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 ❤

I Am Angry Today

Y’all know me…I believe in eating whole foods.
We raise our own meat animals.
We buy as ethically as we possibly can, as much as we can afford.
And we cook.
I believe in slow food.
Nose to tail cooking and eating.
Bone broth for daaaaays.
Long cooked soups and stews, homemade as much as possible.
Pressure canned jars of homegrown, or well grown, foods are our convenience foods.

My province, Manitoba, has the highest child poverty rates of all the provinces in Canada.
The Territories beat us out, and that has a lot to do with getting food into remote places, and people moving away from traditional foods and living off the land.
It is a huge point of shame in this country, in my province, that there are children starving.
Not just missing a meal here and there, but outright starving.
And our province is “reforming” the education system…
Listen, kids **CAN’T** concentrate on learning when they haven’t eaten.
Got that??
Hungry kids don’t learn.

Anyways, food security is a drum I have been banging for years…

Today, one of the local rescues made a post about chickens from a commercial chicken barn.
Here’s the link…

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodplacemb/posts/938191546917607

Go read it.
Then come back and read my thoughts.
If you dare.

Listen, I get farmers are running a business.
But folks, let’s be 100% honest here…
If we’re going to use animals, it is our responsibility to use them humanely, and to not waste them.
Animal proteins are nutrient dense, they’re good for us, and they are a part of a healthy diet for many.
But cruelty?
Waste?
Throwing perfectly edible birds in the fucking dump?
Not so fucking much.

This practice, this cull, is 100% about money.
The hens are culled as rate of lay drops, and new hens are brought in.
All out, then all in.
So if a barn has a thousand birds, a thousand birds go out before the next thousand come in.
But what happens to the old thousand is the problem.
Some barns sell to small farmers like me.
But this? What’s outlined in the link?
Happens more often than not.
That. Is. Bullshit.

So here we have thousands of birds killed and thrown in the garbage.
Why aren’t they being processed?
Why aren’t they being distributed to those who need food?
Remember, highest child poverty rate in the provinces.
As of Janurary 2020, 27.9% of Manitoba children are living in poverty.
Guess what?
Those kids aren’t getting enough food.
Y’know what could solve that problem??
FOOD.

*sigh*

But it’s the money, right?
It costs money to process those birds into an edible product for humans.
It’s more “cost efficient” to throw the birds in the fucking garbage than to feed people with them.
And if that doesn’t make people angry, then there’s a big goddamn fucking problem.

Farmers have to buy into quota for eggs.
So, make one of the conditions that in order to buy egg quota, they have to have a processing plan or facility in place for the all out time of year.
Farmers have to have a plan in place for manure management.
They’re supposed to have a plan in place for deadstock.
Why the fuck isn’t there a plan in place for whole barn turnover???
And why the fuck are we the people not holding them responsible for having one?

There is no excuse for this.
There is no excuse for hungry children.
See?
These 2 can be beneficial to each other.
Do not tell me that the best way to dispose of these birds is to leave them rotting in a landfill…
While people go to bed hungry.
While people in Canada starve.
While children starve.

That’s bullshit.
That’s lazy.
That’s crap.

Manitoba Egg Producers need to simply fucking do better.

And people, stop buying cheaply produced food products.
I know it’s hard.
Because there’s all too often not enough money left at the end of the month to eat well.
But seriously people, that’s where slow cooking, nose to tail eating comes in.
With crock pots, instapots in darn near every home these days, fast foods, processed foods, easy from the freezer foods should be a thing of the past.
It’s not hard to cook food.
Really.
I promise…it’s not!
And, if you have older hens like these one in the link, they make such a rich flavorful, healthy soup!
We have to get away from the idea that food is so easy to waste.
Honest to Dog, you want to do something to help climate change?
Stop. Wasting. Food.

But…that’s a whole different issue that demands it’s own blog post on another day.