I finally posted an entry at OneFatBitchypoo, and at the bottom there’s a link to my surgery before-and-after pictures. No underwear pics, though, ya pervs.
I’m plenty pleased with my results.
Almost two years ago when we bought this house, we bought it with the intention of making a life for ourselves that was both simpler and a lot more work. We wanted to go from a McMansion house on a tiny bit of land to a smaller house that suited us better on a lot more land. Land we could use to feed ourselves. With that in mind, we planted a garden to provide us with vegetables and we bought chickens to provide us with eggs and eventually meat.
This summer, there’s been a disconnect between what we’d intended and what we’d accomplished – that is, we were getting plenty of vegetables from the garden, and eating them and putting them away for the winter, we were eating lots of eggs (I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of scrambled eggs), and our chicken population was growing by leaps and bounds.
But we weren’t killing and eating chickens the way we’d intended. At first, we didn’t kill any of our first batch of chickens because they were providing us so nicely with eggs and even enough that we could occasionally sell some. Then we got the second batch of chickens, and we still didn’t eat any chickens, because we were waiting for our second batch to start laying.
With every meal, the disconnect grew. We were eating vegetables we’d grown ourselves on plates next to factory-grown chickens who assuredly don’t live the life of Riley the ways ours do.
And then we realized that Flappy, after providing us with the super-freaky double egg, stopped laying altogether. Fred suggested that we use her as our “test” chicken, to see if we had the intestinal fortitude to eat our own chickens. I put him off for a while, but this past week he got insistent. It was apparently time to put our money where our mouths were. Were we going to be able to kill and eat one of our own chickens, or should we just make little beds for them in the house and start treating them like pets?
We talked about doing it early Friday morning, but Fred was afraid that he’d lay awake all night fretting about it, so when he got home Thursday from work, he declared that it was time. We went out and tried to catch Flappy.
Flappy – always a bit of a spaz – dodged and feinted and weaved and hid under the chicken coop. I don’t for one minute believe that she had any idea what was coming, just that these big lumbering idiots were trying to touch her and she DID NOT WANT. After a few tries, I noticed that there was an unused gate leaned up against the chicken coop, and I grabbed it and it helped immeasurably in cornering her.
Fred picked her up, and she was completely calm and docile. We walked through the chicken yard to a spot over by the garden where Fred had put the big tree stump we were going to use. It wasn’t until this point that I started getting butterflies in my stomach. I’d occasionally thought during the day of what we were going to do, but hadn’t dwelt on it. Fred and I are polar opposites when it comes to this sort of thing – he dreads it all the way up until the moment of, and then he’s okay; I’m okay right up until the moment of.
Fred put her down on the stump, her head between two nails. She remained completely calm, and I lifted the hatchet to do the chop, and she blinked up at me. Something about seeing her blink made the voice in my head scream “NO WAY”, but then I thought “I have to”, and a moment later it was done. Then I turned and walked away a little and lost it for a moment.
Fred wrote that I preferred to do the actual chopping rather than hold her body, but in actuality I volunteered to do the chopping because then I wouldn’t feel bad about going inside and letting him deal with the feathers and guts. He never suggested that I do the chop; it was my idea. I never really doubted that I could do it, but I didn’t ENJOY it or look forward to it.
I suspect that it surprises a lot of people that I would be willing to do the killing myself, and that I’ll be doing it again in the future. It surprises me that it surprises you. Though they’re very entertaining to watch, and I like Frick a LOT (Frick is absolutely never going to become dinner; she’s too much like a little puppy, and I get to play favorites if I want to) and I am without a doubt an animal lover, I don’t consider the chickens to be our pets. They’re a food source, and they’ll be spoiled rotten as long as they’re with us, but in the end they’re going to be eaten.
That’s what they’re for.
(Fred wrote about the process in a little more detail, if you’re interested.)
The disconcerting thing to me was how at 4:00 Flappy looked like any ol’ chicken running around, and an hour later she looked like a chicken you’d see in the grocery store. I don’t know what I expected her to look like, but apparently I didn’t expect her to look like that.
Once Fred cleaned her, we put her in a bag in the refrigerator, then on Saturday I made a brine and put her in it. For Sunday lunch, we had roasted chicken, deviled eggs (made with our eggs and pickle relish I canned last year), green beans, oven-fried yellow and pattypan squash, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes. Everything grown in our garden or in our chicken yard.
It was fabulous.
Back when we named the pigs (and we never ever call them by name, by the way – they’re just “the big pig” and “the pushy little bastard pig” to us these days), people warned us that naming them would ensure we’d never eat them.
We named Flappy, and not only did we eat her, we called her by name right up until the moment we ate her – and even while we were eating her, as a matter of fact. So apparently naming animals doesn’t stop US from eating them.
Out of curiosity – anyone still think we won’t eat those pigs?