A Wanna-Be Farmer but Never a Butcher
We’d raised our beloved chickens from the time they were bright yellow little fuzzy-balls, and we kept them well fed and wholly healthy. And when the time was right we even enjoyed gathering and eating their freshly laid eggs. Rich delectableness! We also planned to enjoy cooking a variety of chicken recipes: fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, chicken on the rotisserie, flesh smothered in butter and sage. Why, the recipes we came up with were mouthwatering and endless. Alas, we quickly found out that we just couldn’t eat our beloved chickens to save our lives!
Could you kill and eat chickens you’ve raised from adorable wee-little-things?
Unless I thought us real butchers or my family desperately needed feeding....
And by the way, it didn’t help to have given them names!
We were finally leaving the city and moving to a 1-acre property and with more space than we’d ever known. (This was our opportunity, after all, and we were going for it.) We were leaving behind “city noise” and “laws” that barred us from keeping barnyard animals in our own backyard. Our move to the new property would put us just on the outskirts and thus allow us to raise and keep livestock.
Armed with exhilaration at the prospect of enjoying fresh eggs and meat, and doing it all ourselves—like real farmers!—we wasted no time and ordered our crop of little chicks: (brown egg layers) Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds, and Araucanas (egg colors known to range from aqua blue to green hues and even pink and yellow), for a total of 13 egg-laying chickens.
And adding to our menagerie of “farm animals,” we also ordered six prolific egg-laying Khaki Campbell Ducks to boot.
We were beside ourselves with excitement and anticipation, drooling at the prospect of becoming “fully fledged farmers.”
My husband and I spent an entire month at the new property before the actual move building a very fancy chicken coop to house our new birds, a house that would protect them against the hot and cold days—as well as keep them safe from the winged and four-legged predators. And let me tell you, it was a very nice chicken house, if I do say-so. (Add some insulation and electricity and hubby and I could have moved in!) It had every comfort, and more, necessary for our birds to thrive: windows with screens, a solid roof, a real door, and a very large caged area that would allow them in-and-out access to safely roam.
The ducks, too, had their own proper home and cage. So everyone was comfortable and happy!
I loved my chickens and ducks; I spoiled them daily with fresh fruit and vegetables. And I was the one that found the very first little egg; I found it on my birthday. So I couldn’t have received a better present. I fried it and enjoyed it with a piece of buttered toast to dunk into my petite, bright-yellow egg-yolk. The yolk was scrumptious, richer and tastier than any egg I’d ever remembered having. This tiny egg made store-bought eggs taste nothing short of blah!
We spent the next many months collecting an abundance of eggs, enough so that we were able to share with family and friends, but by the end of summer we were drowning in abundance of eggs. We decided to cut back on our livestock and enjoy fresh chicken meat. We chose an old hen that our landlord had just taken upon herself to throw in with our collection of chickens, and an inadvertent rooster. We had no fears; we were capable. We’d been firmly schooled by my mother, after all, who’d been schooled in the old country of El Salvador, on how-to kill and clean a chicken. My husband had also watched his father (who kept chickens many years ago) properly kill chickens for many of their dinners while growing up at home.
So we were ready, or so we thought.
I will spare you from reading the harrowing details on “how-to butcher and clean a chicken.” Suffice it to say that I threw up and cried torrents. Hubby, too, was a sympathizer of how I felt. And we could NOT, I repeat, “NOT”, cook nor eat the hen or rooster, though they were now expired. And the memory of the deed will forever linger!
In conclusion, though I am for certain a wanna-be farmer, I am not a butcher.
We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)