Life is busy. Wendy and I spend much of our time running around, much of which centers around the girls classes. So, when we get a day to spend around the house, it seems like a blessing. Perhaps, it is. Today was one of those blessed days. A day to work around the yard and prepare for the coming Winter. It was really a freebie ... it should be cool, Fall-like, not 50-60F.
I decided that today was the day to get some of the chicken yard cleaned up. The ducks and hens have left a 4-6" (10-15 cm) layer of waste on the ground. So, I was mucking out the yard. I took the opportunity to use this fertilizer to fill all of the garden bed ... some of which still needed to be cleaned out.
As I worked around the yard, a friend arrived with a rooster for us to "put in the stock pot." She and Wendy have been online friends for years, but had never met in person. So, the rooster provided the impetus for the face-to-face visit. We sat and talked for a while. Then, I begged out and returned to work knowing that at some point we'd need to take care of the rooster. Wendy and she had a nice visit.
He, immediately, went into his his dance ... dropping one wing and strutting in circles ... peddling his wares. Having never seen this mating dance, I watched as he moved and swayed trying to attract the hens to his wiles. The hens were not impressed in the least. As a matter of fact, they began attacking him. Eventually, he took the hint and wandered off to explore on his own. I kept working. He was beautiful. He was also loud.
As I finished filling all of the garden beds, our visitor decided that it was time to go. So, we all said goodbye. No sooner had the dust cleared on the road, we started a pan of water to boiling. We would need it for the rooster. Neither Wendy Nor I had ever cleaned a chicken, but we were committed. As the water neared boiling, it was time to begin. As always, we held the chicken and talked to him, thanking him for the gift he was giving.
I decided ahead of time that I was going to try to break his neck by pulling his head and feet in opposite directions. I think it worked, but we were not certain ... he did appear stunned at least. We took the opportunity to use a knife to remove the head. There was surprisingly little flapping and blood ... we've all heard the horror stories. We, then, plunged him into the hot water and began plucking. Now, I have often heard how difficult this part is ... requiring a machine or hours to complete. Really, it took 5-10 minutes at most. Finally, we cut the feet off, and one wing to be used for shamanic purposes, and gut him. It was not really much different than harvesting a rabbit.
Dinner was Wendy's famous chicken noodles, a family favorite. It is a form of chicken noodle soup, using egg noodles which she makes from scratch with eggs, spices, and flour. So, aside from the spices, the only ingredients we did not harvest was the flour. That, we hope to remedy next year with acorns or cat-tail pollen or some such substitute.
While dinner cooked, I mowed the lawn. After, I tried to start a basket using some of the grapevines I cut a few weeks ago.I have a long way to go in this endeavor. I have decided that since the raspberry brambles have produced some lovely, tender young leaves, that I should harvest some of those for tea. I'll need to do this sometime during the week.
Right now, I am sitting here, typing this, sipping some Birch Polypore / Japanese Knotweed tea. If I am going to learn these things, I must use them. And, I can't suggest anyone use something, if I haven't used it myself. The tea is delicious ... we also harvested both of these. The Earth is abundant and provides all we need, if we only look. I am grateful to be given the opportunities to learn, and grow, in this knowledge and in these skills ... to travel this MooseBoots path. It was a good day!