Sunday, April 29, 2007

lost clutch

We have a remaining 20 or so chickens that did not attend the all you can eat chicken buffet for the local wildlife. In that 20 chickens are several roosters, and they seem to be doing a fairy good job of keeping the hens in line. I was hoping that one of our hens would get "broody" and want to hatch us a batch of chicks to replace some the we. I have been watching this nest of eggs keeping my fingers crossed that in 21 days we would hear the peep peep of new chicks. Well I think the hen got tired of setting there and watching everyone else scratch around and eat bugs so off she went!! What a mother, I am so disappointed! Maybe another hen will take up where she left off, but it seems that we have an abandoned nest for now. I guess I will have to give in and buy day old chicks.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rain !!

Well here in the Midwest we were blessed with rain , lots of rain about 3 to 4 inches of rain in 24 hours. The
pasture was having a difficult time keeping up with all that moisture and formed several swamps throughout our 11 acres. The chickens don't seem to mind much they just had a ball gobbling up worms and bug stranded in puddles. We love having the chickens free range they make quick work of spreading cow patties and eating the fly larva. We started out last year with 175 chickens and soon the word was out to the local coyote population that they could come here and have a wonderful organic chicken dinner. Soon we were given the thumbs up for a great place to eat and the Raccoons, possums and other wildlife started dining on our chickens. This year we are doing things a bit different we have a new guard for the ladies and hope to close our organic chicken buffet. We bought some replacement chicks and I hope they last a bit longer than the others

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Brick, Stick and Straw

Well on our quest to raise all our food we ventured into the meat department. Last summer I went to a local Amish community and purchased three piglets weighing a total of about 50 pounds. We brought them home and started feeding them a diet of clabbered milk and some cracked corn. We let them into their new home, a 1/2 acre pasture, they grazed and did a great job of clearing the land for future use. My better half built them a perfect little pig hut so they could get out of the sun and rain. During the hottest part of the summer we got them a plastic kiddie pool and would fill that with water so they could cool down in the heat of the day. Now two of the three reside in our deep freeze in the garage, was it worth it ? YES we have 400 pounds of pasture raised all natural pork. The cost, 60.00 for the piglets, about 125.00 for feed and then 185.00 for a total of 360.00 for 400 pounds of meat. 400? Yep we did loose one to a genetic disorder. So now we have three more piglets this time bought at a small animal auction house I paid 5.00 a piece and they look great. Keep tuned for stories of "Breakfast" "Lunch" and "Dinner"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Introducing Lola the wonder cow

This is Lola the wonder cow, shse is a 5 year old Jersey cow. We hand milk her everyday and get about 5 gallons of beautiful rich milk. We get about one quart of cream to each gallon of milk. What do we do with all that milk and cream you ask? To start we skim the cream and make butter I'm not talking butter like you get in the store I'm talking the real thing, It takes me about 1/2 hour to make 2 1/2 pounds of all natural beautiful butter. I use the skim milk to make cheese, I love making cheese or I guess what I really like is eating the cheese. I have made about 15 types of cheeses. We sell some cheese but most of it gets used by us. Of course we also drink lots of milk with 5 kids we can go through a gallon a day. I get lots of odd looks from people when I say I have to get home to milk my cow ,it seems that not too many people do this, most think I'm a bit off my rocker for going through all that trouble to get milk, after all I can go to the market and purchase all the milk and dairy products to my hearts content. Well that is true but I can not get milk that is not full of growth hormones and other things that I don't want to feed to my precious children. I agree that having a milk cow is alot of work but well worth it.