Goood afternoon from Maya Mountain Research Farm, Belize. I’ll write an overview of what this place is & what I’m doing here eventually, but for now here are some updates from today.
This morning I followed Erena around the farm harvesting some ginger flowers and Chikai. Chikai [Calathea allouia] is a local vegetable that looks like the red shampoo ginger we have at home in Hawaii, but green/yellow in color instead. We’ve had it for lunch several times and they’re fiborous and pretty bland. I don’t really enjoy them boiled, but the smaller ones are okay when cooked with black beans, or in the ginger chicken soup we had for lunch.
Speaking of chicken….. Yesterday, we got a box of cute little chicks that will grow up to be laying hens. They are ADORABLE. But that also means that we got to kill one of roosters today. (Got to kill? Questionable but yes. Meat is a rare delicacy here on the farm. Chris is a vegetarian but occasionally goes hunting for his wife Celini when she’s craving meat. Like this weekend. Chris failed to come home with a agouti from yesterday’s hunt so we’re excited about the chicken today). I’ve eaten chicken all my life but never been a part of the killing process, so I asked Erena if I could watch her work. I quietly observed her catch him, cut his neck & hang him upside down to drain the blood. After a while, she dipped him in hot water for a minute and plucked the feathers. I was nervous I was going to feel queasy, but I surprisingly felt very little. Maybe I’m cold hearted, or maybe it was the skillful and very matter of fact way that Erena went about it. I’m sure it would be a different story if I tried it myself (I’m debating whether I should ask next time). Just when she was about to slice open the chicken to remove the guts, Chris called me for a farm walk about. Saved by the bell I guess.
In other chicken news, Chicky Chick has hurt her foot. Chicky Chick is a few month old chick that is effectively an MMRF pet. Apparently she somehow hatched amongst a batch of duck eggs, so Chris & Celini scooped her up and have been caring for her since. She’s imprinted on humans & clucks around the main area sitting on furniture, swinging in the hammock, etc. Everyone shows her love & endearingly calls her Chicky Chick, so I knew she was spoiled. I just didn’t realize how much until she hurt her foot this morning & Erena & Celini delicately massaged Tiger Balm onto her back leg. World’s most pampered chicken I swear.
From cute little chicks to a spoiled chicky teen and even a rooster supper, it’s the whole circle of chicken life here on the farm.