Today was the day!  We decided that we really were a couple of weeks late with the big Cornish Rock Cross birds, the real meat birds and son is here, the willing harvester of homegrown chicken meat to do the dirty deed with whatever help I could tolerate.
     Out of the 6 original meat birds that I purchased, two turned out to be a different smaller egg laying breed, two didn’t make it to adulthood, and the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had eaten themselves to the size of small turkeys.
     After doing what I could, helping with set up, getting the water for scalding to temp, reading instructions to him as he went through the process, then helping wash, chill and finally shrink wrapping and weighing them, the deed was done.
     The first one up this morning ended up being a hen, she even had a nearly formed egg of a good size.  She was one of the dinosaurs and dressed weight in at nearly 9 lbs.  So large that she had to be split to get her in 2 Food Saver bags.  Next up, the other big white bird was a cockrell, not quite as large, only about 8 lbs.
     To see if any of the others were ready, though they are only about 11 or 12 weeks old, we harvested a feisty Rhode Island Red rooster and if you have ever seen a plucked rubber gag chicken, that is what he looked like.  He only dressed at 30 ounces and won’t be good for much more than making chicken soup or stock.
     It was a learning experience.  I know that I find the smell of the cleaning process totally revolting.  We learned that it takes too much time to set up and clean up for only a couple of birds, they need to be done by the dozen.  I learned to use the new vac and seal Food Saver and discovered that you have to double seal the bags to get a good seal.  I am glad doing the deed doesn’t seem to bother our son, or they would all die of old age before I could do it, though I understand that it gets easier the more you do.  I don’t mind the washing, bagging, sealing and weighing.
     I could and usually am an ovo-lacto vegetarian anyway.
     The other reason for his trip was to do some work that hubby and I cannot do.  Son custom built all of our bedroom and downstairs bathroom doors.  We hung a bi-fold for our master bath and did not like it.  It was relocated to the storage closet in the basement rec room that was finished off last summer.  The doors are a sandwich of closet cedar between a spruce frame with Eastern Red Cedar trimmed around the outside edges.  It took two days of him working with my being a helper/go-fer to build the door and stain it.  It is in the process of being hung and it is beautiful.

     While he is here, he has also re-stained two of the three outside dormers and will finish the third if the rain ever stops.  We may also try to get a chicken ark/tractor built so that a fall flock of meat birds can be raised to keep his family in meat for the winter.
     The best part is having him home for a visit.

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