Yes….I’m starting on Day 3. Maybe I’ll go back and do Day 1 and 2, but I found this project on Day 3, so here we go.
@ImaBima posted about Elul, the Hebrew month before the Jewish High Holidays, where we, as Jews, are supposed to be introspective and reflect on our past year as we prepare for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. My friend, Adam Schaffer posted his contribution to #BlogElul, and I was intrigued, given our last few days here at the Hatton House. So I thought I’d party crash day 3, and see how this goes. The blog is in desperate need of post-vacation updating, so at the very least, we’ll have that.
I’ve been thinking about “Intentions” quite a bit in the last 2 days. Two days ago, I awoke to the sound of a rooster crowing at 9:40 AM and I thought, “That has to be one of my chickens. Only I would have a rooster that thinks dawn is at 9:40 AM.” Our chickens are about 4 months old, and there was always one that was a little bigger, but I was advised to wait for the telltale crowing or egg. I went outside and of course, the crowing stopped. I didn’t want to falsely accuse anyone, so I went inside and googled “Buff Orpington Rooster” and found a post on determining chicken sex (stop snickering…this is serious). Armed with this new information, I went back outside, and to my great dismay, one of my chickens had larger feet and sickle tail feathers. I waited until the crowing the next morning (this time at 6:30 AM) and confirmed, that yes, we had a rooster, which is illegal within the city of Des Moines. He had to go. I looked on Craigslist, but there were so many roosters already posted for $1-2, and there was no way I was going to sell him for that after raising him from a chick, to have someone else slaughter him or use him to fight. He was my responsibility.
Talking about killing aging hens after they stop laying in a few years is not the same as needing to dispatch a rooster right now. In a few years, we’ll be experienced urban farmers, and we’d be able to handle it. Yesterday, we hadn’t even had an egg yet. And things were about to get real. I posted on the Iowa Urban Chicken Farmers page and got connected with someone who pointed me to a YouTube video produced by Permies.com. In it, she not only describes in detail how to harvest a chicken, but has the most beautiful manner of putting you at ease with it. And she got me thinking….
How much intention do we put into what we eat? This isn’t just about keeping kosher or not (I don’t) but about thinking about where our food comes from, who benefits from what we eat, and what happens to the animals that we pretend don’t have lives before they get to the butcher counter. I hadn’t thought about the life the chicken that was already in my fridge lived, and yet, you have to face it when you butcher your own food. It’s a pretty intense experience, but I’m glad to have done it (OK, I sat next to my husband and watched, but I was there). It’s like the tomatoes from your garden are so much more satisfying than store bought ones, but on the whole other level of connectivity and consciousness about food. So, as you move through Elul, whether you are Jewish or not, observant or not (this is my first awareness that I was supposed to be doing something prior to Rosh Hashana) I invite you to harvest your food (it can be from a local farmer, if you don’t have your own backyard rooster) and eat with intention.