It is chilly inside the house. But if the past few days are any indication, the clouds will eventually disperse and by late afternoon, the garden will be baking in heat. It’s a miracle anything endures through late spring/ summer/ early fall in this place.
Self has Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression balanced on her lap (Seriously, she’s getting sick of typing that title over and over and over, every time she posts about this book. But since she isn’t even halfway — she started reading it last week in Trieste, and has so far made it to p. 136 — she must persevere).
P. 137 is about killing rabbits.
Sole Fruit of Her Loins’ first ambulatory pet was a rabbit named – something or other. Her cousin, a little ruffian named Niko, came over one day, got the rabbit out of its cage and, when no one was home (Dearest Mum was supposed to be baby-sitting but anyone who thinks Dearest Mum can baby-sit is probably living on the moon), strangled the poor little creature to death.
Since Son was absolutely distraught, we got him another rabbit. This one was an enormous and aggressive creature whose pee spray arced for yards.
We finally gave it away and adopted Bella the Beagle, who is still alive today, still sniffing after morsels of food and still coloring our lives with joy.
Eons ago, when self had an artists residency in Mojacar, her favorite thing to do on weekends was to visit the markets in outlying towns. There, she saw rabbits. Many, many rabbits. All in cages. Self did not actually think about the strange importance of rabbits to the villages of southern Spain. Not until the fateful day when dinner was served and it was – eeeek! – rabbit.
Self has seen Winter’s Bone. Although she believes that was a squirrel Jennifer Lawrence was cooking for her siblings, not rabbit, the sight of skinned squirrel must be very similar to skinned rabbit. In fact, you could probably skin them the same way.
And then: Did you know that it takes “at least two rabbits to make a meal” for a family of seven “because there are only three good pieces to each one: the saddle of the back and the two hind legs,” and “rabbits have almost no fat”?
In addition, self realizes that she has the same coping mechanism to stress as a rabbit. Ms Kalish: “We all knew that when a rabbit senses approaching danger, it will frequently freeze rather than run. We also knew that a rabbit will leap forward when it does try to escape.” So, the best strategy is to wait for a rabbit to lunge “forward from its hiding place,” grasp it firmly by the head, then swing it by its hind legs and deliver a sharp whack to the back of its head. Ms. Kalish again: “Rabbits have weak necks. Everyone knew that . . . “
A heartwarming description of how to skin a rabbit follows.
And then a heartwarming description of how to boil a hog’s head.
What is really interesting is that this redoubtable farm woman has her current residence listed as Atherton, California. And has apparently lived to a great old age (92) in spite of apparently daily ingestions of bacon, hog, and other high-cholesterol food.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.