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Refrigeration

Meat Safe

One of the things I remember most from the house that I showed you yesterday was the fridge.  Here, before I explain, take a look.

This area that was covered in is between the two parts of the house.  The water tank was undercover to keep it cool, and hanging next to it is the meat safe.

I have a closer image.

This is so amazing that this was it and this is how they kept their food.  Meat was put in the meat safe to keep the flies off it.  I don’t know if they put anything else in it.  I don’t know how long the meat stayed in it, bit funny when you think they survived doing this, and yet we are told not to let our meat defrost on the bench.  I grew up with meat being defrosted on the draining board of the sink, never got sick from it, but apparently it is bad for you.  Go figure, our paranoid world and our fear of germs plays such an important part.  Advertising companies have earned their money there.

I downloaded a trial version of HDR Efex Pro 2, by Nik Software.  I got involved in trying it out and forgot about time, but more on that later.  I knew that I wanted to do the meat safe today, though when I went to do the second image, there were problems with bracketed shots, and instead of it being a 3, 4 or 5 image HDR it was done with a single image.  Tonal mapping added and then what, well.

Sometimes I load an image up that I want to work on, and when confronted with it, I don’t know, I just can’t figure out how to do what I want to do.  I have to play, leave it, go and have a cup of tea, go back and keep playing.  This image was definitely like that.  It has been a really difficult image to work with.  Unlike the first one.

The first one, it was easy, it is a 4 image HDR, and I knew that I wanted the point of focus to be that meat safe, and next the water tank, so I made sure the lighting highlighted those.

I hope you like both, I do, and in the end I am really happy with how both came out.

I am doing a webinar in the morning, hopefully going to learn some cool tricks to use with some other software.  Also, as I previously stated I also downloaded HDR Efex Pro 2 today.  I have played with it, not sure about it.  I really like the results I get with Photomatix, and I have to wonder, do I really need to purchase more software to do the same thing, how much better can it be?  I do like the fact that you can use it as a plugin in Photoshop.  I am going to have to play with it a lot more, to be in a better position to judge.

I am going to post the original images from the first two now.

The meat safe was probably one of the hardest things to photograph.  It was rocking in the gentle wind.  Oh well, that happens.  Anyway I have talked enough.

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Seems that meat safe would make you incredibly ill without refrigeration. Meat was once salted to preserve but… I thought the safe was to keep the roaming varmints away.

    July 16, 2012
    • I don’t know, I think they would have had stronger constitutions that us in our no bug world. As far as I know they didn’t salt meat here, it is not something I have ever come across here, and never heard anyone talking about. As for roaming varmints, there weren’t that many, foxes, but they were introduced, and so were dogs. I suppose there were dingos, though I don’t think they were everywhere. I am pretty sure they were up high for what you said, but the mesh covering it was to keep the flies away. I have heard of stories of sheep being cut up and then they had to eat it straight away, or within a few days. I would imagine in summer it didn’t happen so much.

      July 16, 2012
  2. ☆ MagicAperture #

    The cropped image is awesome, it looks like the battered travel machine of a time lord, fantastic!

    July 16, 2012
    • You watch Dr Who, haha, The really extraordinary thing about the meat safe, is that it is still there. Thanks

      July 16, 2012
  3. Great picture – worrying that they had to keep the safe that far off the floor, though I suspect that rats could possibly still get to it from above – they’re dab hands/paws at hand over hand and acrobatics. I remember meat safes in use in dark pokey kitchens or cool pantries and milk on a shady step in a bucket of cold water with a hat on the bottle to stop the birds etc raiding for the cream – ah, the days of cream on milk. With the meat, on the whole, as long as it’s raw and no rat has been around passing waste products or anything similar, I don’t think it matters if it’s crawling before you cook it as long as you cook it well – all depends if you can stomach it, mind you. Ah, seem to have fallen down the time warp/worm hole of memory lane: sorry. ;) Thanks for sharing the images

