Ah. I DO love my little life carved out here...
I almost named today's post, "Off With Their Heads!" but out of respect for a sweet, almost eight year old friend, I resisted.
Beans, Nugget, and I got an impromptu invitation to observe a chicken butchering at a friend's house today. Considering that we will be butchering our own birds in a matter of weeks and we are novices at this, I decided this was a good opportunity to learn something.
It was homeschool for grown-ups.
With Nugget in the baby backpack and Beans in my arms, we gave the two ill-fated birds their final petting. Our friends showed us a few tricks to get the birds to be calm, a hachet delivered a swift blow, and without a squawk, the hardest part was over. The birds were hung To bleed out while preparations to dress the birds were made. The kids found that gross fascination with parts like the decapitated heads and removed wings and feet that all curious youngsters have. Homeschooled kids (in my personal opinion) have an even deeper fascination. Mere moments passed before all the kids (except Nugget) were asking great questions about why the body continued to move, or what chicken brains looked like. (Nugget continued happily clucking at the chicken remains.) Even Beans had some good questions, for a two year old. "Why did we do that?" and "Does the chicken feel better without his head?"
In attendance were three adults, one teenager, and youngsters aged 1, 2, 6, and 8.
Yes. I let my kids observe.
Nugget cared not. In fact, she merely squawked happily at the other chickens roaming the yard. Beans was curious but not disturbed. We have talked many times since buying our own chicks about how chickens provide meat and eggs. Once the excitement was over, she toddled off to play with more exciting things. Her interest peaked again after the "Women's work" (cleaning the chickens and preparing them for freezing and cooking) was done; when the birds looked more like dinner than livestock. Then she decided she was hungry.
I got some good experience and anatomy/dissection lessons. I don't feel nearly as intimidated about our upcoming butchering day as I did before. And I even think I could infidently handle the dispatching of birds... a job I had definitely ensured my husband would handle before we started the chicken venture.
The job was easy and fun as we visited with our friends. I love the interplay of homeschool families working on a task together. It makes me sad that formal education takes all the FUN out of learning. I gleaned as much information from my friends' children as I did from my friends. When the older kids tired of the lesson, they joyfully (and without being asked!) took Little Nugget to play so I could enjoy the rest of my learning experience.
It was a modern day "Little House on the Prairie" day. I loved it.
And my kids? (Before someone gets their knickers in a knot about me exposing my kids to the facts of food production)
I'm thinking they survived the exposure. When I tucked Beans into bed, I had our usual conversation:
Me: "Did you have a good day? What was your favorite part?"
Beans: "Um, yeah. Mine favorite part was getting that chicken
and chopping off his brains and then maybe we are gonna eat him right up!"
I think I definitely have a farm girl in the family.
Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails