Chicken processing day

There were a few hitches in getting chicken day off the ground but finally last Wednesday was the day. Our wonderful (organic farmer) neighbor came over the night before to deliver his stainless steel processing table that he uses for his vegetables. This time we would use it for cleaning the chickens and give it a good cleaning when done. As usual he didn’t arrive with empty arms and that night he brought some vegetables for the chicken dinner we invited him to a couple days after chicken day. (It’s best to let the chickens rest for a couple days in the fridge before then get eaten or frozen.) These potatoes, which we ate with our chicken dinner, made the creamiest, cleanest tasting mashed potatoes ever. The carrots were light and sweet and full of flavor.

neighborly veggies

A neighborly vegetable offering toward the meal.

chicken set up

This was our chicken cleaning station. The many pots of water lined up were my attempt at thinking there would be a good supply of rinsing water. It was all unnecessary, we used the hose with the spray head  to clean and rinse the chickens but somehow the resource made me feel more prepared when I started the process.

There were three of us and we all took turns at each job but quickly fell into our own niches and developed a rhythm. I had worried about what it would be like to kill the chicken, if I would be afraid to, or react badly to it, but it just didn’t happen. We’ve been planning this all along. We always knew they were for food, and that it feeds us and that’s the point. Not only does it feed us but it means we know where our food came from and that is rewarding. It took us about 4 hours and the last 20 minutes it snowed lightly while we we worked outside. Funny thing though, it just kind of added to it. It was a good experience for all of us. We were all more efficient by the last few chickens, and I can see it would go more quickly the next time.

chickens

…ready for the freezer

parts

ok “graphic warning”. Parts. Livers, hearts, necks, feet, and fat. I need to find a video on youtube for cleaning the gizzard. That was the only thing I really was not prepared well enough for on the bird. Between our neighbor and us we have three dogs and so each got a heart.

cooked bird

Finally the chicken makes it to the platter. It was a beautiful bird, and we all enjoyed the fulfilling process, the taking responsibility, and the delicious meal.

platter

The bird fed three adults, two kids with tiny appetites, (who mostly were focused on the pumpkin cake with cinnamon frosting) and another dinner tonight. The well picked carcass and the rest of the bones, as well as one complete thigh are all in the freezer to make some delicious soup!

radishes

Other non-chicken news is that the experimental cold frames are doing really well. I think this will work great on a larger scale next year. These radishes need thinning but they are growing very nicely.

lettuces

Maybe I’m easily excited, but seeing this pretty lettuce mix coming up in the middle of this very cool weather is pretty fantastic! Fresh salad in November! I’ve also covered the chard that was still growing in the garden and we will see how long that lasts, for now it is fresh and green, at a time most greens we have are in the freezer, apart from some parsley in the front garden.

crackers

We had cheese and these crackers for appetizers, that evening, and some tortilla chips I made that afternoon and salsa from the summer. Along with a dish of our neighbors best ever carrot sticks. Dinner was roasted chicken, swiss chard, shiitake mushrooms and bacon cooked together, as well as creamy mashed potatoes, and thick crusted, chewy slices of no-knead bread. There was just enough pumpkin cake with cinnamon frosting for the kids to each have a well deserved piece. The grown ups were happy with a lovely white wine from North Carolina, gifted to us for the occasion by my thoughtful sister.

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