19 chickens on ice

Yesterday we took the second batch of chickens (the slower growing ladies and one giant rooster) to the slaughterhouse. I’m glad I went this time and saw them through the whole process. I have similar conflicted feelings as Andy when it comes to eating meat. Ending lives is sad, no matter what species they are.

The second batch of chickens on their last day

It was interesting to watch the whole process of live chicken to food. It’s amazing how quickly it all happens. I’ll spare you the bloody details.

I like to tell myself that at least these chickens died quickly in a slaughterhouse where the human workers don’t seem to be mistreated or exposed to dangerous conditions. The chickens lived their lives outdoors with fresh grass every day. I’m certainly more excited to eat them than any chicken we could buy in the grocery store.

The really hard part of yesterday came after we got the chickens home. First, we cooled them in ice water. We’ve been told that it’s important to cool the meat as quickly as possible. Since we still have almost a week until we cook the chickens, we had to figure out how to keep them fresh and safe for our guests. We talked with people at the slaughterhouse and did some research to find that fresh chicken can be stored safely for a week on ice, as long as it’s kept below 39 degrees. Even though we have two refrigerators, both of them were full when we came home with the chickens, one with mostly pickles and melons. Somehow, though, Andy found space for 19 chickens on ice. We went out and bought some more ice and we’re monitoring the temperature carefully. So far so good.

Sometimes I look forward to the end of this whole project, because then there won’t be so much to keep track of and think about. It seems crazy that, without any prior experience cooking for crowds, we’re trying to pull together a meal for more than 90 guests. But I do not regret taking this on, and I’m determined to do enough planning ahead of time so we can simply enjoy ourselves next weekend. As Andy keeps reminding me, it’ll be great.

4 responses to “19 chickens on ice

  1. You two are amazing – not crazy at all, but adventurous, curious, and interested in learning new things. Time for some deep breathing and a slow walk in the woods. When the wedding day comes, leave all details to the friends and family who want you to enjoy each other and your special day!
    love,
    mom Jane

  2. thank you julia and andy for the wonderful update-I agree with andy, your upcoming wedding is going to be great! we so look forward to seeing you then! love and hugs, judy, alfie, david and ariel

  3. “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his or her dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he or she has imagined, s/he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. S/hewill put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him or her; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and s/he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as they simplify their lives, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them….I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extra-vagant enough, may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limits of my daily experience, so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced. ” Walden

  4. I wish you many, many blessings as you enter your final week of preparations. Although I’m a stranger to you, enjoying your blog from afar, I have treasured every word and effort you’ve made to create your special wedding celebration. You’ve reminded me so often of when I first set out to grow organically on my newly purchased farm in Clinton, Maine back in 1973. My gardens this summer benefited from all your reminders! Thank you!

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