Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

On the schedule for today:  Butchering 13 of our roosters and 2 of Chicken Mama's geese.  

We've been going through chicken feed at an alarming rate these past few weeks and our chickens that we got as chicks this past June are now old enough that we can tell the roosters from the hens.  That signaled time to butcher and send some chickens to freezer camp.

We finished the job about an hour ago.  Chicken Mama has gone back to Swamp River Ridge to get some things done there tonight.  Papa Pea and I are exhausted.

It took the three of us five hours from start through the last of the clean up.  Seems three people should be able to take care of 15 birds in a shorter time than that.  I guess we're just slow.  We did take a very short break for a late lunch but otherwise we just kept working away the whole time.  

If we had a poultry processing plant anywhere within 150 miles of here (we don't), I think I'd be tempted to take our birds for a little road trip and be done with it.

I thought I was being smart and got food for dinner halfway ready and in the refrigerator this morning so it wouldn't be so much work pulling a good meal together after we were done this afternoon.  Funny thing though, nobody was hungry for dinner.  What did I plan on making?  Chicken Pot Pie.  Bad choice.  (Chicken Mama said she didn't want anything with eggs either.)

Actually, she thanked us for the offer of dinner but chose instead to head out so she'd have some evening hours for getting some things done at Swamp River Ridge.  Right now, Papa Pea is upstairs in his office puffing on his pipe and I'm back here at my desk guzzling grape juice . . . wishing I had some egg nog.  Yes, it's out in the stores around here already.  They come out with it earlier and earlier each year.  All the longer time, before the actual holidays, for me to bulk up to 250 pounds . . . if I drank as much of it as I'd like.

Well, even though we have no egg nog, we may just drink our dinner tonight.  I'm saving the Chicken Pot Pie for tomorrow night.  Maybe.  If I'm over my temporary aversion to chicken by then.  What was I thinking?  

29 comments:

Val said...

This is so funny!!! I am so glad to be back in the blogging world!! Sure did miss YOU!

Carolyn Renee said...

I know what you mean about overly-long chicken processing times. I did six of them this afternoon and it took almost THREE hours from pre-cleaning the kitchen to final cleaning of the kitchen. And technically, there is still a huge pot of chicken bones/feet/etc. on the stove being made into stock. It just doesn't seem right that it takes a half hour PER bird! But we're stocking up our larders, yes indeed'ie we are!

Jennifer Jo said...

Yeah, I can never eat chicken after butchering. But my kids can't wait for me to cook up a bird. Funny kids.

Sparkless said...

I'm not sure I could butcher a chicken. It makes me feel queasy just cutting up chicken we buy to cook. Can't imagine having to pluck and gut them too! At least you know you did the job right. I hope your chicken aversion doesn't last long. I love chicken!

Mama Pea said...

Val - Thank you! You didn't miss me anymore than I missed your posts. Welcome back!

Mama Pea said...

CR - My husband informs me that if we butchered more than once a year, we'd get a lot faster at it. Right now, I don't care if we don't butcher for another couple of years!! I know he's right, we forget the little tricks from year to year but it's still discouraging that it takes so long. Speaking of stocking our larders (with chicken meat), I know we're going to eat a lot more chicken this year. I mean why actually buy other meat when we've got the good chickie meat in the freezer??

Mama Pea said...

JJ - I think part of what turned me off today was that these birds had so much fat! They're only barely five months old but obviously have been real chow hounds. I washed everything we used twice before I felt it was de-greased!

Ruth Dixon said...

My friend Heather and I were going to start butchering, and never got around to it. After she passed, it's at least given me a handy excuse not to do it yet. And I agree about the whole no chicken or egg thing. It just sounds too much too soon.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - The first time through butchering is always the hardest. I don't like it until the bird isn't a chicken anymore but just a carcass. They look so different then (not nearly as cute or colorful!) that I don't think of them as the same fluffy cluckers I enjoy watching running around.

There's so much you can do with chicken meat, what's not to love?

