Cheep Meat

It’s mid-October and a full moon and Momma Goose is on the front deck calling, “Is anybody home?”  She has come bearing a gift.  Six-and-a-half weeks ago she gave us Kimber and the Seven Chicks, newly hatched.  Today it is a welding sculpture she’s made, a functional tool rack made from horseshoes shaped into a trophy head configuration she calls Bruce the Moose.  I love it and laugh.  She can do names, Welcome signs, anything we want.  The Bearded One and I thank her profusely and both envision it on the barn wall.

Bruce the Moose

“It’ll be just me and the boys on the 22nd,” Momma Goose says, reminding us of the turkey harvesting and processing she’s invited us to.  Her husband has to work.  In just over a week, I think, I will be killing a turkey, dressing it out, then bringing it home to eat.  I can do this.  I want to do this.  Don’t I?  This is all about upping our learning curve so we can do it with our own chickens.  Eventually.

“It’s tricky dangerous to give those chicks names,” she advises me when I tell her that one of the Steves tried to crow this week.  The Bearded One is betting that almost all the chicks are cockerels, and will thus be culled (which sounds a lot like killed) when they reach full growth, which is in the next month or so.  “We’ll process them for you, if it’s too hard.”

Zucchini trough

Hell’s bells, we eat chicken; I believe in slow, local, sustainable food production as opposed to factory farms and all the hidden costs of cheap meat.  But the truth is I am still buying factory chicken.  Six at a time.  This is starting to feel a bit lazy on my part, I realize.  Momma Goose doesn’t judge me.  I like that a lot.

She bids us adieu, and I get a big knife and harvest the biggest zucchini we have, the one we let grow all summer just to see how big it would get.  It’s about a foot long and 6 inches in diameter, not really all that big this year.  I have to saw through the stem.  Zucchini skin gets thick and tough with age.  I cut it open, admire the still-creamy insides.  Chickens, I think, are not zucchini.  I feel the weight of the knife in my hand.

On my way to the chickens, I pass by the pumpkin patch.  Nine big speckly pumpkins are clearly visible now, orange seeping through the dark green.  Dying leaves wither on the disintegrating stems.  Twenty pound pumpkins, maybe 25.

I ponder the pumpkin patch.

I remember Linus in the “Peanuts” comic strip and his fervent belief that every year on Halloween night, when all the kids are trick-or-treating, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the most “sincere” pumpkin patch and flies around the world giving toys to the most sincere children.

The farmlet, I decide, including this pumpkin patch, will not be sufficiently sincere until I wean myself from cheap chicken.  Okay, Great Pumpkin, I say, sincerely.  I can do that.

I hear Her reply in my mind –” If you can catch one”.


5 responses to “Cheep Meat

  1. I love all your pictures and drawings, it really adds to the Farmlet experience. I wonder how Marilyn and Dusty will feel when they discover that they are roosters? They may need to see a therapist to work out all their gender confusion issues! 😉 I can’t imagine what it would be like to raise an animal and then “cull” it. I know it’s the circle of life, and the only way to really realize what it takes to have meat. The connections you make to the Earth when growing a plant, and harvesting it are one thing but the connections you make to another animal….I think it will be very difficult. In today’s world, the average person, myself included, is woefully ignorant and insulated from the processes it takes to be a carnivore. I like the Indian way of doing it, before you kill the animal you give thanks to them and to the Earth for providing you sustenance. Somehow that seems more proper. Anyhow, I give thanks to you, Dear Christi, for letting me have a glimpse into the Farmlet world. Give my love to everyone, and talk to you soon! ❤

  2. Great one mom. Makes me think about food and everything else. Love you.

  3. Loved the shopping carted stick chickens! Best I can do is buy the free range chicks and give my deepest thanks I do not have to cull them!

  4. Christine Widman

    Ah…the omnivore’s dilemma.
    Kingsolver has some interesting thoughts about this same issue in her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
    Almost all my Iowa relatives were farmers when I was growing up.
    One of my mother’s childhood chores was plucking chickens to prepare them for stew or roasting. She told me – when I was an adult & a mom – that the most difficult thing for her as the “cook” for our family was the feel of raw chicken. She told me this knowing that I was a reluctant beginning cook and couldn’t bear the look or feel of potatoes!
    I am sending out spiritual food energy as you begin this next phase of life on the Farmlet.
    PS The Bearded One is my hero cartoonist of the world!
    Mad Pumpkin Chicken Axer is lol lol lol.

  5. Zucchini trought-Wonderful!

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