So much for my musings last week that we might actually be close to Hobby Farm status at this point, with our little cluster of chickens and me the fledgling gardener.  Yesterday we visited a Real Farm.  A third generation  farm run by a real farmer and his wife that actually has a real name and a real history:  Diamond B Ranch.  They’ve got the whole kit and caboodle goin’ on over there:  the animals, the gardens, the CSA, the Farmer’s Market.

We were impressed, to say the least.  Not only is the place enormous, and immaculate, and the owners obviously extremely hard-working, it  would also seem their ambition knows no bounds.  They have plans to open both a restaurant and a bed and breakfast in the near future.  I assumed they must have loads of help, bored parents and cousins perhaps with nothing else to do but run the kitchen and tend the crops?  Nope, and they’ve got a one-year old to boot.  Doodie on top of duty (sorry, couldn’t resist).

We are not typically the types to be envious, we’ve both been around the block and have known our fair share of hard work, and between us we have come to a new agreement–great ambitions–that’s for the other guy.  Still, I grew a bit apprehensive when handy hubby said, “I’ve got fence envy.”

“Oh my,” the warning bells chimed, “whoa there horsey!”  Because in my tendency to read deeper meaning into everything, my immediate worry was, if ya got great big fences, that must mean ya got great big animals to keep inside them.  Sounds a bit too ambitious for my blood.  That age-old inner debate whether I should become vegetarian immediately resurfaced with fresh ammunition.

Luckily handy hubby still agrees–we will stick with our baby steps out here.  And the little step he’s been avoiding for nine months will finally happen this Sunday, and there’s no turning back this time, because we’ve invited the neighbors.  It will be our first home-grown, home-slaughtered roast chicken dinner.  Handy hubby is sharpening his knives, and I am exercising my plucking fingers.

The wild hogs, the deer, even the moose in Alaska, those were taken down and carved up with barely the blink of an eye, but for some reason those hens have his heart.  Was it something about his fence envy that nudged him along?  Or is that since I’ve forbid (using coos while fighting tears, of course) that another deer goes down on my watch, and for some unknown reason the wild hogs have suddenly disappeared from our property, that his knives are growing restless?  Or maybe it’s because our freezer is nearly empty, and I know he doesn’t like the look of that.  He could be forced to buy meat at the store, and that could possibly be toying with his manhood.

In any case, for my part, I’ve never plucked a chicken before–and I’ve only seen it done twice–once while in the Peace Corps and once while living in Thailand.  Both now feel like a lifetime ago.  I keep wondering, should I just wing it, or should I pre-train with a Youtube video?

Technology, what would I do without it?  It’s a scary thought really.  I might then be forced to ask a real farmer how it’s done.