Saturday, February 28, 2009

food chain

saying goodbye to a hen prior to her death
for a long long time i have been wanting to raise and kill my own meat. i've always been a part of some sort of garden (usually my parents), and have been around for and sort of assisted in the killing of pigs and chickens, but never really on my own . . . until last saturday. my mom had a bunch of old hens (6-10 years old) who had lived very happy lives producing eggs, scratching in the dirt and thinking chicken thoughts. however, they were no longer laying that often, and she just got a new batch of chicks who started laying in january, and it was time for the old ones to go. i figured this was my chance, because just killing them and not using them is silly, and i've been wanting to make some good chicken stock (a la nourishing traditions). still, the thought of butchering 8 chickens with only a page long description in my country living skills book seemed daunting (not to mention i usually pass out at the mere mention of blood). fortunately, i somehow mentioned it to a girl at church who said she killed them all the time, and graciously agreed to help. so, me, my mom, and two friends gathered at 8 am on sat. to do the deed. i didn't do any of the actual chopping off of heads, but i held the bodies as the twitched and bled out, and then dipped them in hot water and plucked. the plucking was surprisingly easy, despite the smell of wet feathers, and then i assisted in and de-gutted two all by myself. not pleasant. all in all the process took us almost four hours.

me gutting a chicken, me, christy, shalicia and the chickens
then i took them home ad had to wash them out, cut off the feet and SCRUB them (they are a great source of gelatin in the stock), the necks (sick), and the wings. it is exhausting work to kill, pluck, and prepare chickens! the experience greatly increased my appreciation for quality food, and made me feel like i was really pulling my weight in the food chain. unfortunately the stew i made out of two of the chickens was very tasty, but the meat was like shoe leather. those old girls were tough. today i have the last carcass in the pot making stock (takes about 24 hours a carcass). and i have to say i'm glad its over for awhile.
ready to make some chickie broth

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

birthdays birthdays

there are a lot of birthdays today and tomorrow. all over the world. hundreds of thousands of people i'm sure. but there are a few special ones i want to shout out.
today, is chris nielson's bday! whoopee! chris is totally great. he plays the cherrango, writes poetry (currently at the ranch as artist in residence), has traveled the globe, speaks spanish like a native chilean, or guatamalen, etc, is real real nice, good at listening, and is passionate about his beliefs and ideals. i'm so grateful to have chris in my life!
chris & i on a crazy motercycle ride in the amazon
next up tomorrow (thursday) is my bff davey baby ornegri. davey is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. he is a devoted friend, travel companion, comforter, and adventure haver. he is kind, caring, hilarious, patient, has impeccable taste, is always up for a good time, and comes down so often to see me. i love davey to pieces and look forward to a lifetime of frienship.
me & davey and some old friends
also tomorrow is sister sara vranes!!! my girl on a mission to texas! sara (aka baby cat) is pure sunshine. she is down to earth, tells it like it is, has an infectious laugh, and it devoted to friends, family and truth. she is my soul sister/kindred spirit to the core. i can't wait for her to get home!!!
sara & i on the salt flats
so happy birthday to three of the greatest people i know!! i xoxoxo love you all SOOO much.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

these days

people ask me what i do now that i'm done with school (the diploma came in the mail the other day-- yippee!). the truth is, i'm not always sure. you know how time just kind of slides by without any significant demarcations sometimes? lots of little things come up (a trip to provo and salt lake to recruit campers, someone needs help, etc.), friends come visit (thanks guys!), little projects get done (like making valentines and sending them out), my sweater is gradually getting knitted, i'm slowly cooking/eating/understanding the nourishing traditions way (which includes making my own keifer, sourdough start, bread, soaking everything, sprouting, dehydrating, making whey . . . its intense), i'm teaching (once a week at byu, twice a week esl classes), my scriptures get read each day, the sky and horizon get watched, thoughts get thought, jobs get hunted out, my pile of books slowly gets read (finished the 2008 o. henry short stories last night, there are some gems), movies get enjoyed (recently 'the year my parents went on vacation' a brazilian film that is stirring and gorgeous), walks/skis get taken, meals get cooked, etc. etc. etc. its just a gentle sort of ebb and flow of life these days. today felt particularly productive because i sent our four letters (valentines), changed a flat tire, got the propane tank filled, filed my taxes, and made my lesson plan. lots of time is simple and silent and i'm happy with that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


last night i had the craziest dream. i dreamt the obama's hired me as a nanny. but one of the girl's was 16 and learning to drive, and so i would teach her to drive in this HUGE old boat station wagon all over d.c. and i kept telling her she was going to fast. then we went to a grocery store and somehow it turned into my friends and i planning a surprise birthday for my friend elaine. and there was a big huge tub of m&ms. and i was in school again and had just written a big paper on shakespeare and figured that i would give elaine a copy for her bday. i mean who wouldn't want someone's paper for a present? and then it turned out at the party that everyone in the world had an inner robot (kind of like a daemon) that came out whenever you were really mad. well a fight broke out and everyone's robot selves started coming out. most of them were really cute, and they were all really different. and then one of my friends turns out had a KILLER inner robot, not killer as in cool, as in if his inner robot ever came out he would DESTROY the world. and that's what he started doing. and i woke up. obama-robot-apocalyptic birthday.

no words! its wednesday!