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.

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.

17

17.
That’s the number of roosters…full sized boys…who went to Freezer Camp this past weekend.
Whew.
That’s a huge chunk off the feed bill.
Add that to the 5 geese we did last week.
And that’s more than 10lbs of feed *per day* we’re saving.
And we’re eating good this winter.

17.
Gave me 7 packages of breasts for the freezer.
Supper last night and 2 lunches for Hubby.
8 2lb bags of ground for the freezer.
Plus, today and tomorrow are carcass roasting/bone broth making days.
So that will give us another 10ish meals.
And bones will go either into the fire (ashes go into the garden) or ground and into the garden.
Depending on my energy levels.
lol

I still have 4 full sized boys to do.
A really good amount of younger boys (who are the size that we’d normally do them…the bigger 1st hatch guys got left too long), a bunch of older hens, plus the turkeys.
The plan was to do turkeys, but they’re huge and I have to find bags to get them in the freezer with…huge.
Like pretty well the 5 white boys are at the 30lb mark live weight, and the hen is pretty close to 20.
Huge.

BUT

It seems we have hay.
There was a quick text conversation with our Hay Guy on Saturday that ended with him saying “okay” and us saying “thank you!” and yeah, we have hay.
Thank frickin’ Epona.
That’s a load off the mind.
Plus we have straw…now that our line is fixed, I can figure out where to put stuff and start getting in on the yard.
I say “we have it” but until **we have it** we don’t really “have it”.
If that makes sense.
But we deal with amazing, honorable people.
So when they say “you have it” I can pretty much say “we have it”.

Thank goodness for those last rounds of rains, because I’m sure that’s what made it so that we’d have hay.
It saved our pasture, for sure!
And it’s been letting my garden continue.
The weather is good, we’ve passed the couple of sketchy nights and it’s looking good for the next 2 weeks.
Good.
I’m busy with birbs, so I need the garden to effectively tend to itself for a bit.
We’re in the rhythm of Fall…
Butcher, process, roast and can.
Lather, rinse, repeat until all done.

Afterwards, maybe I’ll have a chance to take my camera out for some work.
Maybe.
If I’m not sleeping.
😂😂😂

Have a great week y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all

September 22nd, and so far, so good…we have not had a frost.
We better not for a bit yet.
I figure after hitting me with frost on the first day of Summer, Mother Nature owes me a long, warm Fall for things to ripen on the plants, before finishing the garden with a killing frost.
I’m hopeful.
I know better than try to demand *anything* of Mother Nature.
😂😂😂
Plus, we’re still working on building.
Building takes all 3 of us, so that only happens on the weekends.
Which is why The Kid and I are in full on butchering mode from here on ’til all the birbs going Camping are done.

Today it’s the geese.
I’m so done with their shitty geese attitudes.
Hey, they’re fun!
They have all sorts of hilarious idiosyncrasies, but…they’re dicks.
And I’m sure that’s because we didn’t handle them enough from the time we got them.
If we decide to get a small flock of them next year, that will change.
But for this year, they’re going Camping.
Still the best 5 turkeys I ever spent.

Then this weekend, we’re doing roosters and the white turkeys.
It’s time for those turkeys, it really is.
They are big, big, birbs.
And getting them into the freezer will cut down the feed bill immensely.

