Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our goose ain't cooked

Last Monday, Aaron went goose hunting and shot a Lesser Canada Goose:
His hunting partners were kind enough to give him two of their geese, so we now have three geese to cook. I thought I’d share our adventures in goose cooking.

Of course, when you kill the animal yourself, it takes a while to get to the cooking
 part. An entire day, as it turns out, for one semi-experienced person to process three geese.
I tried, and failed to capture the beauty of these birds:

When I had to move a bird into better light for a photograph, I didn’t want to touch it, but picked it up by its neck, as Aaron had done. It was like carrying a teddy bear by its arm, but much, much denser and much, much softer. Real fur is slippery. These feathers didn't have any of that slickness; they were the platonic ideal of Plush. In fact, it was simply lovely to hold this dead goose.

Plucking is much easier if you dip the bird in boiling water, then ice water.

After Aaron had removed the top layer of light grey outer feathers, but none of the down, he came and got me. A goose's undergarment is even plusher than a goose's neck. Growing feathers are called pin feathers, and unlike hair, fur, or fingernails—which are made by stacking dead cells on top of each other—each growing feather is vascularized. This means feathers can achieve much greater versatility of form and function than fur. Feathers can look like fur, but fur always looks like fur.
Down:  the best insulation going. Here is some plucked .
I will save the rest of the goose processing for a future post. 

I just wanted to provide a quick up-date on our life. We are back on the grid! Memorial Day weekend, we moved from our secluded cabin in the woods to the suburbs. Rural suburbs, but suburbs nonetheless, with traffic whooshing by and neighbors whose homes we can see from our windows. Our lives are much more functional, no doubt about that. Maintenance-free electricity, shorter drive times, closets, more rooms than family members (if you count the bathroom, we had four rooms in the cabin), appliances, and synthroid have all played a part in getting our heads above water. By the time we moved, only our noses were above water.
Living off-the-grid takes a certain type of person, and as it turns out, I don’t think I’m that kind of person. I think Aaron usually is, but wasn’t these past few years. No doubt about it, a functioning thyroid is key to off-the-grid living. We recently learned that Aaron’s thyroid kicked the can at least a year ago. Many things make much more sense now. He is into his second week of synthroid, not enough time for the dosage to be properly calibrated, but he is peppier and happier already. I don’t have synthroid to sing about, but I do have a dishwasher. I’d never lived with a dishwasher before our most recent move, and five months later, I’m still singing about it. Yup. Life is good.


  1. So glad you're back to blogging - I can't wait to hear more!

  2. Thanks! I'm so glad to have the time and a subject.