When you're raising most of your own meat, freezer capacity is essential. After butchering 25 broilers, 10 lambs, 20 ducks, plus some geese and turkeys...you need to have a place to put it for the next year. We have two good-sized chest freezers in the garage, and a smallish one in the basement. We keep lamb and goat meat in one of the big ones, birds and garden produce (peppers, etc) in the other big one, and a mix of things in the small one.
Anyway, I went to the garage this afternoon to take some lamb shanks out to make stew for tomorrow's dinner. Hadn't even intended to check to other large freezer, but on a lark decided to look and see if a stray round steak had ended up in there; I needed one for later in the week. To my horror, something in that other freezer had malfunctioned. The light was on, indicating it had power, but the meat was nearly all thawed!
I got Mrs Yeoman Farmer, and together we took a closer look at the meat. Fortunately, there wasn't a whole lot left...but what we had was special and we'd been saving for guests: three nice heritage turkeys, a big broad-breasted turkey, three big geese, and a couple of small ducks. While the meat was too far thawed to be re-frozen, it was still cool. We smelled it, and it's definitely not yet spoiled.
So...guess who's now running both ovens and the crock pot, and will be until late this evening? And has a kitchen that smells like Thanksgiving? Our plan is to cook all the meat today, bone it, put some aside for this week's meals, and freeze the rest in gallon sized freezer bags in the basement. We'll throw all the bones into large pots, and let them simmer all night making turkey and goose soup.
Needless to say, I put those lamb shanks back in the freezer. We're going to be feasting on turkey and goose all week. We also called a couple of nearby families that have several kids; they each took a turkey off our hands.
As frustrating as it is to lose this much special meat, particularly because I butchered all of it myself, I'm thankful it wasn't the freezer with the lamb and goat; that one is very full. It's fortunately just a relative handful of birds, and I'm grateful we discovered the malfunction before the meat spoiled. Had this happened just a few weeks later, that freezer would've been full of broilers and ducks. Glad it happened now, while I can go shopping for a new one.