Of the other turkeys, the 5 of 16 who survived out initial issues in the spring (unbeknownst to us, mold in the brooder) 4 were hens, 1 was a tom.
Well, I can’t keep 3 toms.
Oscar and Dingus are my 2 breeding boys.
Jake was odd boy out.
So he was on the block…until we got our water line fixed and I promised a breeding pair to Joe the plumber.
On Sunday, Jake went to his new home, with a hen from his age group, at Joe’s place.
I think Jake will be very happy there.
After that, I have the littles that hatched out in June to finish growing out.
6 for a friend, then I’ll choose my extra keeper hens, and the rest go camping.
Unless Joe wants another hen to go with his current pair.
But we’ll see what happens between now and the time they get to size enough to run with the bigs.
Once the whites are done, that will happen sooner…those darn whites are just too big to let the littles run with the whole flock…they don’t understand their strength or bulk.
All in all, I don’t think the whites are cost effective (I’ll know better when I have an idea on carcass size), but they’re a lot of fun.
I mean, turkeys are just fun to raise.
I would raise them, the whites, again.
Next time though, I will give them more scraps and veggies as options, earlier.
These guys were freaked out by watermelon.
But they love, love, love hard boiled eggs.
But scrambled eggs are scary.
And bread/bakery stuff?
It’s gonna kill them. Jump up off the ground and murder them.
I call them my stupid children for a reason…
lol
So yeah, having them less picky feed wise, especially with Loop as feed supplement, would be soooo nice.
But I can work on that next year. If we order whites.

Once all is said and done, everyone who needs to be in the freezer is there, then I’ll sit down and run the numbers, figure out what was worth doing, what needs changing and, if we have a white turkey or two for sale, what the cost will be…
I *know* it’s not going to be anywhere like grocery store prices.
Ain’t no $0.99/lb birds here. Ever.
But, well raised food shouldn’t *be* that cheap.
The only way we get food that cheap is by cutting corners, or by raisers and growers losing money.
Well, neither is a good answer to me.
Sorry.
Food is life, and we need to be willing to pay what it’s worth.
And yes, I do understand that some cannot afford my prices.
At some point though, I think we need to shift our perspective on what whole, good nutrition is and what it’s worth.
My turkeys might go for what some feel is an unreasonable price, but if you make the most of the entire bird, you’re coming out ahead.
A friend mentioned, last time she was here, she got 50 meals for herself and her husband from a 25lb turkey. 50!!
That’s what we have to return to.
Slow food cooking, hands on preparations, no more convenience (or make our own convenience) foods…
Real.
Whole.
Well raised.
Humanely dispatched.
Beak to tail feather consumption.
Not just the choice parts and toss the rest.
That’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable. It’s not ethical.

I’ve said it many times, and I’ll keep saying it…
I will shout it from the rooftops!

Happy Food Tastes Better

And I guaran-damn-tee my food animals are happy right up until their one bad day.
The way it should be.

Down Sizing

This past weekend we got the news that our regular feed guy did not have good returns on his fields.
Which means, he doesn’t have as much to sell to us for feed for the birds for winter.

Now, we had already been discussing downsizing some of the birds, simply because the bulk of our feed money is going into The Merry Mares.
Hay prices are…well I don’t know exactly what’s doing with our regular Hay Guy.
He says things have been real bad (that was back in July) but he didn’t say he wouldn’t have for us.
I’ve been looking and trying to get bales elsewhere, just in case.
One of our other connections had an entire field of hay stolen.
That’s the new thing this year.
Stealing hay.
Hell, she didn’t even get it cut!
They came, cut and baled in a 24 hour period.
Which means it’s either gonna go up in flames or it’s going to mold.
Either way, if they sell the stolen bales, the person buying is fucked and if they try to use it themselves, their animals are gonna suffer.
What a fucked up year.

My straw connection has bales for me.
In fact, she says she has a fair bit extra, so if we had to use straw and supplement with grains and hay cubes, we’ll be able to do that and keep The Merry Mares healthy.
Her prices have gone up…almost double.
But, we also have to consider the low yields on fields, the rising gas prices, repairs to equipment, etc.
It all adds up.
I will not begrudge someone needing to make a living.
And you know, both my straw connection and my Hay Guy have been fucking awesome with us.
I have no complaints about them at all.
Besides, that’s the joys of having money eating shit machines.
In years like this, you pay through the nose to keep them.
But realistically, there’s no market for aging mares who haven’t been ridden for years and who’s only job it has been is to be pretty. Besides, I told them all that they’re here for life.
That’s it, that’s all.

