Thursday, January 04, 2007


Yesterday morning, I was at the computer posting Wednesday memes. (WFMW & WW) I was enjoying a very rare moment of quiet. Tim had already left for work. The only kid up was Nolan and he was content playing Flexiblocks in the living room.

I was just putting my link on Mr. Linky when CRASH! I hesitated just a moment. It was not followed by any crying. Ok, so Nolan didn't get hurt, but what in the world did he do? I pulled myself away from the computer and went to the living room.

There Nolan sat, still playing, nothing amiss. "Nolan," I said, "what happened?" He sweetly looks at me, "I dunno." "Did you hear that?" I asked. "Uh huh." he answered and went back to playing. So, if Nolan didn't do it, and everyone else is still in bed, what in the world happened?

I could not see anything wrong in the living room. I went in our bedroom and this is what I saw:
It is not real clear from the picture, but I could tell that something had hit the window from the outside. Whatever it was hit the screen and broke the outside pane. The inside pane was still intact.

I looked out the window. I couldn't see anything. Returning back to the living room, I opened the sliding glass door and there lay a large bird on its back with its neck at a very strange angle. This bird was at least five feet from the aforementioned window. Instead of being straight back from the window, as I would expect, it was at about 45 degrees. Still haven't figured that out.

When I first saw it, it was still moving a little. I called Papaw. I wasn't sure what it was, but assumed it was some sort of bird of prey because of its size. I told Papaw it was a falcon. (Learning to id birds is on my to do list!) I thought maybe we should call the game warden or something. He said he would be over, after he finished breakfast.

I decided to go out for a closer look. This is the view of the window from the outside:

The bird was dead when I got there. I flipped it over with a stick. If you are a birder, I am sure that this picture will make it completely obvious that I know nothing about birds.

I picked it up by the feet and headed to Papaw's. He met me about half way. Mamaw came out too to see what we had. Papaw said he was pretty sure it was a grouse. Something in my mind connected grouse with a hunting season. Those of you have been reading for awhile, and know of our wild foods hobby will not be surprised by my question, "Can we eat it?"

A quick online check confirmed that it was indeed, a grouse and yes, you can eat it. I have never butchered foul before. Papaw agreed to cut off the head and Mamaw agreed to teach me the rest. She actually ended up doing almost all of it while I was cleaning up the broken glass. I helped with the very end of the plucking and she made me scoop out the insides.

Here come the pictures of cleaning the bird. I am warning you now, so stop reading if you don't want to see the butchered bird.

Here Mamaw is scalding it in boiling water.
The scalding makes it easier to pluck.

Here Nolan is trying to help. He is trying to cut off the foot with a spoon! *grin*

With this picture we were trying to show how much this bird was just feathers. Notice the wing on the top with all the feathers compared to the wing on the bottom that has been plucked.

What we ended up with was a bird larger than a Cornish hen, but smaller than a chicken. Since this was obviously not enough meat for everyone, we decided to stew it and make soup. Mamaw did the honors and we all enjoyed grouse noodle soup for dinner.

The taste was not gamey at all. The flavor was more like turkey than chicken. The meat was a little tough, but not terrible. Who would have guessed that the crash I heard would lead to a wild food dinner? Only in the 100 Acre Wood.

If you are new around these parts and would like to see more about the foraging and wild foods we have eaten please click here or here.


  1. Ok, that is awesome. I've never even seen that explained before - how to pluck it and clean it up. How cool! You all ROCK!

  2. Great story! One for the 100 Acre Woods book series! If you want to see a great movie about grouse hunting, watch 'The Biscut Eater', but watch the 1940's version. It's one of Mike's favorites!

  3. Very cool. I only get wrens suiciding on my windows.

  4. What a happy accident! It's too bad he passed so quickly, otherwise you could have gotten insurance info to pay for your window, LOL!

  5. Heidi - forgot to show the part we cut it open from the uh . . . hind end and then scooped out the insides, a very important step :)

    Phelan - at least suicidal wrens don't break your windows! :)

    Mert - I think he was uninsured - darn it! *wink*

  6. Did Mamaw take this opportunity to tell you about our chicken harvesting days on the farm?
    Aunt Nancy

  7. You were right, I shouldn't have looked at those photos. Yuck!

  8. Aunt Nancy - Mamaw hasn[t really shared too much about the chicken harvest, just that she hated it!

  9. Thanks for participating in the Carnival of the Storytellers! The 9th edition is up and running at: