Butchering Day

(I think it is important to establish that I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was heavily influenced by the hippie movement in certain areas. One of them was a rather romantic notion of living on the land, close to nature, rejecting technology in favor of ‘natural’ ways of life, etc. It is why I call myself a ‘neo-luddite’ and why I have occasional philosophical struggles over shopping or patronizing places that I feel have clashed with some value I have.)

When I conjure up a picture of butchering day on a farm it is molded on old movies or books that I have read.  Even Little House in the Big Woods is to blame.  Imagine, if you will, a happy family gathered all together to attend to this necessary event.  Young and old, male and female, all working together in harmony.

from flickr ‘pre-1945’ group


Not at Good Enough Farm.  No.

When time came to butcher the broilers, knowing that it would be a solo task, I broke it up into two days.  The first day was cold and rainy and I had to do it outside on the front deck because my husband was in the kitchen working on a puzzle and kept complaining about the smell of the blood and guts.  Because I’m colossally stupid or something I took it all outside in the rain and the cold and did my job.  I skinned them instead of plucking because it was faster and I was mad and miserable.  The storage bags for the birds all leaked and I was probably pissy the rest of the day.

The remaining broilers I did inside, in spite of the complaints, plucked instead of skinned, again struggled with leaky storage bags–Glad brand, by the way–and vowed out loud that I would never do broilers again because it is a thankless job.  Literally.   Oh, everyone loves them once they are cooked and on the table, but it’s like The Little Red Hen all over again.


Or maybe even 2 Thessalonians 3:10:   “If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.”

But it’s a whole lotta birds to eat all by myself.

I have to remind myself that Good Enough Farm was my own creation.  It was my cure for the depression that I felt after my daughter married and moved away.  I filled that hole in my life with chickens and rabbits and goats and a garden.  The goats trampled my soul and so they have moved on.  The rabbits broke my husbands heart when raccoons attacked them and so they have found new homes.  The chickens ate the garden but I do get my revenge upon them because we eat them and their eggs.  But, I digress.  If the dream is mine then the responsibility is mine and I can’t honestly complain that no one wants to help me, can I?

Darn it.



2 thoughts on “Butchering Day

    • I only have myself to blame,Tressa, since I acquiesce. I kind of established a deep pattern of submission throughout our marriage, for good or for bad. To be fair, it is a small house and the smell of butchering does tend to permeate. I should have considered probable weather conditions at butchering time when I ordered the chicks. Lots of things to consider…

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