So we’re downsizing where we can.
That’s with birds.
But the good thing with that is, birds are food.
I’m going to go through my hens and take out the aging girls (except for a choice few older gals who will get to die of old age.) Once I have an idea of how many older girls are going, then I’ll see how many roos will stay.
I want to keep 40 hens, so that means 3 roos.
Frank, Blue and probably Darryl (or is it Larry?).

Geese will go to Freezer Camp.
I had hoped to be able to keep them, but…
They’ve been complete assholes to the ducks (they were in the duck yard) and have been picking at new growing wing feathers on the duck hens.
The geese aren’t lacking anything, their just dicks.
😂😂😂
We’ll get more in the spring.

Turkeys will be whittled down to Oscar, Dingus, Emma, 12, 13, and at least 5 other hens.
The boys do best with 4 hens minimum each.
So 8 hens (for sure) and the 2 boys will stay and they’ll easily replenish the flock come spring.
I had thought about keeping a white hen, from the hatchery turkeys.
Those hens do get kept for breeding, but as I thought about it, I worried whether I’d be allowing not-so-hardy genetics into my flock.
Yeah, I might get interesting colours, I might get a faster growing bird, but I might also get the worst of the whites too…
So nope, all whites are Freezer Campers.
In my littles flock, there are 4 Sweetgrass turkeys and the rest are Narragansetts.
6 of that flock belong to a friend.
She’s the one who gave me the Sweetgrass eggs.
I want to keep 1 of the Sweetgrass for my flock, so we’ll have crosses that way, and Sweetgrass are hardy like the Narragansetts, so that works.
Size wise, they’re the same, so it’s just going to be colours that the Sweetgrass will bring to the genetics.
I’m not dead set on pure Narragansetts, so that’s a good thing.
I want hardy, decent layers/mothers, pretty, and tasty.

And then there’s the ducks…
Well, we did just buy 19 bebes, then had another 8 hatch out, so we have a lot of ducks.
😂😂😂
But, we have drakes going Camping, and any drakes in the 19 we bought will go Camping too.
By the time November rolls around, we’ll know who is who and who’s not staying on.
Hens (for the most part) will stay.
We have 4 older gals, the foundation 4, who will be kept because they hatch clutches happily.
Hell, they’re trying to hide nests now!
Ya, no…no nests allowed now!
And the younger hens have been doing just as well too.
Plus, out of those 19 we bought, there should be a few hens, and it’s always good to bring in new bloodlines every few years. Once their coop is renewed (Hubby is working on that and the greenhouse at the same time…the Man is *busy*!!), we’ll see how many fit and go from there.
We have 2 drakes that stay on, Cricket and PoopMachine.
Drake (our main guy) should be staying too…we know he *works* 😉 and then we have Howard and another 1 who looks like Cricket. The Cricket look alike is being replaced with PoopMachine.
We try to keep 4 working drakes, but can go down to 3 if we have to.
That gives us a hen flock of 15-20, depending on space.

So we’re eating bird this winter.
That’s always been the plan, but some of the ones I had originally thought about keeping (space permitting) are now on the table.
And y’know what?
I’m not going to feel bad about that.
Thing is, birds, as much as we enjoy them being here, are food.
For us, for the cats, for the dog.
The rule is they get to live a good life being birds, then when it’s time, they feed us.
That’s just how it is.

Happy Food Tastes Better.

Cricket the Duck. He’s a handsome fella!

Down Came the Rains

Out went the internet.
😂😂😂

This is the first chance at the internet since it went out with the rains, so it’s not a huge deal.
As always, there’s work to be done here.
This past weekend it was soggy wet work, but we needed the rain so bad…and now we’re getting more in a short time than we need. If only it could have been spaced out over the summer, things would have been much, much better.
*sigh*
But that’s the way of it, isn’t it?
At least, it has been the past few years.
If I was a tin foil hat wearin’ conspiracy theorist, I’d be wonderin’ about them “scientists” manipulating the weather…I mean, how else do you keep a hold on people who are getting restless about leadership and plagues other than by controlling the food supply?
Drought for months during planting/growing, then monsoon type rains during harvest?
Hmmmm….

