When people don't know me very well they sometimes assume I'm a vegetarian. Apparently with the obsessive healthy and local and organic vibe I give off I just "seem like the type". I am not the type. My parents are farmers and I do eat meat. I just care more about where it comes from. I have a real problem with squeamish meat eaters. The ones who love their beef every dinner but can't face up to the fact that it came from an animal. I truely believe that if you are going to eat meat you need to be honest and respectful about it. You took something's life to feed you. That's the simple truth of it.
So, part of what I've been changing in our food aquiring practices is to do my best to not buy any meat of uncertain origin. I like to know where the animals come from. Were they raised ethically? Were they killed quickly and cleanly? Were they processed safely? Just because I eat animals doesn't mean I don't care about them. They are living creatures and I want them to be treated decently. Plus they make better food that way. For me this is made a lot easier by having parents who raise beef. I always have good homegrown, grass finished beef and they know where to get me other nice things such as lamb and sausage.
My Easter Story begins about a month ago when my mom called me up and let me know that their neighbours, who do eggs, had about 30 chickens that they needed rid of. 30 chickens. For free. One catch. These chickens would still be fully alive. Yes yes, we would have to slaughter and process the birds ourselves. Eeeee.
Now, I was a farm girl when I was little. One time when I was about five, my dad was killing chickens. You know the saying, like a chicken with it's head cut off? Fully true. I thought is was hilarious (I know I know, but if you had been there...) I laughed so hard that I fell over. And a dead chicken ran me over. Covered in chicken blood.
That is my only memory of how chickens become food. So it's not like I was a hardened farm girl going into this.
It was my parent's mentoring myself, my husband, my cousin and her husband as we dealt with what turned out to be 40 chickens. Dad and the boys beheaded them, Barb and I did the majority of the plucking and the boys did most of the gutting. Mom has a bad back and was a baby watching soup maker. It was not fun, mostly, I mean I don't get to hang out with Barb enough and there were ceratinly some entertaining moments, mostly though it was hard work. And very very smelly. There is nothing like that smell. I could not even think of eating chicken until I got out of that environment.
But we did it. We feel little more hardcore than we did before and we have a freezer full of chickens that will soon become delicious soup and chicken pot pies. We got to experience first hand where our meat came from and have a whole new perspective on the chickens in the supermarket.