Sunday, October 23, 2005

Catch Up Time

The blogs for the last few days have been on hold as we have been very busy here at the ranch. Big excitement on Thursday – the chicken picker arrived. We had planned to process a couple of roosters on Friday and had planned to manually pluck them. With the arrival of the picker we were able to mechanically pluck them. This will make the processing of 100 chickens at a time much quicker and more efficient.

Friday’s big deal was the processing of the roosters and the progress on chicken tractor #2. The second chicken tractor is getting close and we had hoped to move the brooder chicks on Monday morning, but a very stiff north wind, dropping temps and the smoking of the roosters made it a non-starter today. The processing went much quicker with improved chicken killing techniques. A big thank you to Karen for telling us how to do this all important task as a live chicken would not scald well. Plucking and eviscerating would also be rather cruel if the chicken was still alive. We not only improved technique but also used our new traffic/killing cones. The scalding was done in a bucket with hot water in it last time, this time we used a turkey fryer to scald the chickens. The eviscerating did not get any faster and we are bit worried about this. The Eviscerator has a new companion in the League of Eviscerators – me – and we will be teaching Claire how to do this next week. “Claire?” you ask. “Yes, Claire,” we answer. She has been interested in it from the beginning, watching all the way and not doing her other assigned jobs. She is very excited about the possibility and has dibs on which chicken she eviscerates as at least one of them has apparently offended her.

Saturday Stephen and I went fishing with some of the men from church. We went to a lake here in the county that is pretty much a secret unless you are a Coleman County resident. Our three boats were the only ones out there all day with the exception of an old guy that went out to check on his trot lines and then left. I caught a bass that just under the minimum. Stephen had the same experience. The only downside to the whole thing was when I fell off the boat. It wasn’t in the water yet when I fell. I slipped on the side as it was still covered with dew. I broke my fall with my right hand and damaged some tendons. You know that meaty part that makes your thumb kind of look like a drumstick? Well, it is one big thick drumstick now. Since it was a church deal I managed to not cuss about it. If you were to ask him, Stephen would tell you that my not cussing was the most amazing part of the day.

Today was about smoking some roosters and staying out of the wind. The colder weather, it kept dropping all day long, made it hard to maintain the proper temperature, but the birds came out okay. I would be able to tell you more if it weren’t for the upset stomach from eating too many candy corns this afternoon as well as some really awful saltwater taffy that was in the cabinet. At least that is what I am hoping made me feel not well as so far I avoided any major run-ins with the stomach flu. Puns are fun!


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