Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday


Friday pizza night marches on!  Crazy kids.



Marmelade hunting.  Only after watching him for awhile did I notice that there was a whole flock of quail just outside the picture view.  


Brownie, the ameracauna.  


Remus playing with the pigs.  Or Remus barking at the pigs while they lay there.  


Look how fatty his cheeks are getting!







Max digging a hole.  He's got a plan for it.  



The leaves have started to change in the couple deciduous trees we have around.  Audrey was excited for about 7 seconds to start raking the first leaves.  : ) 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall sunshine


I finally picked some corn.  It's pretty late and the ears were short but it did taste good!



Max lost a tooth!


Audrey decided to make oreos tonight.  They turned out really tasty!


This is what I see when heading out for morning chores.  Swine chair anyone?


Dagger chowing.  His posture is defensive when he eats.  Part of being wild that just won't ever go away?


An yes, you do see feet.  Clara is fully inside this cat-sized carrier.  Of her own choosing, and the door isn't latched.  Crazy child.  

Everyone is doing well adjusting to school schedules and expectations.  Audrey just said she's interested in learning violin.  Fun!  I've been spending my daytime hours working on transplanting a bunch of things to my preferred locations.  Digging a lot of holes.  Training Remus to not steal my gloves.  Taking down portions of fencing so the logger will have easy access next spring, if that stays planned.  We really need better fire protection and more sun on the garden.  And our forest health is pretty sad with it being so crowded.  I hope it works out to log next spring.  Happy birthday tomorrow Aaron!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Garden Fun

Try to set aside the bad photo quality.  I couldn't resist sharing these couple with you.  Max grew these summer squash!










Remus says hi!  He's been naughty lately.  I guess we're in the watch-you-every-single-second-of-the-day phase of puppyhood.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

First Days of School


Farmer weirdness!  Look at my first pickling cucumber!  It's so cute!  I have three so far.  Hoping I can move my newly productive plant to the hoop house and get enough before serious cold to try picking a jar or two.  


Audrey's a 4th grader!  



My kitchen sink since a hawk lives on our homestead.  Beef heart bits for a training session and a chicken head snack.  Yum.  Some days there is a rodent floating.  Dead and thawing of course.  Welcome to our new normal!



Corey provided a link to a cool practice flight.  : )

Butchering

I know you've all really wanted to see pictures of chicken butchering.  If you DON'T want to see that moment, just look at these cute ones of cousins and beautiful Lake Pend Oreille and than move on to something else. 



Also meet Dagger if you haven't already.  We trapped him a couple weeks ago after Corey got the go ahead from his mentor and fish and game.  It was a super cool family moment.  Corey had been out a bit looking to the sky for an immature red tail hawk and hadn't had much luck getting birds to his trap.  We all went out one evening to experience it together.  We spied one on a pole just south of us in the prairie.  I dropped the trap out the door while we drove slowly past the bird, said a prayer, and drove a little ways away to watch.  Sure enough, the bird went for it and was trapped.  Corey and I got him out of the trap safely, put a hood on him to calm him, secured his wings, and I held him on the way home.  He laid in my lap, head near my chest, my arms at his sides holding his wings down, with my hands around his ankles so near the deadly talons I had to remind myself to breathe.  Corey assured me he would be calm because of the hood and we had a 7 minute drive home.  He wasn't exactly calm but there were no bird mishaps.  Corey's been diligently manning and training him every day since.  It's a beautiful thing.  We had him out yesterday on a string(called a creance I guess) to a wide open park where he flew well over 60 yards from perch to Corey's glove. 


My favorite part of butcher day:  Audrey made her bear an apron with a pocket complete with a butchering knife.  She's ready for the day!


We're ready!


I wish I had a vinyl apron after this experience.  It's messy.  


I brought the birds down from their coop 4 at a time(we had 10 total) in a plastic tote with a lid in the wheel barrow.  Those birdies grew to 11 pounds in just 8 weeks!  We rigged some cones onto the trees, pulled a birds head through the bottom, and I slit throats.  No heads off at this point.  We read that it helps to leave it attached so that the nervous system does a better job draining the blood.  It sits in the cone, twitching and thrashing, for 5 minutes or so.  Our cones didn't do their job well.  Birds would flip themselves over stopping the drain and one even flopped itself out completely onto the ground.  They were all well and dead at the time.  So I learned I had to hold their head down in place until the moment passed.  Gloves were a good thing.


We didn't pluck choosing to skin instead because of our limited equipment and preferences for eating parts of birds instead of whole birds normally.  It worked fine.  So each bowl had a different part: boneless breasts, leg quarters, heads, select organs, wings, carcass pieces, etc.  Some bowls for people consumption, some for hawk food.  


Corey remained at the butcher table and I handled most of the other butchering chores sometimes stepping in to get a bird started if I had a moment to do so.  


That's a bowl of necks folks.  It was gross.  Not enjoyable, but I would do it again.  The smell bothered me a bit.  And the fact that despite withholding food for 15+ hours, they still had poo in their digestive tracts.  I'm sure our inexperienced butchering hands were probably more to blame but there was definitely poo and raw meat going on.  


All in all, we ended up with 50lbs of chicken for us and 20 pounds for the birds.  Home grown, mostly non-GMO, stress-free birds.  Next time, invest in better knives, a shears capable of cutting through bones, and stock up on ice beforehand so I don't have to run out and get some at the last minute.  And weigh the birds more frequently.  I didn't intend for them to get so big.  8 pounds live weight would have been better.  We haven't eaten it yet, but I think the breasts looked a little fibrous and tough, I'll let you know.  


Yep, that it a bowl full of heads.  The hawk LOVES them.  Audrey took the photos.  : )  Then she went inside.  All the kids were curious in the beginning and had a dead chicken dissection moment but then they spent the morning in the house.  I don't blame them.  It was gross.  But I'm glad to have our own meat and will likely to this again.  The day of I couldn't say that but a week or so late, sure.  It's fine.


Moving on the more fun.  The kids have been wanting to build a tree house all summer.  Due to our limited building experience and looming logging next spring, we opted for a fort instead.  It's awesome!  I need to get a current picture.  They continued to personalize it with a sign, wall hangings, and a curtain door.  They slept in it a few nights ago.  It's been in the 40s at night.  Crazy kids.  


Friday, September 2, 2016

Barnyard Update


Bacon


These meaty birdies have had their last meal.  Shhh...it's butchering day tomorrow.  



Remus and the pigs have had a few funny moments.  They nip at him and push him into corners.  Though he's a cautious, he really does like to play with them.  




Peach cobbler, or peach clobber according to Clara  : )