It was great of my parents to take me and my daughter in after my failed marriage, and I really appreciated it. I wanted to be an asset. I wanted to help. I decided to make dinner for them all by myself. There was no meat except the kind walking around on two legs (or four legs. However, I thought that meat on four legs would probab ly be too much for me to butcher all by myself.) I prepared to butcher a chicken. I put a large pot of hot water on the stove and turned on the heat. Water needed to be scalding hot in order to remove the feathers from a freshly butchered bird. I put an empty metal bucket just outside the kitchen door. I rounded up the axe and found a stump I could use for a butchering block. Next, I chose a sacrificial victim. We only had one rooster, so he had to be spared, to keep the eggs fertile. I had been watching which hens left eggs in the nest and grabbed one that I thought didn’t. She huddled in my arms like she was expecting to be mated. Sorry little hen, that’s not what’s in store for you this time.

I grabbed her by the wings and legs and laid her head on the stump. I held the wings with my left hand and transferred the legs to between my knees. In my right hand I wielded the axe!

Neck is my favorite part. I wanted it as long as possible, so I brought the axe down swiftly, aiming for the very top of the neck. She moved, and the axe cut off her bill and part of her face.

She got away for a minute and stumbled around in the grass bleeding profusely. She couldn’t see. I caught her again, both of us determined. Me to finish the job, and she to escape. She was slimy with blood. This time I cut half the neck off along with the rest of the head. The cat ran off with it while I put the butchered chicken in the bucket, poured boiling water over her and removed the feathers, after having allowed the headless bird to flop around in the grass for a while bleeding out, I hoped, in spite of my botched attempt to end her life in one stroke.

Next, I cut up the bird for the frying pan. I cut off the wings, feet, legs, and thighs. Next I used a short, sharp knife to carefully cut around the rectum. The object is to keep the entrails intact so that no feces spills on the meat. I had never chopped a head off before, but I was well experienced in the more sedentary aspects of butchering, having had a long apprenticeship with my father.
I rinsed the edible pieces and threw the feet, entrails, and lungs outside for the cat. I left the kidneys in the lower back, another of my favorite pieces. I loved biting into the fat around the tail.

I started a little oil heating in the frying pan, mixed whole wheat flour and egg in a bowl, dipped the edible pieces in the batter and placed them in the hot olive oil. I added the heart and liver after everything else.

After browning the chicken in oil, I added water, turned down the flame and placed a lid over the cast iron pan. An older bird would need to stream for awhile. I also made a salad and streamed some frozen peas and carrots.

My parents came home to a home cooked meal. I didn’t tell them why the neck was so short.

I remembered the botched butchering a few days ago while mentioning that I had once done a lot of butchering, in an effort to explain why I now no longer eat butchered things. At the time, I decided not to tell this story, since others were eating chicken. (The botched butchering took place about 45 years ago.)

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