Sunday, October 31, 2010

Multiple Killings on Halloween

...and it didn't even make the news! Nine done in by an axe-wielding man, dismembered, and frozen. What is this ridge coming to?

Well, one thing it's coming to is turkey-less. This was D-Day for the turkeys--time to put them in the freezer. We had 13 and had optimistically thought we'd get them all done today. And we would have without a few technical difficulties, like running out of LP gas for the water to heat up and having to get a wood fire going instead. But nine is good, and we plan to finish the job tomorrow night. Now we would have finished today if we had stuck with our plan to work on the turkeys yesterday, but instead we took off downstate to Hinton at the suggestion of a friend to participate in an open mic session at the Chestnut Revival Coffee and Tea House. We had a great time--music, stories, poetry, and fun people--and rolled back in here around midnight. So. Guess you could say we played turkey hooky.

Here's mid-process, after plucking and gutting which I am sure you do not want to see:

The bird on the top left is being wrapped in plastic wrap after it was all nice and clean and scrubbed. I wish I'd been around when a friendly local butcher would wrap turkeys--these things are not easy to wrap. They have wings and awkward legs and they're heavy and slippery.

The other bird just came in from outside, where Larry did the plucking honors. They look pretty rough before being cleaned up. I scrub them well before and after cleaning the insides to be sure all bits and pieces are gone. There are always feathers to finish removing, hairs, etc. I found that it was easiest to lay the plastic wrap on the table, then flip the bird over and over on it to wind the wrap around the turkey. The plastic pulls the wings and legs tighter to the turkey's body, making it more compact.

After the plastic wrap, I wrap the birds in freezer paper. They are so hard to cover neatly but I try to get the wrap as tight to the bird as I can.

Last step: put the wrapped bird in a while plastic trash bag, weigh it, mark it and get it to the freezer.

 This one weighed 20 pounds; they have ranged from 20 to 24.5 pounds. "Pretty" means this one cleaned up very well--one is marked "ugly" because the scalding water was too hot so some of the skin ripped when Larry tried to pluck it. It's still edible and without the skin you would not be able to tell one from another, but I don't want the ugly one for Thanksgiving dinner, just not as attractive as one of the "pretty" ones.

What will we do with 13 turkeys? Eat them. For us turkey isn't a special-event meal but an everyday meat, like some people might consider hamburger. We eat little beef or pork these days, opting instead for poultry and venison. This is our "stocking up" meat.


Janet, said...

You must have a freezer just for your turkeys! You and Larry are two of the hardest working people I know, but it will be worth it when those delicious turkeys are in the oven.

Granny Sue said...

Actually, our freezer is full and we have filled Derek's too. We need to buy a new one. I'd like to keep one for meat and one for veggies. Tonight I'll be canning cider while I do the turkeys, just to make space. Abundance is lovely, but as you know it's a lot of work.

Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

I can't say that I have ever seen turkeys butchered before. Not sure if I could do it or not. I love how you and Larry raise your food and store it up for the year. One day you'll have to show us how you store it all!

Have a Great Day!

Granny Sue said...

I can't do the first part, Angela--I'm just not that tough, I guess. But I figure if we're going to eat meat, we might as well face the reality of that choice.

As to how we store it all--big, full freezer, root cellar with a potato bin, and dried herbs go into jar in the big pantry cupboard in the kitchen. And now, as I said, we're spilling over into Derek's freezer too--it takes a lot of storage.

warren said...

It's going to be pretty quiet at your place this winter I think!

Granny Sue said...

It will, Warren! But the chickens will do their best to make up for it. Easpecially El Senor Trampoline Man, the rooster with the new trill in his crow.

Country Whispers said...

So nice to have a freezer full to get you throughout the year. I used to work in a meat dept. so I don't mind handling the meat and preparing it for the freezer but I don't think I could actually do the deed.
I guess I could never be a hunter!
Now I'm hungry for turkey so I'm gonna have to go lay out the turkey that I have in the freezer so that I can cook it this week.
Have a great day!

Granny Sue said...

I don't think I could be a hunter either, Jessica. For one thing, I'm a terrible shot!

Mary Garrett said...

Making the ridge safe from turkeys! I love your intro and admire your practical skills!

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Mary :) It's not the life for everyone but I can't imagine living any other way.

Twisted Fencepost said...

What a haul. You will definitely eat well this winter with the turkeys and all that you've canned.
I don't know how you do it all!

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