photo of the day (groundhog day. warning — gross images ahead!)

I don’t know how to sugar coat this so I’ll just tell you. The following images could be considered pretty gross. So I’m warning you that if you are sqeamish, you might want to take a deep breath or just pass this post over completely and return to the images of the horses or cute kitty.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I’ll set this up for you so you know where I’m coming from. My 14 year old son, Nick, has been attending an amazing program up at Great Hollow Wilderness school for several years now. He has been learning archery, tracking, fire building and the like. It’s been a wonderful experience for him and I really like the fact that he spends at least one day a week outside, away from the computer, getting down and dirty. Ethan was an amazing teacher and we will miss him and his wife, Melissa. But I have to say that I was jazzed after meeting Broch and Greg and feel certain that they will bring great things to Great Hollow and our kids. I left Nick in their capable hands and headed to Holbrook Farm to pick up our new kitty.

Predictably, when it was time to return and pick Nick up at the end of the day, Clare preferred to stay home with Cookie. I never expect Nick to jump in the car and leave right away so I parked and prepared myself to wait until he was ready to go. Just like when he was little, he seems to like to be the last to leave and so we watched as his group started to trickle out of the parking lot for home. Then I heard a commotion and saw a mini-van stopped in the driveway. The kids all ran over to see what was going on, followed closely behind by a couple of moms and Broch and Greg. They returned to the barn with the carcass of a poor groundhog who had been hit and killed by a car earlier in the afternoon. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, we were witnessing a demonstration of how to skin and gut a groundhog.

See, I told you things were going to get icky. Ready?

I wasn’t thinking clearly or you would be seeing pictures from much earlier on in the process. But I think I was so surprised and fascinated to be watching this whole thing that I didn’t even think to get my camera out until most of the groundhog fur was separated from the groundhog. Just know that watching Broch work with his knife was awesome and part of the fact that I didn’t take pictures was that I didn’t want to be distracted from what I was seeing. Eventually I came to my senses and grabbed my camera. So here goes. You are really ready for this, right?

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In this first picture, Broch has already removed almost all of the ground hog skin. He’s just working on that last little bit attached to the head.

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I’m telling you, this guy is an artist. That skin was going to be perfect.

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See how the skin is turned inside out?

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Do any of these kids look squeamish to you? I was amazed at how interested they all were.

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Once Broch finished removing the skin from the carcass, he handed it over to Greg who slipped it on his hand in order to turn it right side out. Look! A sock puppet!

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Right side out again and ready to be dried.

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Here is poor Mr. Groundhog (well, what’s left of him.) Now it’s time for Greg to take over and remove what’s inside.

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Are you grossed out? Remember that this is the most amazing lesson here. Where else would a kid not only get to learn about taking care of the earth and it’s creatures but also to be able to respectfully use it’s resources? A little anatomy, some survival skills thrown in for good measure? Perfect, if you ask me.

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Greg told us that he had every intention of cooking and eating Mr. Groundhog for dinner (lucky for him, I told him about removing the scent glands first – a little tidbit I learned from Farmer John Holbrook just the other day. How that came up in conversation is a story for another time.)

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Groundhog anatomy 101. Greg had us all guessing what was what as he removed parts from inside Mr. Groundhog. You get 5 points if you guessed this is a stomach.

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After Mr. Groundhog had been thoroughly inspected, inside and out, Greg buried the parts that he wasn’t going to cook and eat in an hole by the barn.

Nick had gone to the car about the time Greg brought his knife out to gut Mr. Groundhog but he wants all my pictures for his Facebook page. I’m sad that Mr. Groundhog had to lose his life but how many dead groundhogs are just rotting by the side of the road as carrion and food for crows and vultures. I think this Mr. Groundhog served a higher purpose.

I now return you to my blog which is normally filled with pictures of horses, flowers and cute little kitties.

~ by photobella on 15 September, 2009.

One Response to “photo of the day (groundhog day. warning — gross images ahead!)”

  1. Thank you for this, Sue. It brought tears to my eyes – for all the right reasons.

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