I canned venison today. I only got 7 quarts so far, but have more to do tomorrow as well as some moose meat to can too. I will probably do the rest in pints and maybe even mix some deer meat with the moose for a little different flavour. Hubby and I actually cut up an entire deer carcass and froze steaks and a couple of roasts. Any pieces that didn't fit into either of the first two categories got cut into chunks and canned.
Canning meat is very long and labour intensive, if you don't have a pressure canner (I bought my first one last year), it is even longer. Meat being easily contaminated takes extra work to keep it clean, the jars must be sterilized and the canning time must not be cut down. Although the pressure canner is only 90 minutes cooking time as compared to 4 hours cooking time with the standard boiling water bath, the prep time and cool down time make it feel like 4 hours. The best thing about the pressure method is there is much less chance of any contaminates living through the process.
It all got me to thinking about the "olden" days, not even that "olden", just 50 years ago. My parents didn't have a freezer until the 60's and my grandparents never had one or even electricity! I remember the brine barrel in the basement when I was very young, we would butcher a pig, cut it up and then keep it in brine in a oak barrel in the cool. Roasts and cuts that could be cut into chops would be kept in there, the bacon and hams were cured by Mum and the rest was canned.
Mum also told me that they used to try to butcher or get wild meat late enough in the fall that it was freezing out, they would cut it up, wrap it and keep it buried in the grain in the granary, natures own freezer. Maybe that's why farmers kept and ate a lot of chicken, you didn't have to worry about the meat until you were ready to eat it.
On another note - my Christmas cactus is blooming. It is one I've had for 5 years and started as just a little branch., this is the first time it has bloomed. I have a really big one I got from my sister -in-law Genny, and it is covered in buds too. It usually blooms from November until late February a bright spot in a cold grey winter.