Tag Archives: Butchering

Fine Feathers

by Kate

I don’t usually mind fads. In fact, I often enjoy them. Huge earrings, bright ethnic prints, flats, heels, pearls, wooden bangles- I am generally ready to jump on the bandwagon and take a ride. However, the recent feather hair extension trend has me a bit, um, fluttered.

Suddenly, they are everywhere. After seeing several people sporting tufts I realized that seeing people with tufts of feathers in their hair left me feeling a sense of deep unease. Why was that? I wondered. I like feather earrings. I love feather pillows and down comforters. No, there was something specific bothering me. And then, gazing at a beautiful girl with a white tuft in her hair, it hit me.

I don’t like feather hair extensions because they vividly remind me of chicken butchering. Between the hot water and steam and heat and blood and downy tufts of feathers everywhere, getting feathers in your hair is pretty much inevitable. Now, the free range chickens on Sweet Ridge Farm have a good life.

Even as a teenaged vegetarian, I helped my parents butcher chickens. They are healthy birds fed lots of greens and good food, cared for well and killed quickly and without cruelty. Even so, it is not a process for the faint of heart, as my amazing friends discovered when they helped butcher 100 chickens to prepare for my wedding two years ago.

Downy feathers! Just like the hair extensions! That is, they are downy until the are soaked and tossed in the plucker…

And even then, tufts of feathers remain. I have to say, it was the most beautiful butchering crew I have ever seen, though it was not our most stylish moment.

I am fairly certain that by the end of the day, we all had feathers in our hair.

What really bothers me about feather hair extensions, though, is the factory farming of exotic feathered birds. After doing some research on the issue, I discovered that the feathers popularly used for extensions were originally marketed to fly fisherman. The roosters raised for their tailfeather plumage live about a year before the feathers are harvested- a process that the bird does not survive. In many cases the rest of the bird is simply tossed out, which seems grossly wasteful to me. With the explosion of demand for feather extensions, it disturbs me to think of the possible farming practices used for production of cosmetic feathers. It reminds me again of the importance of understanding the path a product takes before it ends up in your mouth or on your body. It is important to understand where our food and our clothing and our household goods come from, so that we can make conscious decisions to support ethical farming, marketing, and labor practices.

And that is why you will never catch me with a feather in my hair- unless you happen to be around before the next wedding, on butchering day.

Red Dirt Wedding, Part Two

by Mary

At 8:30, my now Sister-In-Law Nicole, picked me up from my hotel room where I was huddled on a bed flirting with sleep after a restless night of insomnia.
Wearing a robe that read “bridesmaid” on the back, I rode with Nicole to the church and started in on getting ready for the big day with Nicole and company.

Much to my relief, my bridesmaids dress that I had lost the night before manifested, and the very kind girlfriend of my brothers friend Nick, took mercy on my horsetail like hair that had been more than a little tangled from riding around Oklahoma City in the bed of Robert’s truck the previous night. Kelly brushed it out for me while I watched Nicole transform into a” Princess Kate, you totally just got outdid” bride.  The new Mrs. Slattery exuded an aura of calm radiance. She looked so gorgeous that I gave her the helpful suggestion for future financial gain. I said that when she and Rob are broke, she can pick up extra income by becoming a bridal magazine model.
 
Look!!! She is so calm that we have no work to do. I literally have my hands in my scapular-lined pockets!
 
Getting ready for the wedding was so organized that I was able to steal off to the church to have a visit with Jesus in my cheery yellow robe. As a veteran bridesmaid, I can compare and contrast bridal stories. After this last one, I shall put it in its very own category as a VERY non-Wisconsin wedding. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you hostage by pulling up a ton of bridesmaid tales. I will just pick one for a case example. I choose Kate’s to share with you all.
 
Wisconsin weddings usually mean crazy, disorganized, excited energy. And work. Lots and lots of work. Often times I end up doing the flowers for weddings as well as cooking and baking. Trust me, I never get the time to float off into the church to pray.
 
Pictures can piece a story together can’t they? Please enjoy viewing some of these pre wedding pics from Kate’s extravaganza. Here are a few of the gals getting the reception meal ready.


Chicken Pickin Bonding
 
We have heart!

At this point, I get even more excited about flowers than normal! Making pies and doing flowers SOLO are my kind of thing!
 
Ok, I give up now, or I will end up posting way to many pictures. The moral of this little post is I am honored and humored to stand as a bridesmaid. Weather I am wearing a yellow Beauty and the Beast dress on top of a silo, or chatting it up with my Maker alone in a quiet church in my yellow robe, I love the excitement and variety of each special day, and am grateful to have such fine friends and Sisters to share life and laughter with.
 
Blessings,
mary