Monday, July 20, 2009

Quite a Saturday

We did a test run of chickens on Monday, but Saturday was our big day. Jonathan had his customers scheduled to pick up chickens in the afternoon, so we got going bright and early.

Our jobs were the same as on Monday. Andrew took photos this time, so we don't have one of him scalding chickens. It was tougher for him on Saturday because there was hardly a breeze and smoke from the wood fire underneath the scalder kept hitting him in the face. At one point he took the garden hose to his rubber boots because they were smoking! Guess he got too close to a burning log.

The first step was to take the chickens from their movable pen in the field and bring them over in the back of the pick up truck. It's amazing what that truck has been used for since the boys were given it!

On Monday I worked inside, but this time my work station was set up outside. I did "quality control," which involved removing anything the boys didn't remove, washing, weighing, bagging and recording. I then carried them to the freezers inside the main floor of the house. Quite the exercise! My back was a bit sore when we were finished from bending over the table. It's a bit tough to read the sheet, but these chickens averaged between seven and eight pounds! Lots of good meat.

This wasn't exactly David's favorite occupation, but he still managed to enjoy the day. David was our "go fer" and helped everyone with what they were doing. In the photo below he was helping Peter. Note the location of our horse in the background.

Thankfully the flies weren't a problem.

Jim was back to manning the chicken plucker. I was a bit worried before we got started, because last week he had injured his right knee and was hobbling around. A taller stool helped him to get the job done.

In the middle of the morning we viewed a crop duster as it flew over our house and took multiple swoops over the ridge and lake to spray a field to the south of us. It was kind of interesting to see it flying over and over again.

A few times the plane flew directly overhead, and I was hoping the sprayer was shut off. We don't do any spraying of our fields and wish our neighbors wouldn't, either.

Close to lunch time all the chickens were butchered and cleaned up, but the quality control lady was still at work. Everyone but I went into the house for lunch, and I kept working on the chickens that were remaining.
All of a sudden from behind me I heard a very loud whistling sound. I turned around and was shocked to see a huge B-52 bomber flying over our horse and gardens! To me it looked so low that I thought it was landing.
I had forgotten the camera was still outside, and yelled for the boys to come running. How often does a bomber fly over your house? Not that we want them to, but it was quite an experience. In Fargo we lived not too far from the airport/air guard base and had front row seats to watching the Blue Angels and other precision jets fly in formations over our house during the yearly air shows. We also had plenty of F-16's and commercial jets overhead, and couldn't wait to move to peace and quiet in the country.

Andrew took this photo below as the bomber was flying away toward Canada. I kicked myself because I could have taken a very close up view -- to the point that I felt as if I could have seen the pilot!

The bomber took a loop and came back over the house, heading south.

Later in the afternoon when a customer came over to pick up his chickens he told us he had also seen the bomber over his house. He said it had come from the Minot Air Force Base (approxomately 100 miles away), where they were having Northern Neighbors Day.
Jim had invited one of the families picking up chicken to stay for supper, and we had -- guess what? Chicken!


Anonymous said...

Great update.

Love the quality control feature.

Wonder if Prudue co has quality control.

If they do I bet its not as through as yours.

Have a good Week.

Gp B

Marci said...

I am glad it all worked out for you. You made a comment on my blog about me taking part in the butchering. Michael has always done the kill, scald, plucker and cut the head and feet off. The rest has always been my job. :)

BonnieJ said...

That is cool! Bet the chickens are tasty. No way to raise chickens here in our apartment in OR ;)
How are the raspberry plants this year? This part of Oregon is *loaded* with wild blackberry plants. I'm hoping to make jam if I can get some jars by the time they're ripe.