Monday, July 15, 2013

Are We Real Farmers Yet?

Dressed to kill!

It is done.  We are minus two roosters in the barn and up two stew birds in the fridge waiting to be air-sealed and put in the freezer.  I took no delight in the actual killing and I'm thinking that is a good thing.  If I were indifferent to it then that might be cause for worry.

The entire family was required to be in attendance despite my "city" daughter's pleas to be excused from it.  Even my visiting parents looked on and shared stories about their young years on their parent's farms.

Apparently my dad never had much to do with the chickens.  The men in his family took care of the cows and the fields and the chickens were left to the women.  He has memories of my grandmother and her two sisters dispatching, cleaning and putting up 20 chickens in an afternoon.  We are pitiful compared to that.  It took us a very long time to do the two.

My mother has vivid memories of chickens.  It was her job to do the plucking when she was a girl.  Her dad would dispatch and I believed her mother scalded and then mom plucked.  Grandma saved the feathers and made pillows and mattresses with them.  Grandma did not however save the feet.  My mom was surprised (and a little grossed out) when I said we needed to save them to add when we make stock.  She thought the couldn't be cleaned quite enough.  I too pondered this at first but when scalding the entire chicken (not just holding it by its feet and dipping it) the skin peels off the feet leaving them clean.  I now have two sets in my freezer.

I found I didn't mind plucking although if we were going to do more chickens and be more efficient I would want to build a chicken plucker.  I didn't try cleaning out the bird.  I left that to my husband.  I figure after he "masters" the job then he can teach me.  Then again, perhaps I will just attend an intensive seminar at Polyface.

All in all it wasn't a terrible process. I don't know if there is a broiler biz in the future or not but at least we won't be dropping any chickens off at the animal shelter- not that anyone would mistake us for hipsters.  (We maintain that we're pretty much where hip goes to die... LOL!)

 My husband's fancy killing cones were not quite the right size.  Plan B: milk jug and empty ice cream pail.
 Scalding the chicken

Taking turns plucking.  Yes, us wussies wore gloves.  Notice the manly husband and his lack of gloves.

Andi terrorizing city-sister who took photos the during the first chicken and was required to help during the second. (I can only imagine her journal entry that night... what awful

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