Anyways…

More roosters went to Freezer Camp.
My Kiddo, dang I’m proud of her!
She’s always been hands on helping with the dispatch and the plucking.
Roosters we skin, because it’s just easier.
This time ’round she wanted to learn to gut them.
Awesome!
That means as long as she has a couple hens, a rooster and a sharp knife, she can put meat into her soup pot.
That is a fantastic skill to have.
And not too many young women are interested in learning those skills…so I figure Hubby and I have done something right, in that she’s wanting to know how, from beginning to end.

Then out came the canner.
Beans, chicken and stock, chicken stock.
Now I’m working on horse applesauce…not as nefarious as it sounds…we got about 20lbs of apples in our last Loop pickup, and The Merry Mares do not need apples all the time…but a few jars of applesauce on the shelf for winter additions to their beet pulp?
Oh yeah, that’s a great idea!
Then tomorrow is another round of rooster roasting and canning, with a few jars of cat food in there as well.
Wee roosters (these were culls from friends) have teensy livers and hearts and gizzards (and I’m not there, to be able to eat those) so they go into jars with some stock for winter eats for the outdoor cats.
Gotta keep my mousers fat and happy through the cold months too!
When we do our pig, the liver, heart, tongue and other offal bits get the same treatment.
And same with deer.

Ahhh!! Deer season (for bow) starts in 1 week.
Hubby is excited to get out with his bow and hopefully put some venison in the freezer.
He’s got a few places lined up to hunt, and before rifle season hits (deers know to hide real good during boom boom season) they’re thick like stink on a monkey…so finger crossed!!

And damn if the price of wood hasn’t dropped!
Whoa!
2×6 stud length are down $2 a board over last week!
I’ve been putting off the last few boards needed to finish the greenhouse, hoping for a price drop and here it is…so tomorrow Hubby stops for the last few boards and in between butchering and hunting, that fucker is going up.
I need my greenhouse in place for next year.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
So, there’s that.
And there’ll be pictures.
🙂

Then in the spring (because I don’t feel like there’s time now before Fall) I get to lay out some cardboard, a layer of wheat straw and then top with topsoil…and that will be the next garden space in front of the house, between my haskaps and the lilacs.
*sigh*
Then a quick fence of t-posts and stucco wire to keep out the asshole chickens and we’ll be good to go for planting.
The more food I can grow, the better off we’ll be.

Winter is coming.
And without bringing politics into it (because I try not to here), I feel like there’s a long winter coming.
A very long winter.
Best to be prepared as much as we possibly can be.

It’s Raining!

First of all, like the title says, it’s raining.
We had some rain last week that really helped, and now we’re in for just about the entire weekend full of rain.
So while I’m frustrated that it makes butchering difficult (got 18 more cornish to go…turns out I can’t count,
I kept missing 2 of them 😂😂😂), I am happy af for rain.
And I’m praying it’s in time to save our pasture.
And our Hay Guy’s yield.
And doesn’t eff up our straw supplier’s harvest.
*sigh*
But rain, right now, is a good thing.
😉

First jars of chicken are ready for the shelf.
Only 85ish more to go.
😂😂😂

This year I’m trying to do them with a bit more stock in them.
Last year they were jammed full of chicken with as little stock as I could safely get away with.
Which was great when I opened a jar for Hubby, but not so great when I opened a jar for the old Calico cat.
Yep, I fed the damn cat home canned chicken.
A. Lot.
But when you’re the feline equivalent of 128 years old, you eat whatever the eff you want…and she wanted home canned chicken.
It always had to have stock with it though and she drove me nuts screaming when the liquid ran out…so this year, a little more juice and a few extra smaller jars of just stock to supplement when the bigger jar runs out.

