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April 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection Day!

For today’s Easter meal I pulled out a whole chicken for roasting.  This is the first time I’ve ever done a whole chicken.  I don’t know how I’ve gone five years of marriage without doing it, but whatever.  I would have loved to have a more traditional ham or lamb, but we already had the chicken and the point is to be using up the rest of our food before the upcoming move.  Plus, putting the chicken in the crock pot before church and having it done by the time we got home seemed the most convenient anyway.  Especially because Matthew’s work schedule requires a semi-rushed lunch as he begins work at 3pm.

The chicken, though, is not without its own significance.  As many of you know, we raised these chickens from when they were one or two days old.  We fed them, watered them, and moved their chicken tractor around the yard every day for eight weeks.  We stepped in their nasty mess, chased them around to make sure their legs wouldn’t give out, and, near the end, began to detest them and their smell.  Then, in July (and a second batch in August) it was time for them to become freezer fodder.


With this breed of chicken, they go from egg to slaughter in eight weeks.  You cannot keep them longer – their legs give out and/or their heart explodes.  It is merciful to kill them before this happens (plus, you’ll waste their meat if they die naturally!).  So, we watched several YouTube videos to determine the method we liked best and went out to make them into tasty meals.  Too graphic?  Well, I suggest reading any section of Scripture that describes any sacrificial procedure!  After beheading, skinning, gutting, cutting up, and freezing 16 birds, Matthew and I learned that, logistically, those sacrifices were an amazing and disgusting feat!  The flies that came around only minutes after the first bird was being gutted were not terrible, but throughout the time we were processing the birds they got fairly unbelievable.  I didn’t even know we had such flies around here; I’d never seen them before!  The gut pile was quite foul (no pun intended).  And there was blood all over the place.  Partially because, as you know, chickens tend to flail (putting it mildly) once beheaded.  That saying about letting a chicken run around with its head cut off?  It’s true, though we never tried it…it would be quite messy and potentially bad for the meat.  When reading about the dedication at Solomon’s temple, you read the animals were so many they didn’t even bother to numerate them!  The killing (and the feasting) are incomprehensible.  And yet, so much more realistic having killed a few things myself.  I would also point out that killing something you’ve raised is different than hunting in some ways.  We’ve hunted a few things since living here in Alaska.  There were those grouse that (literally) wandered down our driveway and became the next night’s dinner.  The rabbit that was eating our potato plants (thought we didn’t eat it).  And, of course, the bear that became (and is still being enjoyed as) sausage.  The killing and processing of those animals was just not the same as the chickens we’d known and cared for for eight weeks.  The butchering of our meat birds actually became harder with each bird.  It was like as more of their friends disappeared, they knew what was coming and there was fear and sadness in their eyes.  I’m projecting, obviously, but it was hard to not read into what they must be “feeling.”  Anyway, Matthew and I discussed a lot about the Biblical practice of sacrificing during the days we butchered the chickens and how now that process is tangible.  And pulling one of the whole birds out of the freezer last night and comparing that to the ultimate sacrifice made that we remembered on Friday and how, unlike this poor (and tasty) chicken, was not permanent, except in its significance, brought our conversations and experience from last summer back to me.  How wonderful sacrificing an animal is no longer required of us when we sin!  So, while a chicken is not a traditional Easter feast, I thought it was quite appropriate this Easter Sunday.

By the way, the chicken was delicious!  Happy Easter!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    April 29, 2011 0829

    We’ve done the whole raising chickens thing too……needless to say I don’t think I will EVER do it again! It was traumatizing as a teenager! Anyways, I think you guys are amazing for doing it all yourselves! Wonderful family picture too!!

  2. Shannon permalink
    August 27, 2013 0829

    Lisa, I’m haunting your website and blog as I’m gathering intelligence for setting up ours. 🙂 You are so amazingly articulate, and I love all the thoughts you crammed into this post, especially having experienced those thoughts and actions myself. (And we were so thankful for those chickens that eventually migrated to our freezer when you pulled out of the Last Frontier!) Now – can I just cut and paste???!!


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