Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday afternoon

After leaving Wadena, I drove to Fergus Falls and killed a bit of time shopping at Fleet Farm.  Gotta love Fleet Farm, it's like Macy's for farmers.  When noon rolled around I figured it was time to head back to Ashby to pick up my ex-roosters.

The landscape around Wadena and Fergus is a lot different than around my hometown.  More trees, more hills, and more swamps and bogs. Which is very nice, if you like that sort of thing.  Me, give me a rolling prairie any day and I'm happy.

The snowmobilers had already taken advantage of the recent snowfall.

At 12:30 pm I parked in front of TFC Poultry, and walked inside.

They had lots of different meats for sale.  I was tempted to buy a frozen goose.  I've never tasted goose before.  The idea of having roast goose for a holiday meal appeals to me.  It seems very Victorian.

I walked up to the lady at the counter, and told her who I was.  She smiled and told me to wait there, she'll go find out where my chickens are.  A few minutes later she came back, a look of confusion on her face.  She can't seem to find my chickens.  I joked, 'did they fly away?'  She gave a light laugh, and I realized she's probably heard that one about five hundred times before.  She turned and saw someone coming out of the processing area, in the back of the building.  She asked her where my chickens are.  The processing lady said that they are first on the list to be processed, AFTER LUNCH.  They should be ready for pick-up, say, around 3:30.

What the #*$%?   My blood boiled.  My temper flared.  I tell the woman I was told they would be done by 1 pm.  When I made the appointment, I was told to have them here by 6:30 am, so they could be processed first thing.  The boss himself told me that morning, that he would call me if it would be later than 1 pm.  And here I am, looking at another THREE HOUR wait til I get my chickens.  The counter lady looked at me apologetically.  She recommended a local cafe for lunch.

I am a quiet person by nature, really I am.  But for whatever reason, right then and there in that store, I wanted to scream.  I wanted to throw things.  I wanted to rip all the hamburger patties, sausage links and chicken giblets out of the display cases and kick them across the floor.  But there was no use, my chickens would not be done any faster if I destroyed the place.

I walked outside, got into my car and called my husband. I told him I wouldn't be home til 5 pm, at the earliest.  Fighting back tears, I knew I was tired and emotionally erratic.  Four hours of sleep will do that to a person.  After a few deep breaths, I started the car.  I drove to Alexandria, had lunch and killed more time walking around stores.

At 3:30 pm sharp, I again walked through the door at the poultry processors.  The chickens were waiting for me, and the lady seemed overly helpful, carrying out the box and helping me load them into my cooler.

An hour-and-a-half after leaving finally leaving Ashby, twelve hours after leaving the house that morning, I pull into my driveway.  The sun has gone down, and the sky is a dusky dark blue.  I stomp wearily up the stairs of the deck, open the door, walk into the kitchen, and slump into a chair.  Hubby puts the kettle on for tea, and the kids all come running to give Mom hugs.

Infamy or no, it was a long day.


Erin said...

Oh, my heart sank, I thought for sure you were going to say your poultry was mixed up with someone else's and you were going to end up with others raised under questionable surroundings!! Bad business practice for them to have you there so early and not deliver on schedule, but at least you got "your" chickens in return. Sounds like maybe a "killing cone" is in your future if this happens again!

Mama Pea said...

Oh. Oh. Oh. Another sinking heart here. I was thinking the same thing Erin was! Drat and blast. I'm sure you were thinking of ALL the things you could have been doing with those extra hours you had to spend killing time. I guess we've all found ourselves in similar circumstances once or twice. Doesn't make it any easier to tolerate in the moment.

How many people have "a killing cone" on their Christmas wish list as you may this year? (Not so strange for a homesteader at all!)

P.S. If we lived closer, you would have a Christmas goose to try this year!

nt moore said...

This will probably sound like a mean comment from the guy who sold you some of those roosters, but it is well meant.

Learn to butcher your own chickens. It is messy, but acquiring this skill will make your life much, much easier.

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

The processor looks like a cool shop (nothing like that here, and many butchers won't do fowl anymore); despite the mix up I am glad you posted and glad you finally got the birds, lovely btw!
The happy ending is the best--hugs and tea!

Leigh said...

We butchered our roosters ourselves. I don't even think there's a farm butcher anywhere near here.

Mama Pea, not so strange. DH has butchering knives on his Christmas list!

Jo, in looking over your past several posts I'm impressed with the types of stores you have in town. Nothing like that here! Gosh, I went to Tractor Supply and asked if they carried milking buckets and the gal had to ask what I was talking about! (Obviously they don't carry them.)

Karen said...

What the heck is a "killing cone"??? I can't even visualize how a cone can help butcher a chicken! Guess I'm not country-fied enough yet! I"m sure when I step foot on our Ellsworth property, it will come to me though!We talk to a builder this weekend about house plans though! Can't wait!

Erin said...

Hi Karen - just wondering, are you speaking of Ellsworth, WI? Mother Earth News website has a good tutorial to make your own "killing cone" LOL that does sound sadistic, doesn't it?

Jo said...

Hi Erin -- No, I can tell these are my chickens. Half of them were scrawny leghorns, so I know they didn't get mixed up with beefy broilers.

Hey Mama Pea -- Actually, we do already have a killing cone nailed to a tree in our yard, from the last time we butchered. It's an old plastic bucket with a hole in the bottom. Killing bucket doesn't have the same ring to it, though. You have goose? Another reason why you need to move closer to me!

Hello nt moore -- We have butchered our own in the past, I just wussed out this year. We will probably do our own next year, though. Unless we have turkeys. Never butchered a turkey before.

Howdy Liz -- Yeah the shop was pretty cool. And now that some time has passed, I have cooled down. I was just overly tired that day, and really wanted to get home before my kids got off the bus. Oh well!

Hey Leigh -- All those lovely stores are an hour-and-a-half's drive from us, so we don't go there very often! Yeah, I can imagine there's not a lot of call for milking buckets these days!

Hi Karen! You probably don't want to know what a killing cone is ... even when you do move out to Ellsworth, I doubt you'd be putting one to any use! Good luck with the builder!

Hey Erin -- Yes, my big sis has bought fifteen acres of corn field near Ellsworth, WI, and is planning out her dream country estate. Doesn't it sound fun?! I don't think she plans on butchering anything, though!

Erin said...

Jo, that's actually where we are headed first at Christmas! My parents moved from the farm in Red Wing last year "to town" in Ellsworth, WI. Feels weird to me when we go since it's not where we grew up - and having parents that are Cheeseheads now LOL! At least it's only 15 mins from Red Wing though, what a small world it is!!

Unknown said...

Are any of these rooster the old ones that you had last year like those ameraucanas and your leghorn and salmon favorolle?

Jo said...

Nope, these were all from the 2010 additions. Of those older roosters, we butchered three of the six Ameracaunas last spring, gave two away, and kept the third. The leghorn roo disappeared mysteriously a few months ago, and we still have the two salmon faverolles. We kept one roo from the 2010 batch, a black silkie. So, we now have four roosters. They all seem to get along just fine.

Unknown said...

Thanks for replyling, is the ameraucana rooster you saved that old broken toe one.

Jo said...

Yup. He's a very nice old roo, we would never butcher him.