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - I think it's the smell for me, too. Wet feathers, raw meat. By the end of the processing I've handled chicken meat so much, I don't even want to touch it for a while. Silly, huh?

Doing it with a friend or family is the only way to go. I can't imagine having to do the whole process for a bunch of birds by yourself.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Rabbits are easier 'cause you can just skin them. Did chickens and rabbits years ago, now it's just me, so I buy my chickens all cut and wrapped. Do like home grown lamb and goat tho, cause guy comes here and does it and takes it to be cut and wrapped. I know I am lazy.......

Erin said...

Whew, that is a lot of work for one day! Chicken pot pie, indeed!

Dirt Lover said...

Well, I love chicken pot pie as much as the next gal, but I think it might be too much, too, right after taking care of the birds for so long in one day. Maybe next time you process any more, you will remember this and plan burgers, or salad, or any non poultry?
~~Lori

2 Tramps said...

Even though we don't butcher our own animals here, I get that feeling after cutting up and packaging/freezing meat from the store. Yesterday I packaged and froze 15 lbs. of ground turkey, 20 lbs. of chicken thighs and drums, plus 12 lbs. of round steak. Good to have it all tucked away for later.

Sparkless said...

It wasn't the killing part I meant but dealing with the carcass afterwards. Well okay the killing part too but I think once you've done it a few times it must get easier. The carcass part wouldn't every get easier though.

Susan said...

So, the chickens took two hours and the geese three? I agree with you on not wanting chicken anything for quite some time. I still edge around my chickens in the freezer, and we processed them this summer! For me, it's the plucking. I hate the plucking.

tami said...

Another Egg Nog LOVER here, MP! I've got some in my fridge right now that I haven't cracked yet. (Maybe tonight)

If I'm craving egg nog and it's not "in season", I buy a sugar free, fat free instant jello pudding (cheescake or vanilla) and mix it up with a generous dose of nutmeg tossed it. YUM

Stephanie said...

Hehehe, that is too cute Mama Pea :) Hope you all got some rest after that hard day of butchering.

judy said...

you at 250-impossible ,what do you weigh soaking wet-100 pounds==thank God you got all that work done

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - No, you are NOT lazy. We all have to make (hopefully intelligent!) decisions on what works best for us. (Do you think your guy would come here and take our chickens to be cut and wrapped?)

Mama Pea said...

Erin - It was really weird. We've done chickens (and ducks and geese) a gazillion times before, but yesterday it really whacked all three of us out. Gotta think about that. Well, no I don't. Papa Pea and I had spent the previous two days doing hard physical work (the kind that gives you a temporary backache!) and CM hasn't had much rest for . . . oh, 2-1/2 years. We shoulda hired a crew of 12 to come in and do the job. (Yeah, right.)

Mama Pea said...

Lori - I think I'll be reminded of my planned chicken meal for years to come! It never entered my mind previous to the butchering. Dumb-da-dumb-dumb!

Mama Pea said...

2 Tramps - Yep, that's what keeps us going whether it be butchering a whole animal (or animals) or buying in bulk. It is so good to know you HAVE it. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, ya know. Tweet.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Obviously, you've done geese before! Plucking is soooo easy (okay, easier) with a chicken plucker. Chicken Mama was in charge of operating the plucker and she is goooood at it! The birds came from her almost totally nekked. Just those pesky pin feathers to take care of by hand.

Mama Pea said...

tami - Instant jello pudding, huh? You must have had one heckuva egg nog need to come up with that. (But I won't knock it 'cause I haven't tried it.) ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Don't know about CM but hubby and I sure passed out last night!

Mama Pea said...

judy - I weigh . . . as Dolly Parton used to say before she became a skinny-minnie . . . I weigh one hundred and too many.

Lisa said...

Too funny! I'm with Judy.... you've gotta be 100 lbs. soaking wet. Glad ya'll got that chore checked off your to-do- list!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - We're glad the culling/butchering is done, too! All those extra roosters were eating a TON of food and never going to be big, meaty chickens no matter how long we waited.