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Wednesday, June 25 2014

June 26th, 2014

The oft-expressed phrase, “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” is one of those things people say without giving a single thought to the meaning behind it. But I can now attest that yes, a chicken does continue to jerk, contort its body, and act very much alive even when it is most certainly dead. We slaughtered 12 chickens in all, including the rooster who has terrorized me for ages. It’s a messy business, involving many steps and feathers flying all over the place. First, Grandpa dispatches the creature’s head by turning the chicken upside down and shoving it through a cone so the head comes out the bottom. Next, we dunk the body in a giant pot of hot water (150 degrees) for a couple minutes in order to loosen the feathers. After this, the headless chicken gets thrown into “the plucker,” a weird contraption that’s a giant  bowl with many rubber “fingers” on the inside to pull the feathers off as the bird spins around the bottom. My job was to gut the defeathered chicken, which involved cutting off the feet and neck before reaching inside to pull out all of the internal body parts. All I can say is that thank goodness for the breeze. Joe then took the cleaned bird and gave it a thorough rinse before it got shoved into the freezer.

But the chicken butchering was only the prologue to the real show: cow roundup. Grandpa and the rest of the guys headed into the pasture to wrangle to wild female Dexters to get them in the trailer for their trip to the “beauty parlor.” Two cows against seven guys might seem like an unfair ratio, and it is: for the humans involved. The craziest cow threw Grandpa and caught him with its horn. They finally managed to lasso them and pull them into the trailer, but their shirts were soaked through with sweat and you could tell it had been a fight. We were all grateful for the macaroni and cheese dinner that followed since it was the first time many of us had rested all day.

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