Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scratch that off the list

A disclaimer before we get started today:

This post is not for the squeamish. If you are disturbed, bothered, or otherwise put off by where meat comes from, do not read any further. Seriously. Mom, stop reading right now. What I'm going to relate is not gory, or cruel, or insensitive, but some people are a little touchy about the whole killing animals for food thing, so I say to them, go read something else and come back tomorrow. I'll post a flower.

Now, that's out of the way. If you chose to continue reading, you're going to hear about chicken. Chicken the way our grandparents and great grandparents ate it. And if you think that's cruel, go look at some pictures of the chickens they use for meat at the big chicken farms and you'll come back and tell me I'm a saint.

Years ago, when my old man and I first started talking about self-sufficiency and independence, raising our own meat was at the top of the list of things we wanted to do. At that time, however, we lived in an apartment near Atlanta, half a mile from a major highway, where the only open, arable land around was devoted to that noblest of pursuits, golf. Suffice it to say, back then, raising our own meat was but a dream.

Fast forward eight or so years and you would've found us a bit further off the beaten path with a bit more land to spare. You also would've found us with our first chickens. And then our goats. Then, just when we were getting ready, our lives took a bit of an unexpected turn and we found ourselves moving, and moving, and moving again. And now we're here; on the little farm, with more chickens, more goats, more animals period. We have more land and everything is coming up roses so to speak.

So, in the ten or so years since we first began to even think about doing this whole farming thing, we never got the chance to raise anything for meat until now. This weekend *drumroll* we slaughtered our first chicken. It was quick and painless, don't worry. And, it was delicious. Seriously. It was really, really good. A bit tough, cause he was an older bird, but still. Yum. And no, I'm not going to go into details about how exactly it all went down. If you want to learn, let me know and I can point you in the direction of a dozen good resources.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it after the fact. Since, my job for years has been, you know, keeping animals from dying, I wasn't sure how I would react. In all honesty, I came away from it feeling pretty dang good about the whole thing. I know that chicken had a good life. I know he was fed healthy food. I know where he'd been and to what he'd been exposed. I know that he wasn't cramped in a tiny little cage with five or six other birds with genetically modified breasts so large his poor little legs couldn't support his weight. He'd been in the sunshine, eating bugs and acting like a proper little chicken. And, I was able to thank him.

So, yeah, it was a good weekend. A major goal was accomplished and my psyche and delicate sensibilities weren't crushed.

Tomorrow, something fuzzy. I promise.


  1. Good for you! Ever since I watched Food, Inc., I've been eating a lot less meat. But I still appreciate some good chicken now and then, and I'd much rather eat your kind of chicken than factory chicken. I suppose I've been hanging around West coast liberals for too long now...

  2. I get it. But don't post cute little pictures of Leon and his girlfriend before you write a post about slaughtering your chickens. Us squeamish and tenderhearted folk get attached - or maybe "No animals were harmed during the writing of this post" should be your disclaimer next time. Smiley-face.

  3. Don't fret, big sister. Leon and his girls are still kicking around the farm, acting like proper little chickens. I would never post a picture of a chicken bound for the freezer. That's a little too macabre even for me ;)

  4. I have to congratulate you on your sensible approach to meat. I don't have room for any livestock but on the odd occasion we have chicken I only buy free range. My local butcher supplies only free ranged pork, beef and lamb and knows exactly who supplied it - so we can eat meat with the confidence it has had a good life.