchery (the cutting up of the meat - which is a separate lesson from the dressing of the carcass).  I don't think I'll be doing this at home again so the student must provide a kitchen with the minumum counterspace and a pre-determined list of equipment.



    This has given me pause.  I was actually considering teaching this skill this winter.  I grew up both on a farm and in a small, family owned grocery store that included a real butcher shop.  Real butchery and charcuterie is a passion of mine, along with hunting, trapping, fishing and farm life.  I think we share the artisan mindset of cutting meat.  I do seam butchery and use the whole animal as much as possible.  I eat the organ meats and love them!  I thought that if people paid and took time to learn how to do things right and respectfully, such concerns would not be an issue.  Now, I don't know.... maybe I could do game processing and locker rental... charge more than I should to ensure clients who appreciate it.  I'd really rather share my skills though.  This is very troubling.
     
    Andrew Mayflower
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    I’ve been offering chicken slaughter classes when I’m processing my broilers.  It’s worked out well so far.  I don’t do it for free, but I also don’t lose money on the deal either.  $40 per person, and I include lunch, coffee and a chicken.  I also spell out the expectations and consequences for failure to meet those expectations.  So far, knock on wood, no issues.
     
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