Before the rains came, I headed into the garden to pick beans (canning those tomorrow) and pull some weeds.
‘Round here not even the weeds go to waste.
First bin of them went to the geese.
They get crazy excited over weeds and cut grass.
They’re gonna be my garden clean up crew this year.
I figure they should do a great job of eating down everything left once we’re done.
I will have to protect a few things, like the black currants, the chives and the grape vine, but they’ll have tons of stuff then can eat and enjoy.

2nd bin went to the turkeys.
It was mostly thistles and those white turkeys sure love thistles!
Thistles are good for liver health, so they can have as many thistles as I can give them.
This year I’m going to try turkey liver.
I hate liver.
Really, really hate it.
But it’s because growing up all we ever had was over cooked, grainy af, vomit inducing beef liver and onions.
And when it was put in front of us, we got nothing else until our plate was clean.
Even if it took days.
I uh, learned to fast for long periods of time…real young.

But now as an adult, who is trying to work a little harder on nose to tail eating (not that livers or other offal were ever wasted…we’ve always found someone who wanted those bits) I’ve committed myself to trying to eat poultry livers.
I have a few duck ones in the freezer from our last duck days.
I just couldn’t convince myself to try them.
Yet.
I’ll get there.

There’s 5 boys, and 1 hen here.
The smallest one just above the Farm logo is the hen.
I have researched and learned that white hens are often kept for breeding purposes in big barn settings.
So I figure I’m going to keep her and see what happens.
Either she’ll mate and lay or she won’t.
If she does, it should add some size and maybe some speed to the growth of poults…or maybe she’ll only add a different colour shade to the next gen poults from her.
If she doesn’t, we’ll send her to Freezer Camp in the spring.
But she’s already doing the sit down and flirt thing with Oscar, so I’m hopeful. 🙂

The boys will all be going off to Freezer Camp soon.
They’re at 16 weeks now and just about the size of Oscar and Dingus.
For reference, Oscar and Dingus are a year old now and are just about 35lbs each.
Yeah so, you can see the whites grow a lot faster.
If we could keep them going, the white turkeys (Nicholas turkeys) have been known to make 70lbs live weight…which is why the toms aren’t kept for breeding.
It’s all A.I.
Yup, someone in the world has the job of extracting turkey semen and artificially inseminating hens.
😂😂😂
Can’t say it’s a job I’d want, but I guess someone has to do it.
How else do ya get those cheap turkeys at the holidays??
But seriously, I much prefer my Narragansetts who do the joyful deed themselves and quite proudly.

It Has Begun…

Last week we ran a Freezer Camp for the cornish meat chickens.
The ones we did could have used a bit more time to bulk up, but we’re going ahead with getting them done by the end of this week.
And it’s the last time I’m raising cornish chickens.
I’m so done with these guys.
The last few years, the quality of chick seems to be declining.
I don’t know why, and I’m not accusing the hatchery of anything.
We just haven’t had them grow as well as they should and this year we’ve had far, far too many broken bones.
Not just legs either.
And then with last week’s thunder storm, we lost more than 15 of them because they piled up on each other in the coop (even though the coop was wide open and they were free to come and go as they please) and smothered each other.
So, out of 75 chicks, once I finish butchering them this week, we’ll have 35 birds.
That is ridiculous.

Meanwhile, my home hatched roosters?
Not a single loss.
28 in the bachelor pen and when the thunder was rumbling, they were screaming right back at it.
😂😂😂
So next year we’re focusing on home hatched/raised birds.
No more cornish meats to die on a whim or because a fly farted too close to them.
Hardy dual purpose backyard crosses, bred for size, flavor and hardiness.
And maybe we can encourage people to come back to eating slow food through our breeding program.
The roosters are best cooked low and slow…they’re crockpot food, not fast frying.
But that long slow cook extracts all the nutritional goodness out of them, so it really is the best way.
For when we want bbq, I remove the breasts, brine or marinate them, and then roast the rest of the carcass.

So I hope we can encourage people to embrace slow food (which with the prevalence of instapots these days, doesn’t even need to be slow) and move away from the supermarket chicken.
Who knows…we’ll see.
We simply can’t bear the financial losses that go with cornish anymore.

