Oh Hey There…

Been a while.
We’re just over here getting shit done.

Let’s see…

Duck house got it’s much needed refurbishment for winter housing.
We picked up and processed a 350lb pig.
I’ve been doing laundry outside with the wringer washer.
Loop has been feeding our animals like royalty.
I bought $40 worth of pumpkins just for me to have roasted seeds…animals get the rest. 😉
We have a new connection for bread for animal feed.
We were gifted a working fridge.

I still have carrots and beets to get out of the garden.
After I can up the last of the onions into French onion soup.

Okay, but this pig…
😂😂😂

I get a text 2 weeks ago saying our pig is ready.
We bought one last year from the same folks I got LemonChicken from as a chick…and who I bought straw for the horses from last year.
So this year, she asked if we wanted them to raise another pig for us…if so, she’d get an extra piglet when it was time.
I said “hell yeah!!” so that I didn’t have to do pigs this year.
We’re all still kinda shell shocked from the last year we raised them, so letting someone else do the day to day was just fine with us.

Then it rained 3 days straight and the Farm yard was slop.
So I asked if we could put off picking the pig up ’til this past weekend.
No problem. 🙂
So then I get this bright idea to name the pig, sight unseen, Sir Oinks A Lot.
Oh fuck.
I shouldn’t have done that.
😂😂😂

This pig…he screamed everytime he was asked to do something he didn’t want to do.
Now if you’ve ever heard a pig scream, you have an idea what I’m talking about…
The farm he was on is roughly 8 miles from us…I’m pretty sure we could have heard him screaming from home.
😂😂😂
Again, nothing bad happening to him, just asked him to do something he didn’t want to do.
Simply, he was being a pig.
Now pigs don’t have great eyesight, so convincing them to get into a trailer can be…arduous.
After 30 solid minutes of screaming, Hubby climbed in the front man door of the trailer with some feed, the husband of the family we were buying from lifted the pig’s front feet into the trailer, and Sir Oinks A Lot realized “hey! there’s food!!” and got on.
Fucking pig.
😂😂😂

After chatting with them for a bit (can you say connection to buy bottle lambs and bred ewes come spring time?? Squeeeeee!!!!) we headed off home to get Sir Oinks off the trailer and into the freezer.
Getting off wasn’t quite as arduous, though it was longer in time.
There was bread, and milk and lots of quiet talking…until Sit Oinks walked 1/4 of the way down the ramp and promptly met the Great Piggie in the Sky.
Whew.

I’ll spare you all the sordid details, but from pick up to final freezing, took 3 days, with Hubby doing the dirty work and me doing the fine cut work and the Kid running help all over the place.
To say I’m proud of our Kid would be a massive understatement, let me tell you!!
Today I’m roasting the hocks and making bone broth.
Tomorrow I’ll can the meat and broth from that.
And then we’re back to poultry to finish up the birds that need to go to Freezer Camp before for reals winter hits.

And then hay needs to be delivered.
And straw.
Then we fix my washing machine….suspension rods are shot and need replacing. That’s why I’m washing outside with the wringer washer…but outside is about to end so gotta get the indoor machine fixed.
Aaaaaaand….gotta fix the heater core on the truck.
Hubby cannot do another year of no heat through winter.
Fuck.

Remember I said we’d sleep in winter?
Yup.
It true.

Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, that’s in the books for another year.
We don’t actually celebrate it, so for us it was just another weekend of trying to get things done before winter. More roosters need doing, but we were getting hammered by rain so that got put off.
We did get some yard clean up done between rains.
Plus we got the roosters separated so that we can just get up and go on the next not-rainy day.

That was supposed to be Saturday, because the next 3 days after today is rain, and today is a Loop pickup day so we need the 2nd fridge for some of that stuff…
Oh, but then this morning?
I get the text that our pig is ready to pick up.
Awesome, right?
Absolutely!
But now Saturday is pick up the pig and process it day…because we pick up the pig live, bring it home and do all the work here.
Saves us a couple hundred dollars doing it that way, and we are very happy with the family that raises the pig for us.
They have the same #HappyFoodTastesBetter values that we do.
And they have a better porcine set up.
So I am happy af to buy a finished pig to put down in the Fall while focusing on poultry on my Farm.

But the work…
O.M.G.
Like I said, I’ll sleep come winter.

Garden is still producing.
With the rains over the next few days, we shouldn’t frost, though we’re hovering awful close to it.
I am hoping that it holds off a wee bit longer, since my peppers are not ripe yet.
I really, really don’t want to buy poblano or paprika seeds next year, so I need those dang peppers to ripen!
The beans are being left now to grow seed for next year.
What ever is out there will get harvested after the frost and further dried to seed for the yellow, Painted pony and Royal Burgandy varieties. The pintos will just be left and tarped over. I have a *lot* of pinto seeds. lol

And carrots and beets can be left for a couple weeks yet, since they’re underground.
Thank goodness, since I am not ready to pull them yet.
So as soon as I see a frost warning, I’ll pick the peppers, tomatoes and ground cherrys, then let the plants die off. Once the bean seeds are harvested and the beets/carrots too, we can tarp the entire space and let her go to sleep for winter.
It’s coming fast.

