Sunday, June 19, 2011

carnivores only

So today was Father's day. My Father is withering away somewhere alone and in denial. He chose that path. Not me. I excused myself from his life long ago.

I have a stepfather now. Late in life. I wish he would have come around sooner. I always had a hole in my heart in the shape of a Father. I know that hole wouldn't have got so big, if my stepfather was my stepfather when I was so young and impressionable. I needed somebody safe.

I am not writing this to be a big blogging bummer, because it isn't. I have forgiven and moved past. I am happy my Mom has somebody to grow old with. I am happy that my experiences, all of them made me and molded me and brought me to here.


We really didn't have any great plans for Fathers day. A meal, hanging out together. Brittany is even home! She is never home, and she is being nice. Yes people with teenagers, there is light at the end of the hormone-crazy-teenager-tunnel. There is the twenties. A little less drama, a little more insight to the big picture.

My dear husband, Rusty, for whom I must thank for showing me what a real Father is, through his parenting of his daughter and stepchildren. They all might as well all be his, because that is how he treats them. That is who he is. I am thankful for his love to children that may or not be biological, but in every sense of the word are his children.

It was a pretty laid back day. Sophia baked a cake, with very little back-up from me. We planned yummy cook-out and we all were going about the day, like any other day.

Rusty got on the mower. He loves riding that thing. It has a cup holder for a cold beer, and he can't hear us women, being women over the engine. Poor thing is surrounded by women. I think it is his escape. His man-toy break. I figured, hey, he is having a good day when he gets to mow.

Well, he unfortunately gets a flat tire. Freak thing. We still have no idea why. So now he is looking around for something to do. He says, "I think I will butcher some chickens then." I take a gulp and say, "OK."

I am all about self sustainable living, and it is easy when it comes to goat milk, eggs and vegetables. My specialty. But, butchering chickens, oof. I know that I have to learn how to do this for myself. If I am going to eat meat, I better damn well be able to look into the eyes of the animal I am about to kill. But I am not a killer. No way. I am a life giver. I am a Mother. I am everything nurturing. Except for one thing... buying meat at the grocery store is still killing. If it comes in a package, doesn't mean the meat fairy came and grew some protein out of rainbows and bubbles. No, the meat business is pretty ugly. Animals that are raised for meat in mass production have a horrible existence. Horrible. And we consume that energy with our meat.

Back to Father's Day and my answer "OK."

So my gift to my husband, and to myself was to butcher three chickens today. (In my head.)

First. This was part of the plan. I hatch and raise my own chickens here. I hatch both pullets and cockerels. I can't have a bunch of roosters here or they would kill each other and/or the little laying hens. I can either give or sell them to somebody who sell them to an alligator farm (for reals) or harvest their meat. Me butchering chickens is no more horrid then buying a pack of Perdue in the market or some chicken-mc-nuggets from McDonald's.

I stood beside my husband as we "processed" three of my flock.

It wasn't that bad. Of course I didn't do the deed. I am not there yet. But I did watch, and then I cleaned and cut them up and placed their precious meat into freezer bags. I said a little thank you. The toughest part for me was to pick out who was going. It was an easy pick for the Cornish Rock, he was going to die on his own if he got any bigger. He was supposed to be a Brahma. I didn't buy a chicken with the intent to harvest it. But, I may now. That chicken was huge. As big as a small turkey. I kept him whole for a roaster. Gulp. Shiver. But I did have to pick out two of my young roos. If they get any older they get tough and then it would be a waste.

I spared Obama. He made it through a dog attack and hid out for a few days, until I found him in the trash bin. He is still limping and he is a companion to Ring-Tone II, a pullet, who was also attacked by a dog and was gone for more days than Obama. They bonded in their little hospital barn room I put them in. I catch them sitting together in the sun. I couldn't pick him. No. Then there was Washington (George) he was the first chick that I ever hatched. He is the biggest red. Big cockerel. Well not big yet, but tall and lanky. He got spared too.

So, I chose the two, one red and one black. Two Presidents. I hatched them myself. I loved them, and I killed them. They are in my freezer.

chicken with love
my tools

on the left is the cornish rock, on the right is two young cockerels

this helped

Rusty thanked me for helping him. I thanked him for doing the hard part. Now we have homegrown organic chicken with no hormones, additives, antibiotics, and no bad energy to feed my family.

