Rabbit Stew

Lew Goddard


© Copyright 2023 by Lew Goddard

            Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
            Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The little town was situated in the centre of at the western prairies. The population rarely changed and then only due to the deaths and births. Everyone knew every one in town and in the farm land around.

Buster and Lew were cousins. His Grand parents lived in town and Buster’s mother was their daughter. The older folks were Grand Uncle and Aunt for Lew. He felt that they were also his grand parents.

Both young men were in good physical shape. Buster helped his dad in the general store that he owned. Stocking shelves and cleaning the premises. Lew also helped his dad who owned a delivery service.

They were fifteen years old and past what is called the awkward period for boys. They were gathering structure and muscle and would become large men.

Buster lived with his parents on the western side of the town and had the services of water and sewage disposal. The western side where they lived faced an open area of more than twenty acres. Residential growth was located on the north and south side of this property. The open area acted as part of the drainage from town. The creek took water when the snow melted and when it rained. Therefor no body developed residents in that region. It was covered with vegetation and trees that had been there for hundreds of years.

Lew’s parents lived on the south side of the railroad that passed east and west through the southern part of the town. Water service and sewage disposal were not provided south of the railroad. The cost was particularly too expensive for the town fathers to negotiate a tunnel under the railroad for underground services.  Consequently, the three blocks of residents had to look after their own services in the environment in that location.

In the winter of their fifteens, they had decided to do something very different in their spare time. They met on a bright sunny day adjacent to the west side of the small two horse barn in the rear of the lot which belonged to Buster’s parents. They each held a small rifle in 22 calibre. It was not strong enough for hunting deer or any large animal but they had decided that it would suffice to hunt rabbits. It was a cold day where the temperature was close to twenty below Fahrenheit. Therefore, both boys wore long body covering fleecy under ware, in addition to their parkas and mitts on their hands. They would have to shoot barehanded but that wouldn’t cause any cold problem. The wore moccasins encased in heavy wool socks when they had to walk through an abundance of snow.

They started to move through the vacant area to the west to gain access to the farm land where they knew rabbits would find shelter in the few trees many feet apart. The snow was deep and sometimes they had to struggle around snowbanks.

Upon arrival at one set of trees, they didn’t raise any rabbits and continued on. They saw a large rabbit some distance from the next row of trees and got close enough for Buster to attempt a shot.

Make sure that you shoot the head so that the bullet wouldn’t be in their body parts,” Lew summoned

The shot was good and they walked to see their victim, and indeed, he was dead with a shot to the head. It was a Jack, a male animal.

At first, they had little discomfort killing such a beautiful animal. But, they had a plan and it was taken back to the barn where they had originated their trip. It was hung by the feet and they proceeded to remove the fur, the body covering, First, they cut around each ankle and slid the sharp knife Buster had prepared to open the front body cavity. It was a struggle to strip the fur because they didn’t know how and never prepared for removing inner organs. Once the fur was off, they used the knife to remove the inner organs to leave the legs and back open for meat.

At this point, Buster went into the house and asked his mother what to do. She advised that it should hang and make sure all blood had disappeared and she would have Buster bring it into the house to the range and she would extract sufficient meat.

A couple of days later, the rabbit was on the range and Buster’s mother, Beatrice, cut the meat into small fragments that would fit into a large pot for cooking. In her past, she had at one time, had needed to have the meat from rabbits when money and food was very scarce. Her father helped a few times and after that she did it all.  That was why she was prepared to make rabbit stew.

Lew’s parents were informed and asked for ingredients for the stew. Potatoes, carrots, peas, (if any), and any such vegetable.

The pot was filled to its size, a half gallon. Beatrice, in her practical knowledge, arranged the ingredients, the meat, gravy and thickened it with probably, some flour. It was set on the range to cook for about two hours.

Lew’s parents were informed that the stew would be ready by supper time.

It was served on large plates to the six participants. Every one agreed that indeed, it was a very tasty and filling meal. Beatrice was rightfully proud.

Over the winter, the making of rabbit stew took place each month or less.

One day Buster and Lew brought a rabbit to the evisceration site and upon opening the body cavity, they found that it had a disease that caused the animal to bleed inside and rot until it died.

The decision was made at that point, that no further rabbits would be brought home for stew.

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