Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday morning

Tuesday was the day that will live in infamy.  For my chickens, at least.  It was the day of destiny for ten of my roosters.  Months before I had made an appointment with the butcher up in Ashby (a 90-minute drive away), the closest abattoir (I just love that word) that handles small-batch poultry processing.  When I made the appointment, the lady stressed that I needed to have them there by 6:30.  That meant leaving my house at 5 am.  Which meant getting up no later than 4:30.  Shower and breakfast be damned.

The night before, hubby helped me catch the unawares roosters and load them into a large dog kennel in my car.  The next morning at 5 am sharp I drove out of the driveway for the journey north. 

At 6:30 am sharp I pulled up in the alley behind the processor.  It was still pitch black, and two other truck-loads of chicken were unloading ahead of me.  I always feel so sorry for the broilers that are brought to butcher, their mutant huge chests bulging outward, their raw pink skin showing through the bare patches of white feathers.  Dried blood and crusted dirt are caked on the feathers that remain.  My chickens are aristocracy in comparison: sleek, full-feathered and clean.

The chickens were unloaded, and I asked when I could pick them up.  The guy said probably around noon, but go upstairs and talk to the boss.  I'm having a fresh service, which means I will pick them up today, chilled but not frozen.  Most folks drop them off and pick them up a few days later, but I didn't want to make the return trip.  So I went upstairs and talked to 'the boss,' who thought they will be done before noon and 1 pm, but I should leave my cell phone number in case it's earlier or later than that.  I gave him the number, and went on my way.  I left Ashby behind me and headed for Wadena, MN, a further 90 minute drive northeast.

I drove into Wadena just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. 

Wadena has a lovely downtown, lots of old brick buildings.

I stop at a cafe for a bit of breakfast.  The dining room is full, and I take a small table near the door.  It's so interesting to see how the older women and men divide themselves: grey-haired women at one table and grey-haired men at another.  I sit near the men's table and listen to them yammer.  I am familiar with their talk, it is pretty much the same as the talk at my hometown cafe.  Lots of jokes, lots of BS, lots of gossip.  And lots of ignorant indignation, mainly against the government.  Which makes me, as a government employee, want to smack them upside the head.  Add to that lots of careless cursing, which makes me want to smack them upside the head even more.  I restrain myself and finish my eggs and hashbrowns.

At 9 am I arrived at my real destination, Buckwheat Growers of Minnesota.  This small coop is where I like to get my chicken feed.  They have a variety of locally grown feeds for all sorts of critters.  They also have organic and transitional feed.  Given the price of organic, I opted this time for transitional ($12.50 for a 50-lb bag).


I got twenty bags of 19% chicken mash loaded into the back of my minivan, and headed on my way.


Erin said...

What a busy morning! I miss the "downtowns" of Minnesota, you are right, the talk is all the same in every one LOL

Jo said...

Yes, a friend of mine thinks those same group of farmers follow him around to all the small cafes he goes to. They all look and talk the same!