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Co-operative bees were also an important part of village life. Work . such as repairing village streets, care of the community water supply and threshing were co-operative community affairs involving the entire village. The most social of these activities was hog slaughtering in the late fall. Coming after the threshing season and fall ploughing, this activity not only provided food for the winter, but represented a month long harvest festival as this description illustrates.
Each family would set a fall date, often in early November, and invite several farm couples to participate. Later this help would be reciprocated.
Several days of food preparation preceded the event. The days before hog slaughtering was one offeverish family activity. Equipment was borrowed from neighbours if necessary. The ropes and blocks, vat (Miagropes) for boiling cracklings and lard, a trough for scalding, the sausage machine, and ladders, tubs and other necessities were set ready. In the evening the men inspected their Schlachtmesser (butcher knives).
Early in the morning of the appointed day, before the break of dawn, the invited men and women would gather for breakfast at the designated house. When light appeared in the eastern sky and the stars faded away, it was time to go outside for the shooting. A glass of wine, on occasion, preceded the event.
A popular figure at these gatherings was the Utnehma, a person skilled in the art of evisceration. An Utnehma of repute generally received many invitations to hog slaughtering bees.
The task of killing, scalding and shearing, eviscerating and cutting up the meat of the two to six hogs being slaughtered was generally completed by noon. Women customarily sterilized the hog's intestines for sausage ...
The noon meal was a sumptuous affair enjoyed by young and old.