November marks the beginning of the end, it is the month when we begin to end the year. We butcher the birds, harvest the last of the walnuts, cut down trees for the Christmas tree lot, and kick off the last frenzied efforts of the year.
The last few days have been especially busy. We went into the mountains on Friday and began cutting trees for our Christmas tree lot. Most of the trees we get are spruce and they are beautiful.
Sunday and Monday we thinned our flock, which is not-so-secret-code for “butchered.” It may be a little disconcerting to read that statement after seeing a picture of me with a chainsaw, but rest assured the two are completely unrelated. (Except: I wore those same Carhartts for butchering.)
These are what we butcher with.
We butchered 5 geese, 6 turkeys (plus one a few days earlier), and 2 ducks. The turkeys were impressive, our biggest weighed in at 55 lbs live, and 42 lbs dressed. The hens were in the 20 – 30 lb range.
I never thought I’d get sappy romantic over butchering birds, but it’s a testament to a man’s love for you when he takes over the “dispatch” part of the process because:
Me: “Okay, I think I got the jugular…. Oh my gosh, it’s flapping. Okay, it should be done… wait. oh geeze! OH MY GOSH IT LOOKED RIGHT AT ME!!!! I’m a terrible, terrible person! Oh god! It saw my soul!!”
Apparently we reached Jeff’s tolerance level for how much of my wailing and gnashing of teeth he could take.
When it gets to the point of actually dressing the carcass — pulling the internal organs out and cleaning out the body cavity — I’m apparently “in the zone.” The annoying zone, maybe, but then I’m all, “Oh my gosh come and look at this! Look at his liver! Oh wow, look how beautifully the lungs came out!”
Here’s Jeff and Jackie (a goose/duck/egg customer and friend) with Jackie’s Christmas tree she picked up yesterday.
It’s tough work but few things are as gratifying as living so close to the land. It’s time-consuming and sure isn’t for everyone, but we sure enjoy it.
Speaking of birds and farming, we have eggs available — chicken and duck — and will have them all winter. Contact us if you’d like some fresh eggs!
Also, if you want to order any birds for next year (chickens and turkeys), we’ll be taking orders in January and plan to butcher in the spring and in the fall. (Chickens in the spring; chickens and turkeys in the fall.)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and hope we see you at our Christmas Tree lot!