But what goes with running a Freezer Camp is the inevitable roasting of backs/necks/carcasses, making bone broth and then the canning of the meat bits and broth.
That’s where I am today.
On the roasting part.
So the house, even though it’s hot af again, smells like delicious roasted chicken.
Needless to say, we’re having some sort of chicken dish for supper tonight.
😂😂😂

The garden is ramping up well.
Beans are producing.
I have the rows of royal burgundys to pick and can. Same with the yellows.
I have to get more mulch in around the pintos…they’re starting to blossom, and the weeds are fighting hard to take over.
So I’ll pull weeds, feed the geeses and mulch, mulch, mulch.
We had a small meal from the Painted Pony beans.
They were tasty, but I was disappointed with the strings. I hadn’t realized how tough the strings on them were.
So I’m on the fence about growing them again.
Love, love, love them for the name and provenance (named for the American Paint Horse…and we know how Wolfie feels about them APHA gals, right? 😉 ) but if they’re tough and stringy, I’ll find a better heirloom bean for us (royal burgundys).

I’m eating radish seed pods like crazy.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
I did not know before this year how damn tasty they are!
I’ve marked out a few plants that I’m going to let seed pods dry on so that we have radish seeds for next year, but aside from those few, I’m eating, eating, eating.
The black radishes are huge.
Size of my fist and bigger.
So I plan to ferment some.
Fermented radishes are yummy.
Really, really, yummy.
And easy to do.
But we’ve never had huge ones like this that I could ferment…and we’ve always just eaten them from the garden with salt, or in potato salad. Now I have enough to ferment.
That’s on the list to do this week.
Might even sneak a beet into a jar with some radishes.
*drools* I love the idea of fermented radishes and beets together.
Hopefully it tastes as good in real life as it does in my head.
😂😂😂

And now off to work for me, because I have 19 chicken carcasses in my oven waiting for me…but to finish the post with a picture of my APHA gal…because no matter what, I will always love her and will never have a day where I don’t think of her. ❤

❤ Cookie ❤

Catch Up

So it’s been a while.
Mostly because we’ve been busy.
Chasing after a few hundred birds and keeping them alive and well in sweltering heat and smokey conditions has left us…

Exhausted.

Up at 4am, passed out in the chair by 9pm and up again at 10pm to get all the birds into their safe beds for the night…there is no such thing as getting them to go to the coops before it’s dark.
Birds are assholes that way.

Yesterday we picked up 10 freebie roosters.
They’re in a quarantine bachelor pen until they’re big enough to go to Freezer Camp.

Today we (well, mostly MCFHubby) moved Ripple the Duck and her 5 abducted children out of the meat chicken house (she was sitting her own nest in there with 2 other ducks…1 duck’s clutch hatched before Ripple’s, so Ripple stole her ducklings and abandoned her own nest) and then closed up the front side of the meat chicken house to become the next bachelor pen.
From here on out, as we put chickens to bed at night, we’ll scoop up roosters from the first hatcher group and put them in there. They are just a few weeks away from going Camping, and are starting to crow and enjoy their testosterone…which means their jumping on every hen they can catch, no matter the size. And that means off to the “boys only” area.

Yesterday I had to cull a couple of cornish that had been too badly “used” by those teenaged roosters.
*sigh*
This really is the worst part of raising roosters for the freezer…that line where they are nice young boys to when they turn into horny teens who’ll hump anything is a fine one…and sadly, these 2 birbs paid for me missing it.
But, I was able to save their carcass to put into the crockpot to feed the elderly house cat who shrieks endlessly day and night for her roasted chicken.
At least there is that.

