So today I butchered the fat roaster that had gotten left behind by the chicken catchers last week. I was in the middle of Monday morning sorts of things when Certain Man came in and said, “I am going to just wring the neck of that old roaster that got left behind. I need to set up chicken houses, and I want him out of there.”
“Please don’t do that,” says I. “I will put water on right now and come out there and get him.” Certain Man looked dubious, but I grabbed my biggest kettle, and filled it to the brim and put it on the burner. I finished straightening my kitchen while it started to cook.
When it came to a boil, I said to Blind Linda, “I am going outside to catch a chicken. I will be in really soon.” Blind Linda didn’t say anything. I sharpened my biggest butcher knife and headed out to the chicken house. When I got out there, Certain Man was in the Manure Shed working on his tractor.
“Did you catch that Chicken?” I ask him brightly.
“Oh, no. I forgot all about it.” He stopped whatever it was that he was doing and came through the mud to where I was standing.
“Which house is it in?” I ask him.
“It’s in house two, I think,” he says, “Unless the fox got it. Could’ve gotten it. I didn’t see it this morning, I don’t think.” We enter the darkness of the empty chicken house and Certain Man flips on the lights. There was the object of my intentions, fluttering about down near the end of the house. Certain Man turns off the lights, and we edge our way down towards our hapless victim. I wasn’t much help at this juncture, I tell you, because I do not go running about in chicken litter chasing an 8-lb ball of feathers that has those spurry things on the sides of its legs. I will “herd” but I usually do not chase. Certain Man had some ideas up his sleeves, and he shortly had the roaster in a big bucket with the lid on.
“Are there any others?” I question hopefully.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll go look.” At this point, our Australian Cattle dog, Shepherd, who has proven trustworthy enough to run about the place comes eagerly up, hoping to partake of a chicken dinner. I remember that he is not easily controlled when he sees a flopping chicken. So I carried the bucket with the chicken in it up to the dog pen. Shepherd follows, panting happily. Whenever I go to his pen with a sort of container, it usually means that he is getting fed. He ran quickly to his dog pen and got inside. Oh, disappointment. The gate got locked and there was no chicken for the doggy. He looked reproachfully at me as I walked away.
By this time, Certain Man was back with the news that there were no other chickens. So he helped me rig up the baler twine to hold the roaster in an upside down position, and we got him properly restrained.
Then I asked Certain Man if he would take the bucket into the house and bring out the boiling water that was on the stove. The execution of the chicken is always my department because Certain Man cannot bear to take a butcher knife and cut their throats. I don’t particularly like it, but I realized a long time ago that if we were ever going to eat chicken from our own flock, I was going to have to do it. So he went after the water, while I removed the head from the body of the unfortunate chicken.
When he got back, the atrocity was over, and I plunked the body up and down and up and down in the boiling water until the feathers were loose, then I hung it up and plucked the feathers off with the help of Certain Man and a pair of latex gloves that he had procured for me from the house.
When the Roaster was sufficiently naked, I cut off the feet and brought him into the house where I could scrape off the pin feathers and butcher him. He was a fat old bugger, and I had some trouble getting him properly ready for my pan. But tonight he sits in a tub of salt water, and tomorrow I will put him in the freezer until Saturday night, then we will take him out, and I will stuff him with some stove top dressing and plunk him into the oven before we go to church and we shall have him for lunch, if the Lord so wills.
This gray day has held many good things. . . That old roaster is butchered, I made the party mix that usually is a “before Christmas” thing. I baked bread and I am planning to still sort the laundry for tomorrow. Certain Man and Eldest Son are on their way home from the airport, and I have already gotten a run-down on his happy weekend, so once Certain Man gets here, we should all be able to get some sleep. If the Lord tarries, and the plan carries, we will work on the Yoder Calendar for this present year. The Yutzy side of the family has been long done.
Oh, well. Some things are out of my control. Which is a good thing, really! Blessings for a wonderful new year.