Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Been there. Done some of it.

Such an interesting weekend.  I have noticed, though, that people in my office have ceased to ask me what I did on my weekends.  Wimpy ones.  I would have told them, "Processed a dozen chickens, harvested garlic scapes, helped Sylvie move stuff, drove to Vermont, made hummus, made garlic scape pesto, delivered bee ware, delivered 10 dozen eggs to the local farmer's market, trapped ratties, made dinner, pulled pin feathers whilst watching an Ingmar Bergman movie."

Top that!  Seriously, it was one of my more varied two-days-off.  Luckily, the Universe was smiling on us, weather-wise.  It was a bright, sunny, low-humidity day (both), and there were four of us working with the chickens.  May I inject here that I will never do that many chickens again?  Do you know how many feathers are on a chicken?  Do you?  Well, I do now and it's billions.  Of course, I did completely, willingly and with much thankfulness not witness or participate in the killing part.  And, while I witnessed the gutting part, I did not do it.  I was too busy dealing with the twelve-plus billion feathers and removal of same.  Kay and her husband - a surprise and welcome participant - helped with the plucking.  If it had been just me, I would still be there.  If I was going to do this on a fairly regular basis, I would be the first in line to pony up the bucks for a plucker.  But, I will NOT be doing this on a regular basis.  I retained a breeding group - a rooster and two hens - so that, if I wish for a chicken dinner in the future, I will gather up a few eggs and incubate them.  A few at a time.  All in all, it took us a little over two and a half hours to finish up.  And, by the third bird, I was a lot less nit-picky about the pin feathers (which is why I was watching a dark, moody Swedish movie while finishing the job.  It seemed appropriate.)  Chickens, without their clothes on, are not cuddly and I was surprisingly detached.  It was not how I imagined it to be.  But we know how over-active and fevered my imagination is.  Kidding aside, the experience was sobering and made me very aware and respectful of the source of my food.

After everything had been cleaned up and put away, I zipped home to put the birds in the fridge and drop off the huge bag of garlic scapes I mooched off my neighbor, then drove over to Sylvie's to help her move the heavy things into her POD.  There is an amazing amount of space in these things - and such a great and clever idea.  We got some of the bigger things moved in and there was still a lot of room.  The biggest challenge is to figure out how to best lash everything down so there is as little shifting around as possible when the POD is moved to storage.  I am assuming the POD movers are not related to the USPS and will not fling it about from point A to point B.  But, the best part about PODs is that they don't have feathers.

I then zipped up to VT to get gas and buy my dad his Father's Day chocolates.  Then I zipped home - stopping on my way to see a friend who is not often home but was.  As chance would have it, I pulled into their driveway at 5 minutes to 4.  Four o'clock being their cocktail hour.  It's all in the timing.  I then spent a very nice hour, sitting on their porch with a glass of white wine while we caught up.  It was very nice and civilized and in complete contrast to my morning.  Then I zipped home, did chores, fed everyone, consoled the surviving three fricassees, whipped up a batch of pumpkin hummus for a Father's Day appetizer, and made a batch of garlic scape pesto.  Then I had another glass of wine and stopped.  If I have a day planned like the day I had on Saturday, I don't dare stop before the end. 

Sunday was a blur of delivering of bee ware, cooking, cleaning, and spending a very enjoyable afternoon with my dear daddy-o, mother and Sylvie - who is gracious and listens to the endless-loop conversation - or monologue - of my father while he relives his grade school days, finds her time in France fascinating and grills her mercilessly about her family heritage, background and any other topic that whizzes through his bean while he has her as a captive audience.  I, ungrateful friend that I am, left her there with nothing more fortifying than a glass of iced tea and beat a hasty retreat to the kitchen.

So, as the dark and moody Bergman movie dims and bid us pa Avsluta, I leave you with a photograph NOT of chicken plucking, but of a flourless concoction - Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies from the latest Martha Stewart Magazine.  Better, no?

No flour.  No fat.  No kidding!


