Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Time

Mouse in the House
This afternoon I was washing dishes when I heard a rustling by the stove. I looked over and saw a mouse's little paw stuck in the mouse trap. The trap was flopping around and I thought to myself this isn't good. I can't just leave it there. I took a broom and brought the trap into the middle of the kitchen. I called my little Shiba Inu into the kitchen in hopes she might kill it but it turns out she is all bark and no bite. She cowered in the living room. The mouse's beady black eyes bulged in fear and was staring up at me. Little did it know I was staring back at it in fear. What do I do now? I picked up the phone and called my husband. I told him of my predicament. Should I kill it? I asked him. He answered in a hushed tone, he was on his cell phone on the train, "No don't kill it." He said " just release it into the woods." But I can't I whined, its dark outside and what if it runs after me?" Trying hard not to raise his voice, for fear of what the train passengers might think of this strange caller, he said into the phone "but you just killed turkeys yesterday. Think of it as a little turkey." We hung up and I took a deep breath and grabbed a broom and dustpan. I swept the mouse onto the dust pan and ran over to wood pile and placed the trap on the ground and released the mouse. Ok, not so bad. But nothing like a turkey.

Turkey Processing
Yesterday I went to Glynwood to help with turkey processing. I thought processing turkeys might be harder than processing chickens, I like turkeys better, but surprisingly it didn't bother me. Instead of killing them in the steel cones like we do with the chickens, because they are too big for the cone, the turkeys were killed out in the field. This was accomplished by rigging hooks to the tractor bucket so the turkeys could be hung by their legs. Then their throats are slit and they are bled out. They don't really make any noise when they are upside down, the only creepy part is when they are dead and start spazzing when all the nerves are firing off.

The rest of it, scalding, plucking, and removing the innards is the same process as for the chickens only the turkeys are much much bigger. They go into a scalder (around 140F) into a plucking machine and then onto a table where we remove the feet, head, and everything inside the turkey, I struggled to lift the turkeys in and out of the cold water baths and onto the stainless steel table where I "operated." I could have sworn they weighed 50 pounds or more. Out of curiosity we threw one of the cleaned turkeys on the scale and it read 30 pounds.

It took 6 of us to process 40 turkeys in just over 5 hours. We were a well oiled machine. I broke down four turkeys by myself but I still don't quite have the feel for finding and removing the crock. And I feel extra nervous trying to remove the bile duct from the liver. I always end up taking a large chunk of the liver off with it just to make sure I don't burst the bright green nasty liquid all over the liver. But the rest of it is fairly easy.

I won't say that its my favorite job on the farm but its not the worst either. And it helps that I get to bring home a turkey for Thanksgiving. A delicious heritage Bourbon Red turkey. It seems like only yesterday I was feeding them raspberries and apple cores. Rest in peace turkeys...your life will not be in vain.

No comments:

Post a Comment