Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead

Chicken Doomsday of 2009
October 12, 2009, 3:50 pm
Filed under: Farm Life

Once upon a time we had 13 free range chickens who provided us with delicious farm fresh eggs.  These golden days ended during the hottest summer months and never returned.  Was it that the chickens were just too old?  Not finding enough food?  Laying somewhere else? Too hot? Regardless of the reason for our lack of eggs, we were fed up. The very stupid chickens’ only use was as an entertaining spectacle for baby boy as they obnoxiously wandered up to the house and stared at us through the windows.  When they started wandering into the neighbor’s yard and pooping all over our driveway, something had to be done and that thing was Chicken Doomsday of 2009…

The day began with a mournful rain. None of us were thrilled about what had to be done, but carry on we did.  Grace and I made room in the freezer while the men folk made their way down the hill to retrieve the first few unlucky birds.  Apparently, swinging them by their feet has a hypnotizing effect:


Then they sat on them and cut of their heads.  Really. Photograph not included. Instead here’s a photograph of my little farmer napping soundly unaware of the demise of his beloved friends:


This is where we stored them before plucking time:

Can we try to see the humor in this?

Can we try to see the humor in this?

Plucking is awful.  Like really bad.  Really really really bad. We borrowed this machine from the farm to get the bulk of the feathers off:


Then we plucked with our fingers and tweezers.  Grace was thoroughly disgusted, as well she might be, yet soldiered on impressively.


Little known fact (at least to me until yesterday): Chickens smell TERRIBLE.  Worse than rotten fish.  I’m not sure why, but it’s true.

After plucking three chickens, my little farmer woke up from naptime and I tended to him during the gutting phase.  Do I feel a little guilty to have not participated in the gutting and left it to the others?  Yes.  Was I delighted that I did not have to view the scene as I heard dialogue like, “I just can’t get the lungs out.  The intestines and bowels are in the trash but those lungs…” or “where’s the esophagus?” or “oh no” ? Yes, a thousand times yes.

We thoroughly sanitized the whole kitchen afterwards, Mom.  I promise.

We thoroughly sanitized the whole kitchen afterwards, Mom. I promise.

Anyhow, we have 10 frozen chickens in the freezer and ate a delightful chicken stew last night with leeks and potatoes by the fireside.

It seems reasonable that if one is not willing to slaughter an animal for eating, one should not eat said animal after someone else slaughters it, which calls into question whether I am ever allowed to eat poultry again. Way grosser than I imagined.  Like disgusting.  Like really really disgusting.

Happy 8 Months, Little Boy!
October 8, 2009, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Children


I can’t believe my little one is eight months old today.


He grew from this little bundle:


To this silly guy that giggles and crawls and climbs everything:


Happy eight months, little mountain goat.

October Pictures
October 4, 2009, 2:59 am
Filed under: Children


Doesn't he look like his papa and a little like Uncle Garrett?

Doesn't he look like his papa and a little like Uncle Garrett?


Benjamin considers the buttons on Papa's shirt.

Benjamin considers the buttons on Papa's shirt.


Mama and Benjamin

Mama and Benjamin


Benjamin watched part of Funny Face with Ellie and I.  He danced during the musical numbers.

Benjamin watched part of Funny Face with Ellie and I. He danced during the musical numbers.


"Papa, I need to tell you a secret."

"Papa, I need to tell you a secret."


Like father like son.

Like father like son.


This is my favorite of the bunch.

This is my favorite of the bunch.


Today Benjamin and I went to the zoo so that Papa could work on his thesis. The fish are still his favorite.

Mom, this looks like a good resource on angels:


Guardian Angels—Not Superstitious Nonsense (in fact, Rather Respectable)
October 1, 2009, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Misc

My Mom asked me last night what the theological basis is for guardian angels.  As tomorrow is the Feast of the Guardian Angels, it seems appropriate to consider this. So here you go, Mom.

The phrase “Guardian Angel” usually conjures this sort of image for me:


It makes me think of superstition and miserably bad art and begs the question, “Why not trust in God instead of the goofy looking pastel-clad folks?” I think this is the wrong question to ask, and not just because I highly doubt angels look anything like the one in the visual atrocity above.

According to Holy Scripture God’s angels are present in our world and are commissioned by God to guard us, protect us, defend us, etc. Therefore it is not theologically unsound to trust in the care of the angels which God has given charge over us in spite of all the bad art and terrible poems that feature them.

It seems that there is absolutely no question whether angels do guard the faithful. St. Thomas explains that Archangels deliver messages from God and angels protect individuals. However, it is not affirmed in Church doctrine whether or not each person has a guardian angel ‘assigned’ to them.  Many of the church fathers did believe this.  St. Basil, for instance, explains, “That there is an angel for each one of the faithful no one will contradict.” St. Jerome says something similar.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their [angels’] watchful care and intercession. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels” (CCC 336).

So don’t feel uncomfortable believing in guardian angels, Mom. It’s not only not lame but its very scripturally sound as you can see by the references given in the article on Guardian Angels in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

So bake some Angel Food Cake for tomorrow and don’t apologize for it.