alas, summer is gone

say a native american prayer

you cannot have more than one male chicken, aka, rooster, running around in the coup at once because they will attack and kill one another. so, when the little male chicks start to get bigger, you’ve got to take the big guy out. this can be extremely hard, because by this time you’ve developed a relationship with him, and he even has a name. Mr. Roosterman died on June 19, 2008 at my hands and the hands of my sister and her husband. This post is dedicated to him.

preparations are made

after chasing the chicken into a corner of the fence, we bind his feet. this is the weirdest feeling, because once you’ve done this, the rooster no longer seems to struggle. you spend a good half hour chasing this bird around the yard and he makes a big ruckus everytime you try and grap him – frantically flapping his wings and cawing, but the second you have the bird in your arms he stops. it’s as if he’s content and your hands on his feathers makes him feel at home. like he accepts his fate. you want to slit my neck? that’s okay with me, i’m okay with becoming soup.

when my sister started freaking out, i did too. i was doing my best to keep my heart out of it, to just kind of go about it like a job that needed getting done, remembering in the back of my mind that this animal was giving it’s life so that we could live and all that. but then she starts wailing and i feel my eyes start to sting and my chest kind of tighten up. ugh

jokes are told, we are crying and laughing at the same time, and trying to move forward, we have to stop and check. are you ready? are we doing this?

he’s waiting for the sign to go. holding the bird is a strange feeling, feeling the warmth radiating from underneath the feathers, the squishiness of the body under the protective frame of feathers.

she tries to suck it up.

bird blogs/books tell you you can build this cone out of scrap metal and stick the bird in it. this will hold the bird while you cut its neck and then the blood will drain out. Adam, my brother-in-law went through all the trouble of building it, mounting it to the table, and we said goodbye, and he stuck Mr. Roosterman into the funnel.

after several efforts we realized that that wasn’t working, as we couldn’t get the bird’s head out of the other end of the funnel. So we went for the old fashioned way.

we said a native american prayer, thanking Mr. Roosterman for giving us his life. i held him down and Adam cut. Mr. Roosterman struggled, the cutting was messy and not easy. the bird jumped around a lot and i almost couldn’t hold him down. eventually he made a decent cut i guess.

i am a murderer.

we put him back in the cone to let the blood run out.

into the pot, my sister still mourning.

i’m sorry.

de-feathering.

as soon as you de-feather a chicken it takes on the strange appearance of a fake rubber chicken.

removing the head is tricky. when cutting didn’t work, we had to use the advised method of twisting if off.

gutting it is the hardest part. we consulted the book. you have to stick your whole hand in there and avoid breaking certain glands and things.

Adam’s hands were too big.

so i had to go in and get them.

Nicole thought the dogs might really appreciate the guts.

they really didn’t know what to make of it.

but we kept egging them on. they didn’t really eat too much of it though.

we tried to keep Amelia away from all the horror. I don’t really think she understood what was going on. She came outside when we were defeathering and Nicole said something, half crying, “here’s Mr. Roosterman…” but I really don’t think that Amelia could conceive that the thing in front of her was once Mr. Roosterman.

we seasoned it all up and put it in the oven, but it came out like this. tough, red meat. Unedible really. Totally discouraged we threw it in a pot and made chicken soup. We ate some soup, and it felt really weird I guess. The next day we left town I believe, and I’m guessing the rest of the pot went bad. We don’t make very good native americans.

In any case, there’s a place in town where you can take your chickens and they’ll do the whole slaughtering thing and throw it ready to cook in a plastic bag for $1 a chicken. That’s what they plan to do next time. It’s really a big deal, slaughtering a chicken.

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