Somewhere in my second hour of plucking my snow goose on Thursday, I saw through my garage window that the UPS man had pulled up. My new shotshell pouch from Cabela's!
Eager for a break, I hit the button and opened the garage door to greet him, positively covered in goose down.
He surveyed the scene in my garage.
"My least favorite part!" he said.
"I know," I said. "And this is a snow goose, so it's taking forever."
"That's why I just breast 'em out," he said, handing me my package.
Snow geese are the worst. It seemed like most feathers had to come out one at a time. And there were a lot of them.
But Boyfriend (a serious cook) and I have never breasted out a bird. We try hard to use every part of it, right down to the feet, which get a good scrubbing and go into the stockpot to make broths even more heavenly.
Even faced with the king of difficult birds, I couldn't imagine just taking the breasts. If I've got the cajones to kill a bird, I should have the decency to spend some time on it, shouldn't I? I mean, it died to be my dinner, so what's a couple hours of my life?
Between plucking and gutting, I spent literally two and a half hours on this bird. The reward was admiring the beauty of its feathers and down for almost that entire time. Being a freelance photographer, I had to snap a few photos to catch the strange beauty of the scene.
You can click on each photo if you want to see it in more detail. Warning: The last one is a bit graphic, so please don't scroll down if you don't want to be grossed out. But it's so vivid - and so much a part of the process of waterfowl hunting - that I had to include it here. Please let me know what you think!