Tuesday, 11 October 2016

I am a pheasant plucker: a day [or 3] in the life of a rural minister

Along the lines of 'things they don't teach you in seminary...'
#169 Herding cows...
#170 How to 'dress' a pheasant...and a goose.

Conversations in cafes can be a dangerous thing.
I'd headed out of the parish and up to the local country town - pop. c. 2 000.
Happily meeting up with one of my elders for coffee, we were subsequently joined by one of her pals. Said elder and I had been having a blether about how fabby Harvest service had been, and the logistics of herding the 'cattle' created by the children of our five small primary schools from
schools to kirk, and back again
[they were awesome - way to go wee rural kiddies!].
Most of the cattle-wrangling was beautifully dealt with by my elder's hubby and a rather large pick up truck...
Meanwhile, Gertie the Highland cow, constructed by our school in the hills, was driven
down and then back up the hill by creative parent who had helped small people put her together.
All of this had been great fun, with a good buzz in both schools and the church, and with
the work of Send a Cow brilliantly flagged up and cheerfully supported.

Back in the cafe, having discussed the coos, the subject somehow changed to pheasants.
Friend of elder noted her husband was currently busy, as the season was on and he was out shooting.
I observed that I'd never actually eaten pheasant, wondered about 'shot' and
breaking of teeth [not much of a problem, apparently], and we chatted on about other matters.
Cue Saturday.
A text arrived:
'S wants to know if you would like a pheasant and a goose?'
Cue raised eyebrow, thoughtful look, grin, and text response:
'Okay. Cool. Thanks!'

Arriving home late Sunday afternoon,
I found an enormous goose and a plump pheasant hanging in a bag on my back door.
Bringing the bag in, I opened it and looked at the birds.
They met my gaze with dead-eyed stares.
The heads, wings, feathers, and legs, began to take on the feel of old still-life paintings
I'd seen in the National Gallery.
Thoughts then turned to the recent interview with Ministries Council concerning areas that might have been usefully covered when training; I refrained from responding 'a short course in the gentle art of butchering.'
Shaking myself out of my musing, I began to ponder practicalities.
Phred the pheasant should be manageable.
However, Gil, the goose, is big.
Surprisingly big.
Well, I like a challenge.

Psychological sleeves have been rolled up:
I am mentally preparing for the preparing of the birds;
I have been watching 'how to dress a pheasant/ goose' type videos on youtube;
I have gone to the iron-mongers and purchased a mean-looking cleaver and
a wickedly sharp small knife [interesting walking up the High Street with said implements!];
I am glad I'm not squeamish;
I am thankful for generous gifts that will be put into the freezer once dealt with,
and which will then come into their own at Christmas.
I am a rural minister...we're a resilient and resourceful lot.