Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's all in the timing, isn't it?

I have done pretty well dealing with the fallout (or, thawout) from my blinky freezer.  I am down to one thawed chicken.  Which MUST be dealt with.  Now.  I hemmed and hawed and did everything but deal with it and now I must.  So I am going to stew it up and make chicken soup and pressure can it.  How nice that it's in the 90s with a heat index of 100+.  Perfect weather to fire up your stove, no?

Yesterday, Melanie and I went on our little road trip to the poultry processor (see her scientific take on chicken breeds/feed regimens/results here).  I just find the French Reds to be a very nice bird to raise and I prefer the flavor of a darker meat chicken.  No "Mae West breasts on steroids" for me.  I raised mine on feed and grass.  I found that they loved the white clover flowers and leaves, but were not much interested in grass.  While the chicken tractor worked fine, it was not made to be a permanent structure, so I herded them out to pasture (using the term loosely) every morning, and herded them back to the lattice house every night.  Where I had set up a devilishly complicated system to close them up.  It took me 20 minutes every morning and again every night to deal with them.  This just underlines the fact that I am my own worst enemy.

Linden was banded on Monday evening, and seems to have recovered his normal gait.  It was quite a process, as he is a big boy in every aspect of the word.  But he is also a sweet, gentle lamb and was stoic through the process.  Sweetie.  I also took a good look at this year's hay and find it lacking.  It is, unfortunately, just one of the vagaries of farming.  He usually has great hay, with lots of crunchy protein.  This spring, however, there was a LOT of rain, lots of cool weather and, by the time the farmers could get into the fields to cut it, there was a lot of lost protein.  I am going to have to supplement and/or downsize even more than I planned.

From the garden, I have harvested 68 heads of garlic, most of it very nice and large; one small red onion (just checking); about three quarts of English peas; two cherry tomatoes; one pint of Alpine strawberries; 1/4 pint of black currants; tons of lettuce - now gone to seed; radishes; pak choi; and I am still harvesting tons of Swiss chard.  Coming along:  three type of beans - the Trail of Tears are in blossom; onions; potatoes; zucchini; summer squash; basil; parsley; tomatoes - although this doesn't look like a particularly good year.  I am glad that I have friends who have better gardens and that I still have a goodly amount of canned produce from last year. 

Next week is vacation week.  I can hardly wait.


  1. Sounds like a pretty good harvest for a tough year to me. Good eats aplenty. And friends for the extras. Life is good!

  2. Sounds like you're still crazy busy. Glad to hear you're getting more than most out of their gardens . . . sending wishes it stays that way for you.

    Any special plans for your "vacation" week coming up or are you gonna work, work, work?

  3. Tomorrow is forecasted at 98 degrees and I need to can beans. I really dont think once it is that hot the steam from the pressure canner makes much difference ;) But be careful Susan. My hay looks terrible too. In fact the weeds in the oat field look better.

  4. Still have a ram lamb here to band or otherwise torture. Yay for vacation week!

  5. Sue - There will be no problem with vampire bats, that's for sure!

    Mama Pea - Always! Especially the crazy part. I have planned two non-work things during my vacation week and two non-farm things. I feel I need a more rounded work experience...

    Jane - Boy, do I feel your pain. And you're right; at that point, what's a little more heat.

    Michelle - I have one ram lamb left, the youngest. I am keeping my eye on him. Sometimes the small ones are more "advanced" than you think.

  6. "thawout" LOL! I am amazed you are still getting peas in all this heat!

  7. I don't think anyone can escape this heat right now, so the kitchen stove is arch enemy #1. If your vacation is anything like your regular days off, you'll get more R&R at work!!!

  8. Sympathies from my sweltering kitchen to yours! I can't wait to get my summer canning kitchen set up.

    We're still trying to find the best meat (actually dual) chicken, for us anyway. Interesting that you prefer dark meated birds. Me too! I'm not familiar with the French reds, will have to look that one up. Buff Orpingtons are our next breed to try.

  9. Erin - I jinxed the peas. They have shriveled up and the goats are enjoying the vines. I so envy your tomato crop...

    APG - I am actually putting non-farm things on my list! I figure that's the only way I'll work in some fun things.

    Leigh - Finding jus the right chicken is not easy. I am very happy with the Reds, however, and I might be tempted to try breeding them next year as an experiment. Unless I regain my sanity by then.