  1. People at work have also stopped asking me if I have plans for my days off. I've got a student with me for the next few months who evidently hasn't learned yet... and she asked what my plans were for the 3 days off I've got. Her eyes kind of glazed over when I told her we would be ripping out a wall and replacing a window, along with making jam and weeding the garden...
    Of course, we wouldn't live this crazy life if we didn't love it, would we?

  2. People's eyes glaze over when I describe our weekends too LOL! You did chores AFTER wine? I'm impressed! If I would have one sip I'd be worthless the rest of the day :)

  3. It is probably best you do not tell anyone of your weekend escapades for the next thing that could come out of their mouth is "wow, 10 chickens. I will take some of those off your hands since you have so many". I am amused by all of the non-homesteaders who think that we do this all for fun and love to make the financial and time investment to give it all away. I am not saying I never share, but I would not listen to someone talk about their paycheck and ask them to give me $50 bucks since they have so much either. Maybe I just know too many moochers.

  4. telling me that you won't be coming by this fall when we start butchering the fifty creepy-meats? I'll rent a Swedish film for you!!

  5. Sounds like a busy weekend for sure. I love that you zipped up to VT for some chocolate!! And the visit on the porch with the wine and friends sounds nice too!
    The cookies look yummy too. Seems like every post I read today there is food. Making me hungry all over again!!

  6. Judy - My eyes glazed over at the prospect of all that physical labor! It looks marvelous, though! Yes, we must love it to do it, right?

    Erin - I can manage a few things after a glass of wine - but not much! I just have to be sure I don't dissolve into a puddle.

    Jane - You are so right. It's amazing how many people feel that I should just hand over a dozen eggs (for free) because I have chickens. Never mind the feed, care and everything else that goes into raising those chickens.

    Carolyn Renee - For you? Okay, fine. Fire up the DVD. I'll be right over - I'll be the one in the bright yellow haz-mat suit walking up your driveway.

    SF - I am in such a neat spot - I can zip up to VT or over to MA! It is my dad's favorite chocolate shop. And they make killer milkshakes!

  7. I hear you, people ask me too- chores, weeding, chickens, etc. on an urban lot, I see their eyes roll back. Boring, but hey I have a pantry and they don't. I have fresh food, etc. To each their own.

  8. It's amazing how people just quit asking about your farm chores after awhile! LOL!! I'm glad you had some decent weather for all your zipping around and that you got the chance to spend some time with your dad for Father's Day! :)

  9. A zippy day indeed.
    Hubby dreams of chickens and I will agree that on that next year. We have Amish in the area that will butcher chickens for $2 a piece. A bargain versus doing it ourselves, though I confess I'd like to try it just once. But the feathers sound......well, like a ROYAL pain.....

  10. Good grief, you would have to show me those cookies an hour before dinner. Oh, and I agree about those billions of feathers.

  11. LOL! This, "But, the best part about PODs is that they don't have feathers," just made me laugh out loud! Thank you! :D

    WOW! Bottle your energy and send some my way! Sounds like you are the "go to" girl for getting stuff done. :)

    I've read that plucking chickens by hand is a long and tedious project. I don't know if I will ever go down the road of raising chickens (for meat or eggs, actually), but it's good to hear from many sources that the plucking isn't a matter of fluffing off feathers. I read somewhere that the pin feathers sometimes require pliers too. Amazing.

    I'm catching up on past posts that I've missed! Hope all is well with you. Enjoy your weekend - I imagine you'll be busy! :D

  12. Nancy - Yes, they have no idea what they are missing. I feel sorry for them.

    Candy - I did get to enjoy the old cutie. He'll be 90 this August.

    Sue - There's a fellow who will process them for $3/per but he's a real trek up north. However, that being said, I may use him again.

    Leigh - Sorry! I am not a real chocolate type person, but these are super easy to make (although I'd make them a lot smaller next time.)

    RS(me) - I do have my moments, but then there's the collapse in a heap at the end of the day part. I did end up using my needle-nosed pliers on some pin feathers. Never again, I tell you.