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Turkey Surprise

By TanithT, Jan 11, 2012 | |
  1. TanithT
    Figured I'd go grab one of the turkeys I saw advertised on Craigslist at $20, which is a bloody damn good price for an adult farm raised bird. Getting there was interesting to say the least, as it was in a place that neither Google Maps nor my laptop GPS had a clue even existed. Once I finished navigating through the Twilight Zone, there was a very elderly couple waiting for me on cane and walker. As we walked out to the coops, the gentleman explained, "We love raising birds and we'd keep on doing it if we could. I'd like to keep a hundred head of chickens. But since I had the stroke and pneumonia, and Momma's hands got mostly paralyzed by arthritis, the doc says we got to cut down." No kidding; they looked so fragile I found myself hoping they wouldn't expire before we completed our transaction.

    She added, "We've been eating on these birds, and we do love them, but we just can't dress them no more." I promptly offered to kill and dress a few birds for them on the spot if they wanted them for dinner, but they said no, their kids come by and help with that now and then. The birds were in very good condition, and clearly well fed. Looked tasty to me.

    There was a big white tom turkey roughly the size and shape of a giant beach ball, a middling sized white hen, and a much smaller pied hen. I'd really just wanted one, maybe two, but they wanted to make them a package deal. I figured I could live with that, given the insanely low price, the size discrepancy and their obvious need to lighten their workload. So I agreed to take the lot even though it would make the freezer situation interesting and my evening less relaxing than I'd hoped.

    He urged me to take a few of the chickens as well "for a good price", and I was tempted, but I'd only brought $60 in total. He said, "Well, that's all right....how about you just take all of these here roosters for free, and I'll be glad somebody's going to enjoy them birds." Free was a price I was not turning down for fresh farm raised birds, so I nabbed all five of them, taped their legs and laid them in open boxes on my tarped-over back seat. One of the buggers caught me good with his spur on the back of my hand, but I figured that revenge in this case was best served piping hot with a little salt and pepper, and maybe some of Rob's pan seared green beans on the side.

    Driving with eight big birds in open crates in the back seat is actually quieter than you might think, but still a bit of an adventure especially when trying to find one's way back from the middle of nowhere. More of an adventure was processing all eight birds in an evening. I am sore. As usual Rob did an absolutely stellar job being my backup meat processor; I couldn't have managed without him, especially after doing back and chest workouts on successive days prior to the slaughter. Ouch. Some nice slaughter bonuses were a bag of chicken and turkey testicles for poaching, some unlaid eggs from the hens and one oddly soft-shelled egg that the smallest pied hen actually laid as she was in the box awaiting her turn. The usual blood sausage will be in the works, and it's going to be a pretty big batch.

    The tom was so large (well over 30 lbs) that we butchered him out and tossed the bonier parts in the oven immediately for noshing. Very tasty meat. I approve, and this is a hell of a nice load of groceries for $60.

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