    July 16, 2012
    • Don’t apologise to me about the time warp, I love it. There have always been refrigerators in my life, but I have seen cupboards with meat safes in them, and small cupboards with the mesh all over them, that would sit a little off the ground. I think you are right about cooking it. I have heard the same. I am sure they would have had stronger stomachs than what we do. I guess they wouldn’t have had as much choice either. Thanks :)

      July 17, 2012
  4. Excellent Leanne! Love what you’ve done with this. :)

    July 16, 2012
  5. A bit of history along with some great images. On the frontier here, meat was often salted, smoked, or hung to dry to preserve it. The pioneers also built stone houses over natural springs to keep things cool – same concept as your meatsafe on the water tank. Glad you waited-out the breezes to get a clear shot of it!

    July 16, 2012
    • Times must have been so hard, we have become so soft, haha. I couldn’t eat like that, I don’t think, it sounds horrible. I guess they had to do what they had to to preserve the meat. Weird.

      July 17, 2012
  6. I remember the days of chicken and beef thawing on the drain-board. . . all day. . . too! I’m still here to talk about it, and dare I admit that I do the same! Love the final images.

    July 16, 2012
    • My mum still does it as well, I use the microwave to defrost meat. I can’t wait several days for the meat to thaw in the fridge. :) Thank you.

      July 17, 2012
  7. Marvelously done, Leanne! Both shots invoke the ‘mysteries’ of the olden days…love the dark dankness you introduced!

    July 16, 2012
    • Thanks, I always worry that I am going overboard. I love them, but that usually means that they aren’t good, so it is always great to hear that other people like them.

      July 17, 2012
  8. Tricia's Blogs #

    I really like what you have done with the image, it show the abandoned artistic feeling some of your work has been showing lately (which I thoroughly enjoy).

    July 17, 2012
    • Wow, Tricia, that means so much to me. I really enjoy doing these images. I start with not much, and then I transform it and I never know what it is going to look like. I love that. It is also so reassuring that others, like yourself, are liking them too. Thank you.

      July 17, 2012
  9. Your images are really tapping into the past. I could imagine the cool dampness near the tank on a warm day…

    July 17, 2012
    • Thanks EllaDee, I am glad you are liking the images. I like your visualisation, I can see now as well. :)

      July 17, 2012
  10. There’s something downright macabre about that image, especially since you explained what it is. Very powerful – love what you’ve done to it again.

    July 17, 2012
    • Wow Richard, I love what you are saying about it, I love seeing the image through other peoples eyes. Thank you. :)

      July 17, 2012
  11. Way cool Leanne … I really like what you’re doing with HDR … I’m new to it and really like what it can do. Where did you say these pictures were taken? I really, really like them. By the way … thanks for liking my recent post about the Ethical Treatment of Livestock … didn’t know how it would go over. Thanks for your continued support. D

    July 17, 2012
    • Thank you, it can take a while to get your head around HDR, but it is a great tool, and a great place to start many images. The pictures are taken in the Mallee, I don’t know how well you know Australia, but the Mallee is an area in the north west of the state of Victoria. I hope that isn’t confusing.
      It was a pleasure liking your post, it is an important topic and I think it is one that many people do care about.

      July 17, 2012
  12. Joe #

    Wonderful photos! Keep em coming!

    July 17, 2012
  13. After the introduction of animal byproducts into cattle feed, it became dangerous to allow it to come to room temperature for long enough for bacteria to grow. Ugh. I love the processing on all of these, Leanne.

    July 17, 2012
    • I think most of our cattle here are still feed by grazing. We don’t tend to like grain fed, and I know if I see it, I don’t buy it. I grew up with my doing that, but after living away from home for quite awhile, my husband and I went up there and she did to it a roast. I felt a little sick after it, but my husband was up all night vomiting. His body couldn’t cope with the bacteria in it. My mum was fine. I think it is what we get used to, in some ways. Glad you like the image and the processing, thanks George.

