Monday, June 12, 2006

Frustrations of free-range geese

Before I started keeping a blog, I didn't think we did much around here. People would express surprise at how dedicated we were or how much we worked, but I pooh-poohed their comments, thinking that if they really knew how little we did, they'd be disappointed. Now that I'm keeping track of "stuff" by writing, I am realizing that we are really busy around here -- and I don't even write about half of it. I usually just write about a particular theme for each entry, something that kind of stuck out in my mind about what we did that day.

Saturday was a typical farm day in so many ways. First, we weren't able to do all the outside chores we wanted due to rain. It poured all day long. So, we did mostly inside stuff, continuing to work on our house. We also had company -- a couple of friends from Chicago who wanted to help with farm work. The rain outside changed it into a social day for us. Then around six in the evening, Mike came inside, and I knew from the look on his face that something bad had happened. Someone had run over two of our young geese. One of the buff geese and one of the white embden geese had been killed while crossing the road. We live on a gravel road. No one should be driving faster than about 30 miles per hour, and most people drive much slower past our place because they enjoy watching the animals. Many people slow to a crawl or even stop so they can get a closer look at the animals. It's rare to have an animal killed by a passing car. Over the past four years, we've lost two chickens to passing traffic, so it was a shock to loose two geese at once.

Knowing that they would have been worth $100 each at maturity, it was depressing on two levels to see them dead. Knowing that these geese had not been dead very long, it was not hard to decide that we needed to butcher them. At least we'd get something out of it. We realized quickly that the buff was not fit for human consumption because the body had been destroyed, so Mike just cut off some breast meat for the dogs. The other goose did not look like it was too badly damaged. There was a tire track across one wing, but it otherwise didn't appear too messy. As Mike worked on plucking, however, he realized one of the thighs was broken. He also learned that it's true what they say about plucking waterfowl -- it's hard! He spent three to four hours plucking. Then when he cut open the body to remove the intestines, he came upon the sad realization that the internal organs were destroyed. So after all those hours of plucking, he realized we could not use more than the breast meat and legs.

I've never cooked goose before, so I looked up goose recipes on the Internet. Currently, the legs are marinating in red wine, and the breast meat is marinating in buttermilk. Tomorrow, we'll cook them.


gnightgirl said...

$100 each?! There's about $60,000 worth of them across the street from me; come & get 'em!

I don't suppose wild canadian geese are the same, are they?

I'm sorry your geese got hit. It's interesting how you deal with it, in that "make lemonade" sort of way. Always interesting.

Deborah said...

I don't know anything about the price of wild geese. Free-range or pond-raised geese sell for about $100 each. I've had an Internet company asking me to raise them for two years, and we finally decided to try it.


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