Monday, May 17, 2010

There is meat in the freezer.

On Saturday we butchered 7 hens and a rooster. These 7 hens are from our old flock and they range in age from 3 1/2 years to 1 1/2 years. It had been awhile since we butchered and even though I had don it before I needed to reacquaint myself with the procedure. By the last couple birds I think I was completing the process in under 30 minutes. We still have nearly 30 to do and I am hoping the next Saturday I'll be able to double the number we process.
It feels good to be able to put meat in the freezer like that.
Sorry I didn't take pictures. My hands were too messy.

Bringing It To The Table

I haven't read any Wendall Berry except a tid bit now and again. James has read a lot, but I just haven't had time, nor the interest to create the time. But Wendall Berry had a new book come out just last year titled, "Bringing It To The Table". It peaked my interest and so I checked it out at the library. If you aren't familiar with Wendall Berry his books are compilations of essays that he has written over the years and all fit under the heading of what becomes the title of the book. Some of the essays in this book are from the 70's, some from early 2000's. There is one that I found very interesting and wanted to share. Sorry for it's length, I'll try not to tye out the whole thing.

Stupidity in Concentration (2002)
I. Confinement, Concentration, Separation
My task here is to show the great stupidity of industrial animal production. Factory farms, like this essay, have the aim of cramming as much as possible into as small a space as possible. To understand these animal factories, we need to keep in mind three principles: confinement, concentration, and separation.
The principle of confinement in so called animal science is derived from the industrial version of efficiency. The designers of animal factories appear to have had in mind the example of concentration camps or prisons, the aim of which is to house and feed the greatest number in the smallest space at the least expense of money, labor, and attention. To subject innocent creatures to such treatment has long been recognized as heartless. Animal factories make an economic virtue of heartlessness toward domestic animals, to which humans owe instead a large debt of respect and gratitude.
The defenders of animal factores typically assume, or wish others to assume, that these facilities concentrate animals only. But that is not so. They also concentrate the excrement of the animals--to which, when properly dispersed, is a valuable source of fertility, but, when concentrated, is at best a waste, at worst a poison.
Perhaps even more dangerous is the inevitability that large concentrations of animals will invite concentrations of disease organisms, which in turn require concentrated and continuous use of antibiotics. And here the issue enlarges beyond the ecological problem to what some scientists think of as an evolutionary problem: The animal factory becomes a breeding ground for treatment-resistant pathogens, exactly as large field monoculture become breeding grounds for pesticide-resistant pests.

I won't write more. It's too long but you get a glimpse. The essay is truly well written and the book GREAT. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Most of the Garden is in!

I have one more bed that has space and I'm trying to decide exactly what I want in it. I also am waiting to get the tomatoes and peppers in. Yes, I want to try again. They are such a longed for garden fruit that I cannot give up. If you've ever grown tomatoes with any success, you know what I mean. I'm going to buy starts in a week or so from the farmer's market and plant them under little tents.

Here is what I've got in:


snow peas


leaf lettuce





bush beans

pole beans

slicing cucumber

pickling cucumber

lemon cucumber








Each of the 3 older children have their own little plot. Joseph just wanted to help me with all of mine.

Now if I can just get them to grow. For some reason I really struggle with getting greens to grow. I don't know what I could be doing wrong. I've heard this is the best climate for growing these things and we use them ALL the time. I sure would like to be able to grow my own spinach and lettuce! I've just started to saute greens with onion and mushrooms on a regular basis and would love to start growing such things as kale, arugula and collard greens. But I'm not having much luck. Argh! I planted spinach, lettuce and kale at the end of March and I should be picking it now I would think but it just hasn't done much. It's up but oh so small yet. Any advice! I really want to grow my own salads, and year round would be nice!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garden ready to go

It is May 4th and we woke up to frost! Yuck! But thankfully all is well in the garden. Over the last week I've worked really hard getting the beds all ready. I doubled the size of my garden beds this year from 6 to 12! I'm really excited. I have greens coming up now, plus peas and radishes. I hope this cold spell (to last a couple nights) won't slow things down too much.Here are the blueberries blooming!

And my one lone chive plant.

I love spring but am really looking forward to summer!!!