My daughter Brittany, swore not to eat it. Ok, so part of my family.

My neighbor Shirl came over later with some eggs from his hens for me to hatch, and we all discussed a Fall garden. Then we sat down to a huge meal (not chicken) and ate some Father's Day cake.

It was a good day for me. I hope Rusty had one too.



  1. My grandparents used to buy a heifer each year and raise it in the back pasture and then have it taken to the local meat locker and butchered. So we didn't have to do the slaughtering ourselves (thank the gods - those animals are ginormous), but us kids had loved it and fed it apples and made daisy chains for its ears, and sometimes rode it around like a pony. And then we ate it. (The first time he realized what happened to the pet cow, my brother swore never to eat meat at Granny's house again.)

  2. I grew up poor, with a garden similar to yours. If we didn't grow it, can it or freeze it, we didn't eat it that winter.
    No matter how poor, every Easter we got to go to the Five and Dime and pick out a couple of Easter chicks to bring home Remember how they had the little displays? I think the chicks were a quarter. Cute little things that we played with and got bored with in time. It wasn't until I had walked out back, mom yelled at me to leave and we had chicken for dinner that I KNEW. That was the last time I bought an Easter chick.
    Later mom and dad raised rabbits and sold them to restaurants. I didn't 'quite' put that picture together either. Dad once told a friend that rabbits tasted just like chicken. That was the last time I ate 'chicken' at home too.

  3. I wanted to return the blog visit and thank you for your comment on my disbudding post. I could so relate to everything you wrote here. It was so difficult for me, the first time we butchered some of our extra roosters. It's funny, because at one time butchering chickens would have been considered a basic culinary skill for most homemakers. How times have changed. I agree though, that so much of it is our mindset about life and death. It does get better with practice.

  4. We're getting ready to get a batch of fryers to raise/butcher soon. It stinks. But yeah, better to do it yourself than buy. At least then you have happy chickens. Anyhow, I make my husband do all the butchery. That's the deal.

  5. I was the designated helper to my husband in cleaning fish this weekend. This was a first for me, but I came through like a champ. ie: no vomiting, fainting, or uncontrollable shakes.

    P.S. I love your blog, I did most of my growing up in Morgantown, WV, and I feel like I might know you personally. Keep writing, you have a gift.

  6. Angella,
    I laughed when I read this: "came through like a champ. ie: no vomiting, fainting, or uncontrollable shakes." I have seen fish cleaning as well. I haven't been a part of cleaning them. Just took a peek. It was the smell that got me. Vomiting would be a tough one to hold back. Thanks for your kindness about my writing. It goes a long way. Welcome.

    Lisa, tat is a good deal! We are now thinking of ordering more cornish rocks. I am less incline to befriend a chicken I am going to eat. Same with my youngest. She holds them all and makes forts for them. Cute and sad. I promote naming only the hens.

    Hi Leigh! The disbudding topic on your blog was very interesting. I learned quite a bit from many points of view. Yes, it is amazing how we are so detached from our food. I think I am a little more seasoned now. Farm life brings you closer to the basics of life. Thanks for stopping by.

    Roses, I was struck with the thought of what was considered being poor and being forced to grow your own food, is now what so many of us are now drawn to. Poor is the new Rich. We had a pig when we grew up. All five of us refused to eat the meat. That pig was our friend.

    Harmony, I love the visual of making "daisy chains for its ears" Now that was food with love. Truly.

  7. Your chickens are much happier than any Perdue or McDonald's birds and I'd feel much better about eating them knowing they never had to suffer :) I wish I had someone close by to raise happy animals, although going to the Farmer's market helps. Btw, they sell the chickens down here at 5.00/lb. They are already cleaned and frozen, just something to keep in mind.

    I DID cook my first 'fresh' fish caught by Kevin/Zach. Zach did the gutting and such, but I had to get it off the bones. I was a little proud of myself for doing it. Don't know why raw fish in a plastic bag seems less gross, but I'm working hard to overcome it.

  8. Feesh? Raw chicken or raw fish in a bag is way less gross for me. I have always had an issue with raw meat. I couldn't even look at it when I was pregnant with Brit.

    I have been thinking about going vegetarian.


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