Chicken Little

Well, this was a first for me. I aided and abetted a murder last weekend. It was a pretty white rooster raised by fellow Peace Corps Volunteer Curt (the one who helped start our garden). We traveled the hour or so from our town to visit his campo (countryside) site.

Curt asked for a volunteer to help with the process and after an internal debate I bravely raised my hand, seeing this as perhaps one of the few opportunities I’d have to do something of the sort. I knelt, looked away, and felt the warmth of the rooster’s warm feathered body and the even beating of his heart as I held him firmly to the literal chopping block while Curt used his machete skills to be off with the head. Isaiah snapped an honestly great photo of that aftermath that you can see here if you and your stomach are so inclined.

For the first time in my life I understood that throwing up sensation that characters in movies are faced with after a traumatic event. Even though I held my oatmeal breakfast in, my body was shaking as I, Lady Macbeth, frantically washed the spattered blood from my arms and hands. Only my stains weren’t imagined.

I apologize for this detailed report. Maybe it’ll be therapeutic? I was surprised at the effect this little chicken event had on me. I mean, it’s a rare day I’m not up for posing for the camera.

Health and nutrients have always been the most convincing vegetarian arguments for me. Yet there I was eying the remaining chickens waltzing around the beautiful hilly landscape, silently willing them to run and be free before they met the same fate as their old roost-mate.

I love the idea of knowing where your food comes from and choosing sustainable, organic options whenever possible. So really, grilling up this rooster who lived a good life under the protective care of Curt – not to mention the killer view the little guy was lucky enough to have (poor choice of words?) – shouldn’t have left me feeling so shaken to the core.

But I realized that I might not need to go as far as actually butchering my own meat. Meat that I barely touched at the dinner table that afternoon. From now on I’d be happy to leave that work to someone else.

Am I crazy to feel this way? Just being a drama queen? Have you been part of the butchering process? I sometimes try to play the tough “farm girl” from Iowa role but let’s be honest here – it’s just not quite me. I think I’ll stick to gardening.

Pssst – If you were planning to dish out a little snail mail to help Isaiah ring in the big 2-9 on November 15, now’s the time to send it on its way! Our address is right here and don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

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4 thoughts on “Chicken Little

  1. Dear Allison don’t be upset to do such a thing as hold the chicken while someone else will do the killing. As girls at our house, often we had to go out and kill a chicken or two for our meal so we don’t think of it as you do, it was just killing a chicken for supper or Sunday dinner and what fresher can you get, sure beats buying one at the grocery store! But now I do and for us it is okay.
    So just chalk that up as another new experience that you have had these two years, there will be more!

    • You’re right – the fresher the better. I’m sure I’d get used to it if I did it often! There will surely be lots more “firsts” over these next two years!

  2. I think as you do it more often (if you do), it becomes less traumatic! I know I’ve appreciated the beef raised by family in Nebraska, and after doing butchering (and slaughtering) a few times now, it less shocking- although still a significant event.

    • I imagine you’re quite right, Marcos. And I do love the idea of knowing where your food comes from, that it was raised in a good environment, etc! Slaughtering cow is next as our host family has a cattle ranch…

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