Garden is growing well…

I pulled out the garlic, because the tops had died right back. Not the greatest of crops, but better than last year, so I’m happy. A few more pics here:

And more garden pics here:

And the goose babies are growing like crazy.
Eating garden weeds and grocery store salads from the Loop pickups like crazy.
They come running, singing everytime they see the recycling bin of greens coming.
They did not care for the strawberries, but that’s okay.
The turkeys tried to kill me for them
😂😂😂
Literally, tried to knock me down to get the strawberries from me.
Who knew turkeys would be so…excitable for berries???
Next task is to make a safe yard area for the turkey babies to get some outside time.
They’re growing leaps and bounds and really need to start getting outside. But, their brooder was moved into the turkey yard (where it’s supposed to be) and I have to create a smaller yard within that yard for them to come out and the big birbs can’t be dirty rotten assholes to them. 😉

We have 7 ducklings that were hatched this year that are growing nicely.
2 are still house ducks (Oreo and Poop Machine) but once MCFHubby builds them a smaller brooder for on the deck, that will change.
We also have a smaller coop that was given to us when a friend left her Farm, that we’re fixing up a bit that can become a duckling space.
It’s all the time thing, right?
Hubby is working long hours and it’s hot and it’s hard to get things done…but we’re doing what we can.

And I’m cutting grass every damn place I can for hay.
Last weekend we heard from our Hay Guy, asking if we need for the winter…
Um, yes please!
But the drought here is so prevalent, I am worried af that he won’t have for us.
That means I’m searching for other options and praying that there’s enough money to afford them.

It’s been a scary year for owners of hay eating animals.
Worse than the last few drought-ish years.
Like it’s still July and for us to hear from our Hay Guy now???
Terrifying.
Not even kidding about that.
😥
But we’ll figure something out…It’s not like the nags are going anywhere.
Even if it *were* a possibility, every horse owner in the province is in the same boat, so the only place they could go if we had to get rid of them is to auction…that means a trip to the meat truck.
And that is **NOT** an option.
So we’ll figure something out.

We’re still plugging away on the greenhouse.
Still trying to find someone to come fix our leaking well line.
Still working on the newest garden space.
Working, working, working.

Geeses

Things have happened this weekend…
Birb things.

Last week my incubator of 41 Narragansett turkey eggs hatched out 32 poults.
2 passed away shortly after hatching.
That left me with 30.

I have to add…out of the 41 eggs, only 2 weren’t fertile.
But, we did have some strange temperature issues on one of the crazy hot days we had last week, so there were a couple of poults who died in the shell.
It’s was sad, because they were almost fully developed, but incubating can be a delicate balance of heat/humidity and fluctuations can cause deaths in the shell.

Plus, there were 10 already in the brooder from the new incubator…then we lost one because it drowned in the water.
Have I mentioned that turkeys can be stupid?
Yeah, this little one fell asleep in the bottom of the waterer and died.
So we’ve added some cleanly scrubbed rocks…which adds the bonus of giving the poults something to peck at, so they find the water easier.

So I now have 34 poults, with 6 belonging to a friend.
How does 39 become 34?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

39 poults becomes 34 poults when a friend says “hey, I’m going to be in your general area picking up some geeses bebes, do you want some?” and I says “um, yes!” and then she gets here and says “hey, want to trade poults for geeses?” and I once more say “um, yes!”

😂😂😂

And that’s how 39 poults became 34 poults and I now have 5 geeses bebes.
😂😂😂

And what exactly do we plan on doing with 5 geeses bebes?
Welp, we’ll see who’s a boy and who’s a girl (because I have no idea how to tell, if one can tell, at this age) and see who pairs off (because I am told geeses do the 1 mate thing) and then let them make the geeses eine kliene bang bang musick so we have more bebe geeses next year…and the extra geeses will become Freezer Campers.

Until that time though, they get to get acquainted with their space and then they’ll get to wander the yard with the rest of the poultry…because even though no one is supposed to be free rangin’, they don’t listen to me and just do whatever they want…
😂😂😂

Kinda like the turkey and cornish chickens yesterday…

But y’know…
Happy food always tastes better. 😉
And it sure does make them happy to be running all over the place eating bugs and grass and picking through the horse piles. Who am I to deny my food the right to be happy?