      July 17, 2012
  14. Ham'G #

    Hi Leanne – found myself on your blog – love the photos. My mother (97) grew up with the ‘meat safe’ but by the time I came along we had ice chests and only used the meat safe on camping holidays – but remember it vividly – hanging in the tree out side the tent in the campgrounds at Noosa Heads Qld. Much to mother disgust one night someone nicked some meat out of the safe – an almost unheard of happening in those days. Oh yes – I’m afraid I still defrost the meat on the sink overnight – I figure Victoria is cold enough for it to be safe.

    July 19, 2012
    • What a fantastic story. I can imagine how horrible it must have been to have the meat stolen. Where abouts in Victoria are you, lovely to hear from someone that isn’t that far away.

      July 19, 2012
  15. Ham'G #

    Living in Drouin in Western Gippsland – grew up in SE Queensland, after married we travelled for 5 years between Queensland and Victoria; then spent some years on Elcho Is (in the Arafura Sea off Northern Territory); then to Wickham (mining town in WA); spent the next 6 years in Perth – some time in Toowoomba then to Dubbo, NSW before moving to Nyora in south Gippsalnd and ended up here in Drouin. A life’s journey!! Am enjoying your photos. I came across your blog from where Belinda Letchfodr’s family from Kununurra in WA are blogging their journey through Turkey and Italy.

    July 20, 2012
    • I have never been to Drouin, but I’ve been close, been to Warragul to take photos of cycling a few times. You have certainly moved around, I’m afraid I have spent my whole life living in Victoria or on the edge. I would like to do a lot more travelling though, and plan to when my girls are more independent. Hoping my photography will take me all over. You live in a great part of the state too. I really want to come back to Warragul to photos. It appears to have some wonderful places. I love how you found my blog, it is really nice meeting you.

      July 23, 2012
  16. I love your haunting pictures :) It’s almost as if they have a story, but I don’t see the story until you put your own little twist on them :)

    July 21, 2012
    • Thanks Amanda, I like how you have said that. Glad I make them real for you. :)

      July 23, 2012
  17. Brings back memories of my aged aunt who had one of these which sat on the back porch with a muslin cloth draped over it ! It’s certainly some you won’t see very often these days, nicely done.

    HDR lends itself to this sort of subject matter I think, one of my most popular images is an old van which I gave the HDR treatment to. You might want to check out this software http://www.mediachance.com/hdri/

    July 21, 2012
    • No, the only time I see meat safes now is when people use them for decorative purposes. Great story about your aunt. Love it.
      I think HDR was good for this. Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

      July 23, 2012
  18. Jim Dryburgh #

    Thank you for your haunting image.
    In 1956 in a remote spot in Zimbabwe we had just got a new fridge. The old one was consigned to the scrap heap – unfortunately. The new fridge was a silent knight. That summed it up. It was a paraffin burning problem. BUT – the old meat safe was terrific. Made – I think I remember – by the Michigan Meat Safe Company.
    The “walls” were double skinned chicken wire and the space – 2 inches” – between them was filled with charcoal. Above each wall there was a shallow water tank with holes in the bottom filled with wicks – hessian or string. The water dropped on the charcoal and as it evaporated it cooled – If there was a breeze so much the better. The contents were kept cold. The feet of the safe stood in cans of water to stop it being attacked by termites though they waited till there was a layer of dust on the water so that they could get at the wood. Meat in there was well “hung”. Milk lasted a couple of days.
    No one died and malaria was far more of a problem than bad meat. A good curry disguised much and was delicious.

    Jim

    November 30, 2013
    • Thank you Jim, loved hearing about this. How amazing. I remember them being around, but everyone had fridges from the time I can remember in the 70’s. I know what you mean by not getting sick, my mother would always get meat of the freezer in the morning and leave it on the sick to defrost, she did the same once when my husband and I were staying with her and my husband got very sick from it. He wasn’t used to the bacteria I guess, it is a funny thing what your body gets accustomed to. Technologies have made us soft in some ways. Thanks again for sharing, loved it.

      November 30, 2013

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