a whiz bang of a weekend

So this is how the blog post will go. Pictures first. And then, if you are curious, you can read more below (and I mean read a lot more because I tend to be wordy and I often don’t hold back on posting lenghthy blogs…)

Rob is building a whiz bang chicken plucker for our friends, the Rabons, for their first round of poultry processing. After the chicken has been killed, and dipped in scalding water, this is the device that will QUICKLY remove all the feathers!

Halle is checking out the assembly process

At the Rabons house and ready to help with the processing. These chickens are 8 weeks old and have lived their whole life being grain fed and in the fresh open air on lake front property – poultry living doesn’t get much better than that!

The girls are waiting around pre-processing,
wondering if this is something they really want to stick around to see

Photos of the actual killing won’t be posted here,
but they can be sent to anyone upon their request : )
This is just a picture of the processing area used after the chickens are no longer living
from left to right: the pots to scald the chicken in to loosen up the feathers
the whiz bang chicken plucker that removes all the feathers in a matter of seconds
the stainless steal table where the evisceration takes place

and DO click <here> for the you tube of the chicken plucker!

You have got to see this!!

our friend Brie Rabon is quickly becoming quite the master and teacher of poultry evisceration

By the 4th chicken, I finally got the hang of it!

So what do you do when the chickens have been processed
and are chillin’ (literally) on some ice in the coolers,
waiting for rigor mortis to subside?
Well, if you are on a lake and have a boat, you go tubing!!

Halle and Ella Rabon

switching tubers

Dee, Ian Rabon, and Gracie get a turn

Now after skimming through the pictures, if you are still interested to know what in the world we were up to apart from whizzing the girls around on a tube, then do read on…

It mostly started with the movie Food, INC. . If you have not seen this, it is a must for your viewing! And not because it is entertaining and wonderful (nope, those are not words to describe this…) instead it is quite disturbing and the contents will be (excuse the pun) hard to digest. But even though you need to be forewarned, it is still something that all should see, because it is essential for raising awareness of the state of our nation’s food industry! Seriously, you need to watch this!! It is a documentary-like film that “Reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.” One of the “good” farmers represented, one that models and promotes a better way, is Joel Salatin. This is a guy who “believes that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world” and he “invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.” And they continue to push for environmentally-friendly farming practices. One of the points made for us (who are the consumers) is that with every dollar we spend on food, we are essentially making a vote of what we are in support of in how our food is processed. After watching, I am certain you will want to make many changes in what you allow your grocery money to purchase for your family.

It can be discouraging that making necessary changes that promote a better way of consuming food can be rather costly. And it is unfortunate that living in a subdivision with HOA rules and regulations means we are unable to really do any of our own processing when it comes to eggs, dairy, and meat. So we are left to finding other means apart from the industrialized food market that are not budget-friendly. But fortunately, we have friends nearby that can do their own processing!! And their first attempt at backyard poultry processing is what we were called on to be a part of last weekend.

Our friends the Rabons purchased cornish cross chickens (for $1 each, I think) so that they could raise them and process them in a humane manner; and all the while controlling the chickens intake, ensuring they were raised without animal by-products or hormones. They have very much adopted Joel Salatin’s outlook on it all (a farmer referenced in food, inc) and you can read more about that vision <here>. We were so thankful that we were able to be apart of it and know that there will be future processing weekends to come. It is so rewarding to know you played a positive role in determining the quality of your food and knowing exactly where it came from.

Someday, The Van Vleets WILL live on acres of land with our own hormone free dairy cows, laying hens, broiler chickens, and organic gardens and pesticide free grain fields (oh and I need to have my running trails in there, too)! Wouldn’t that just be amazing!!! But for now, we are so blessed to have friends that live close by who can help better educate us in the agrarian ways and allow us to profit in the way of living and food consumption they are striving towards.

Thank you Rabon family for a great weekend : ) we love you guys and hope you stay nearby!!

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