Sunday, June 28, 2009

Life On The Farm

REAL life on the farm.

Farm life is more than the sweet scent of freshly mown hay in June, sunflowers smiling at the sky and blueberry pie cooling on the window sill.

Farm life is also messy, stinky and sometimes unpleasant.

But it's life.

Real life.

Back to the basics, self-sufficient life.

If the messy, stinky and unpleasant parts of the farm disturb you, don't proceed with reading this post. If you recognize that messy and stinky are the stuff of life that even children need to be a part on.

Saturday was chicken butchering day.
Not our most enjoyable chore to do but well worth doing.

We've spent years honing our chicken butchering skills. We're getting marginally better at it. Mistakes are always the best teachers.

We raise batches of cornish cross meat chickens, usually twenty-five at a time, twice a year. They grow quickly, in eight to ten weeks, and we've learned how to raise them with as few of the typical problems as possible. This batch had no broken feet or legs and we didn't loose a single bird to "flip over" (heart weakness problems) or even the raccoon that visited the coop every single night.

We don't have any new fangled contraptions for our butchering, like pluckers or cones. (Though we'd love to have them!) Mr. Dirtywrench grew up on a Midwestern farm and he does things the way his ma and pa did things.

When we butcher, we pluck our chickens though I know some prefer to skin chickens for the ease of it. The skin is extremely nutritious and since it is the source of the fat it holds all the flavor and moisture for the meat. I want that good skin on my birds when I roast them up for dinner. Plucking is a pain in the patooty but we do it.

We've recruited lots of different helpers in the past. Most will come for one try at it and don't return. I guess they didn't love the smell of wet chicken feathers in the morning.

There are two excellent helpers that faithfully returned this time and their help is invaluable to us. We try to treat them well!

Big Guy is our eviscerator.
His knife is SHARP and swift.

The helper who does the dirty job, the bloody one, doesn't wear a black hood, but I'll preserve his identity. He's good at his job and is happy to come back and help again.

I'm glad I don't have to do his laundry.

Shadow's job is to horde chicken heads. He frets terribly that he will miss one.
I dearly hope I don't find a pile of t hem somewhere in my flower beds.

My job was to make the crew happy with a big farm breakfast about half way through the work.
Chicken was NOT on the menu.

I try to keep the coffee cups and the tummies full.

My other job was to give the birds their last rinsing and to bag them up for the freezer.

There is nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done.

And there is nothing like the taste of fresh, home-raised, roasted chicken!

1 comment:

  1. My favorite part of this post is the picture with all the different mugs that you must have certainly made set out for your crew to use, very cool.

    I'm so glad you had some help. I don't think I can make myself do this twice a year, but when I run out of chicken I might be singing a different tune. So far, we are loving every bite of it.


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