Six of them, actually.
The Man of the House returned home from a successful goose hunt in Sedgewick, CO with half a dozen geese for us! I'm thrilled, and so proud of him. He had a great time, and now we have six tasty meals to look forward to. (If I can figure out how to cook goose. Which I'm told is nothing like cooking other fowl.)
I'm blessed in that I generally enjoy the work that goes into our food preparation. I love to bake, I love gardening, I even rather enjoy a day spent butchering an elk.
Cleaning geese does not fall into the above category. Cleaning geese is not fun. It is messy, rather smelly, and to be perfectly honest, it's just downright unpleasant. Part of it is the fact that these are gorgeous birds. Not just regular old geese, but snow geese. As I was moving them into the cooler this morning, I was amazed at just how soft they are. So there's the part about tearing out their beautiful, soft white feathers that's... well, it's not fun. It's kind of sad. (I'm bound to get attacked for this post. Before you berate us, look up snow geese. Their population can not be supported by the habitat available. In order for some of them to live successfully, some need to be eliminated. I don't like it either, but it's the truth.)
So anyway. Plucking geese. Not only is it sad, it's messy. Feathers and down flying everywhere, sticking to everything, no matter how much you try to get them into the trash bag. And it takes easily an hour to pluck a goose if you're not experienced (and we aren't.) We tried the dunking them in boiling water trick (which enhances the "smelly" aspect considerably,) and that did help, but it also made the down stick to everything even more. Blech.
So we each plucked a goose, and we decided we'd had enough of that. Too much flippin' work for the gain, and we were running out of time before The Man had to go back to work. He breasted out the remaining four geese - that is to say, he essentially pulled out boneless, skinless goose breasts from each one, and we discarded the remainder of the carcass. I'm slightly unhappy about this. Granted, there's very little meat aside from the breast. (Geese have scrawny little legs for being such large birds!) But the carcasses apparently make a rather tasty broth similar to beef broth, and the fat can be rendered and then used for all sorts of things. (I'm pretty sure pioneer women used goose fat for dry, cracked, chapped hands. Not to mention it's supposed to be fabulous to cook with.) So we're missing out on that - the broth and the fat. But somewhere during the process of plucking those first two birds, we decided we'd forgo the broth and fat for the amount of work that it would've required. If we had more time, we may have decided otherwise.
Let us not forget the usefulness of such an even when it comes to homeschooling: during the cleaning and gutting process, Andrew and Chloe explored the innards of a bird, identifying lungs, gullet, heart, etc. She was more fascinated than she was disgusted. (Not so much for me. I'm glad he's around for those lessons.) The girls enjoyed playing with feathers and Cora was rather fascinated with their feet and poked at them repeatedly. Chloe exclaimed, "Hooray! Now we get to try goose!" Love what that stands for - her willingness to try new things, and the fact that she's comfortable with the knowledge of where her meat comes from.
I saved a trash bag full of feathers with the intention of making a feather occasional pillow for the rocker in the living room. We'll see whether it happens or not - it might be a bigger project than I'm imagining.
I'll have to let you know how cooking it goes. We're going to save it for when The Man is actually home to enjoy it.
Overall? I'm glad geese aren't a regular part of our diet, but I'm betting it would get easier with time. And I'm thankful for the wild meat we're provided with. I just wish it didn't have so many down feathers.