Monday, November 23, 2015

I Saw But I Did Not Hear

It's been foggy and rainy here on the north coast of California. Not much good for walks or photography. Still, when just a hint of sunlight comes through, we take advantage of it and head out the door. On Saturday I said to Roger, "Let's just do the local neighborhood walk, but let's not go the long way around. It's too close to Thanksgiving and I really don't want to run the chance of seeing those farmers slaughtering a turkey the way we did last year." He agreed. I wrote about that encounter here. Lesson learned.
The rooster looked like this one
So, we walked around the streets of the old neighborhood where we lived in the rental. We stopped in to see a neighbor we hadn't seen in a while and had a nice chat with her. It was good to be out and seeing familiar faces. We came upon another old neighbor who we thought had moved. He had his van in the driveway and was holding a beautiful rooster in his arms. He came around from the back of the van to talk with us. He was petting that rooster and holding it like it was a favorite pet. This neighbor speaks very, very quietly. My hearing definitely is not what it used to be, so I could hardly understand a word he was saying. I nodded and smiled like every cartoon character does when portraying hearing loss. Roger's hearing is quite good, but even he has a hard time hearing this guy talk. So we all smiled and nodded and made small talk. I pet the rooster, told the neighbor what a beautiful bird it is, with its dark black feathers that shone iridescent green in the hint of sunlight. I also told  him that I was worried about the rooster's feet, they looked a bit gnarly; and I noticed that it had lost some feathers around its neck. Chickens do have a hard life; it's absolutely true about the results of the pecking order. The neighbor replied, but I have no idea what he said. So then, we all wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving, and Roger and I continued our walk.

I must have said something about that rooster while we were walking, because Roger said, "Oh yeah, he was just about to kill it. He's planning on having for it for dinner. He said the bird's name is 'Supper.'" What? Did he actually say that? Yes. That's what the conversation was all about. I felt so bad for that bird. There I was talking to it and petting it, worrying about its feet and pecked neck. Well, I guess not hearing well does have its upside.

I think the lesson here is to not walk anywhere in the neighborhood this close to Thanksgiving. It's not that you don't know what you'll see, it's that you do.


  1. Agree there. Much as I like eating Chicken killing them is not on the cards

  2. Yeah, I think I'd be almost a vegetarian if I had to kill what I ate. I could kill a fish though--I've done that!
    If you grew up on a farm where it was commonplace you wouldn't probably think twice about it. Non-ranchers/farmers grow up with animals only as pets so we tend attach those kind of feelings to them. A turkey is just a big chicken to me, and I'm also glad I don't have to kill it least kill it personally.

  3. Bill-- I gave up eating meat 45 years ago. Then, maybe 30 years ago I reintroduced chicken with the rationale that if I were hungry enough, I might be able to kill one. But as I've gotten older, I realize I could never kill anything. So, my dilemma is that I still eat a bit of chicken once a week. Mmmmm....

    lindaj-- I actually think meat-eaters should at least have to witness what killing and butchering looks like. My step-daughters are both proficient butchers. It blows my mind, but they are sincere in their efforts. I know I could NEVER do it, so I don't eat any red meat at all and haven't for many, many years. I will always remember Thanksgiving at my parents' house, after all of my siblings gave up meat. A turkey on the table next to a plate full of homemade tofu burgers. Oy, it was crazy!

  4. I couldn't watch it; I couldn't do it. Meat is a luxury and a status symbol in a world of hunger. In permaculture, there's balance, but most meat comes from way less eco-friendly sources. The inputs to produce a pound of meat are out of whack.
    And then there's health: For those of you who didn't see Non-Sequitur on the subject of meat the other day: (you'll probably suffer through pop-up ads when you click this)

  5. We do eat chicken and we make certain we buy only from a local market where we know the chickens were humanely raised and happy right up until the moment of their deaths. We pay a lot more for them but it makes us feel a bit better knowing the chickens were not warehoused in a crowded indoor space. They were raised with spacious shelter and access to the outdoors.

  6. CCorax-- I haven't ever heard of Non-Sequitur, I will definitely check it out. It's true about the cost to the planet to raise meat. Also, our government doesn't consider chickens a life form that warrants any kind of protection from cruelty. A truly bizarre situation. I admire people who can kill the animal they intend to eat, but I also wonder about the whole notion of human dominion. So much to think about when it comes to food.

    NCmountainwoman-- We eat a bit of chicken once a week. It's always organic and raised humanely. I think it's important always to consider the lives of the animals we choose to eat. I'm really glad that you do.

  7. I suppose it's a very good thing you didn't hear a word he said! You might have grabbed the bird and made a run for it! Won a PETA award or something. (Just the thought is making me laugh out loud!)

  8. Tara-- I love the way you think! I'm laughing too. Such a great idea.

  9. Tara and Robin, yes, I can imagine Robin with the rooster under her arm, making a bee-line for it! Speaking of such, Robin are you still thinking of having a chicken coop?

    1. lindaj-- I love this image of me running with a rooster under my arm. That's absolutely me! Roger's daughter who just bought a house in Eureka has a beautiful chicken coop. They give us lots of eggs. So, we won't need one here.

  10. I agree about being aware of what you're doing when you eat meat. I wouldn't miss beef if I never ate it again, and I have ethical problems with eating pigs -- they're too intelligent (although my mother made a mean pork barbecue). I do eat chicken, but I hate to think of what kind of life most grocery store chickens lived.

  11. I worked on airplanes for 20 years and am know starting to have hearing issues, specially with some of the young people that talk fast or mumble. Sometimes it does have its benefits.

  12. Mark-- We live in cow country here on the north coast. There are lots of dairy cows, but also lots of beef. We always know what's happened when we drive by and the huge grassy fields are empty. Pigs are smart and really quite adorable!

    Dave-- Hah! It does have its benefits. I miss a lot of stupid talk. LOL!