Saturday was a jam-packed day for sure. We had a potluck at our house in the afternoon, but had invited everyone to come early to witness/help with our chicken processing. No one came. Go figure.
Don's folks were visiting, though, so we roped them into it. Where could they hide?
We had 20 chickens to butcher that morning and though one ended up escaping, we did get the rest finished. I still do not have those step-by-step photos I'd like to get sometime. Don't worry, though. When I do, I'll warn you before I post them.
The kids were, as always, big helps during the deed. Both of them were able to tackle small tasks on the butchering table. The legs and head are fairly simple to remove and Caleb had also moved on to removing the neck. Removing the neck consists of first skinning it, then removing the crop (where chickens "chew" their food), and then cutting through the neck at the base. This, though, is where it all went wrong.
I had gone inside to prepare the 8 birds already done for the freezer by rinsing, drying and bagging them. In the midst of that, Don's dad shoves Caleb through the door with a simple phrase: "Gina, Caleb cut himself."
"Cut himself" was a bit of an understatement. When I first saw him, I thought he had cut a finger off with the way he was holding his hand and the amount of blood. Thankfully, it was not that bad. It was, however, very deep and I couldn't wash the blood away enough to even really tell how deep. So, I wrapped his hand up tight in a towel, threw him in the car, and raced off to the hospital in town.
Now at this time, I feel it necessary to tell you about the drive. I was traveling the rock road at a pretty high rate of speed. Even though our road is one of the busiest in the area, relatively speaking, it is still usually completely empty from one end to the other. With my luck, however, there was a red SUV in front of me. They, of course, were not driving quite the speed I was. And out here, people drive down the middle of the road. So when I came up to them, I tapped on my horn a few times and they moved over to let me pass. I drove past them thinking they probably thought I was a lunatic.
That thought was confirmed when I later remembered the time a few weeks ago when we spotted two fawns on the side of the road. I hit the brakes and we looked at them, but Meagan could not see them well, so I put the car in reverse. Only then did I look at the rear-view mirror and see that we were not alone. I don't know when they had gotten there, but there was someone behind me and here I was, in the middle of the road at a dead stop, about to back up. You can probably see where this is going. Instead of backing up, obviously, I pulled over to the side of the road to let them pass. Yes, I let that red SUV pass.
I can see the old farmers at the tables in the gas station now. Drinking their coffee and shaking their heads about the crazy woman who lives at ****'s old place. "City people," they'll say.
Anyway, back to Saturday. I got Caleb to the hospital and they stitched him up with 4 stitches. The cut is right on the knuckle, so he also gets to wear a splint while the stitches are in to keep him from bending his finger and popping them right out.
By the time we got home, the chickens were done and nearly all cleaned up. And no, neither of us planned it that way. But, we didn't complain either.
The potluck that afternoon was terrific. I originally said there were 60 people, but I've since gone back and counted and came up with 74. Quite a few made a pretty long drive to get there, coming from Fremont, Omaha, and Lincoln. We also had a pretty nice local crowd. We had the goats penned up for a miniature petting zoo and the kids thoroughly enjoyed both that and running wild on all the land.
Caleb got plenty of questions about his finger at the potluck. His favorite response was "I was wrestling a big coyote." When his audience looked doubtful, he confessed that actually, "while butchering, a chicken had grabbed a knife and cut him!"
What a cut up.