Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pheasant Anyone?

I've talked a lot about our family's desire to learn more farming/self-preservation skills. We are blessed to be a round a family that have immersed this way of life. We are always asking questions and learning. Sometimes we falter on the application though…(it's hard to work when you've been a 'lazy city girl' your entire life!)

On our recent visit to their house their dog killed a pheasant. They grow pheasants and have pheasants everywhere on their land so they graciously told us to take it home and eat it. Really, that's so sweet of you guys. (gag gag) My boys were really into this exciting prospect. What was I to say? So after some oral directions on how to pluck, skin and gut it we set off for home. When my oldest son (11 years) was gagging as they talked about this I determined that this had to be done. Time to 'do' instead of read and philosophize about self-reliance!

We made it home late that evening. It was 10 degrees. Mr. Patriot wasn't home yet so we decided to leave it in his car (that we had been using for the day) until he got home and we could ask him where he wanted it to be stored for the night. We ended up with last minute dinner guests who stayed really late and so the bird was forgotten.

Fortunately eight year old Leader remembered in the morning before Mr. Patriot went to work. Mr. Patriot was a little startled to learn there was "a dead bird in his car." There were lots of giggles.

Next thing I know the pheasant is defrosting in front of the space heater in the kid's room. Oh, I thought, this is going to be exciting. Later, after dinner (we eat dinner at noon) the kids set off to take care of business. I decided that the boys could go do their manly exploits while us woman folk stayed home.

They had to do the job in two sessions because it was so cold but they returned with the meat and proud of their exploits. I had told them to respect the poor animal and try to learn a little anatomy during the whole thing. They reported on what they learned.

Next came Liberty and I as we washed and cleaned the meat. We all called it a day after that left it in the refrigerator for dinner the next day. The boys said they were a little traumatized and worried they would have nightmares. But we had a good talk and we all made it through the night. : )

I do have to say that the pheasant feet that they are carrying around is grossing me out a little. I have to keep reminding them to keep the feathers in their cubby or take them outside. They have made some new arrows and restocked the feathers in their cowboy hats.

Liberty pulled out her Mt. Vernon cook book and fixed us up a delicious meal for noon the next day. We all ate it and were very somber about the whole thing.

The amazing thing was that I felt that we were doing the right thing. That may sound dumb, but we using the resources God had provided us. We weren't wasting. We were humble and appreciative, and we certainly didn't feel gluttonous!

Goals made: Learn more about plucking, skinning and gutting animals. Okay I should say 'do' more…..We are really good about learning about everything. We must do more. We are also going to start working on creating a chicken coop for at least layers this spring.

So there ends our little story about striving to return back to a 'whole life;' and a life prepared.


Mr. Smith said...

That's awesome, congrats!

We have some hens (for the eggs) and occasionally we've turned some of them into dinner. It's been a learning experience for us, and how grateful we were for many excellent tutorials on the Internet!

I don't know if it works for pheasants, but with chickens there's a wonderful way to get off the feathers in about 10 seconds I discovered as a full-time missionary in Brazil.

Make a small incision near the foot and insert a stiff straw or hollow pen. Put one end in the incision and blow in the other. The skin + feathers poofs up and away from the meat like a balloon, then it just peels away. We don't like chicken skin, anyway, so it's no loss for us, but if you wanted to eat the skin, AFAIK you're stuck with plucking.

Oh, a final tip: decapitate the chicken or make a small incision up near the neck first. Forced air - with nowhere to go but back up the straw and in your mouth - swirled around chicken gizzards is nasty.

Enjoy! :)

Joyful Saint said...

hehe. you're welcome. come back soon.

crazy4boys said...

Good job! That's something we still need to learn and do. You can use the feet and bones to make a nutritious broth. The feet will add lots of bone healthy calcium and gelatin (which is very good for your intestines).

Emily said...

So I have a hard time stomaching thinking about it, but I think it's a valuable thing to know!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I had to laugh through your whole post. Even those who have been raised on the farm still gag at times like these. :D

My husband and I have been given the task of "fixing" the turkey each year for Thanksgiving. Only because he took a meat cutting class at Ricks and we slaughtered our own pig after we were married. The meat sure is good though!

Mama Rachel said...

Wow! That's so great! It never ceases to amaze me how much easier it is to idealize of self-reliance, than to do the hard work. (I know *I* like being so far removed from all the details of preparing animals for eating!)

Way to go! I don't know that I would have been able to do what you did. :-) Thanks for your good example!

Kassie said...

Love it! I'm impressed that you actually followed through on the whole deal. I also 'romanticize' being self sufficient, but when I think about having to kill and dress animals for food, I seriously think I might just become vegetarian. Too much for me. Luckily my husband has few qualms about it.

Ranee said...

My husband and I enjoyed reading this post! You are such a brave example to me! Thank you! You have inspired my friend Deanna, and I to try and start a "Lost Arts" group for our homeschooling community. It should be exciting and very informative! I can't wait! Thanks for all that you teach me! :0)

Googs said...

Such a great post! I agree that it is a vital thing for my kids to learn these "lost arts".

I remember my brother bringing home a pheasant. We were used to the "preparation" as we had always raised chickens, but I was not fond of the taste. Well done!!

Kimberly said...

How different that is than buying meat at the grocery store.