In the meantime, we’re just going along, trying to get as much done as possible.
Butchering, building, and trying to stay sane.
😂😂😂
That last one in the toughest one.

Here’s Homer J…who, it has been determined, is a hen.
YAY!!
So next year we’ll have Homer J bebes.
I’m very happy she’s a hen. She’s growing into a beauty of a duck (not that you can tell with all the mud on her), and she’s my pal. 😉
Today we’re working on the winter duck coop so Homer J and everyone else can have a nice warm space to snuggle on those
c-c-c-old winter nights.
🙂

White Turkeys

That is a wrap on white turkey growing for the year.
Yee. Haw.
We learned some things, have plans to improve those things, and yup, will definitely grow them again next year.

First thing…
Remember I said I wanted to keep the hen for the breeding program with the Narragansetts?
HA!!
Good thing we decided against it.
The one I thought was a hen…wasn’t.
In fact it was the only male in the group of 6.
That’s right, the massive 30-40lb birds were actually the hens.
So I would have been keeping the wrong bird!
And clearly, the size of the hens would have made long term health for them all but impossible.
But they’re not bred for health, they’re bred for fast and furious growth and off to the freezer.
Still, mine went 24 weeks without issues, where most commercial turkeys are done at 16.
I figure as long as they’re running and hooting looking for their morning hard boiled eggs, they’re good to stay.

Which brings me to the 2nd thing…
Size.
Oh my word.
Those hens I thought were toms were huge!
I don’t have a final dressed out weight yet, but they did not fit the restraining cone.
And even though we tried to make it work, the cone completely split on the 2nd to last bird.
So we need to invest in metal restraining cones.
Whether Hubby makes them or we buy them, doesn’t matter.
Also, thankfully we had the turkey fryer pot for the scald to pluck dip.
Our regular pot we use with meaties and roosters is waaaaay too small.
And!
Our plucker, which says it can handle turkeys…can’t.
Or, at least not the size these hens made.
So we either grow them smaller next year (😂😂😂) or we hand pluck.
They are easy enough to hand pluck.

Of course the other thing about size is the rest period after butcher.
They have to stay in the fridge for 24-48 hours afterwards and before packaging.
We have our regular food fridge up stairs and the basement beer/butchering fridge.
Um, the basement fridge is really, really full with 6 turkeys.
😂😂😂
If we grew more than 6 (we had 10 but had a 40% loss over their growing season) we’d have to do processing for more than 1 day.

Finally, feed costs…
Turkeys are expensive to raise.
There’s no getting around that.
For the first 8 weeks, they need a quality high protein feed.
For us, that meant buying the gamebird feed from the local feed store…and supplementing with hard boiled eggs.
Each poult eats an average of 3 ~ 55lb bags in their first 8 weeks.
They grow fast and need ample protein and energy to do it, so feed is out for them 24/7.
After the first 8 weeks, I transition them to the fermented barley/wheat chop that we feed everyone else.
But they still get hard boiled eggs.
Both for protein and to help the transition.
Once fully on the chop, they get that with garden weeds, thistles, greens and kitchen scraps.
And hard boiled eggs. 😂😂😂
What?
They really, really, really love hard boiled eggs!
Plus the next poults will learn what the goodies from Loop are sooner, rather than later. 😉

So, 6 whites go through roughly 55-110lbs of fermented feed a week.
That fluctuates with the amount of green/weeds and food waste from Loop.

Cost wise?
$6.70 for each poult.
3 x $27.50 for gamebird feed.
16 weeks at 2 x $8 for chop/6
**edited to adjust the chop costs since I forgot to divide the 16 week total by 6 for 6 poults.

Which gives us a total of $131.86 to raise a poult to butcher.
It’s that upfront of almost $100 in feed, plus that we pushed them out to 24 weeks.
But their size shows that 24 weeks was fine.
And to get size like that in 16 weeks, you’re feeding more bagged feed than the chop.
See?
Turkeys are just plain spendy to raise.

So why do it?
Well, it’s because happy food tastes better.
This growing your own food thing isn’t always about saving money.
Hell, I’d say growing food animals is almost always a money losing activity.
BUT
I say this so often…we are what we eat.
And eating poorly raised, never ever see the light of day, no delight in weeds and greens tossed to them, no space for turkey races and fun, turkeys has an effect on us.
Never mind that it’s cruel, in my opinion, to keep birds locked up away from the sunshine and the ability to act naturally.
So we raise our birds on the ground, in the sunshine, giving them the foods they love and that help them grow. Anyone who’s been here can see, my birbs are happy af.
Just watch ’em come running when they see me…because that means The Food Lady is bringing *something* good. 😉
That’s worth the cost.

To sum up:
Turkeys are expensive.
The end product is huge and worth it.
Need metal kill cones.
And a 3rd fridge (or a walk in) would be nice.