Monday, August 29, 2011

Pictures from today

 I took some pictures today, I don't have a ton to report so I'll let the pictures and captions tell it.

Love finding a Praying Mantis of this size in the garden

Mammoth sunflowers

new radish seedlings

This is "One Eye" Willy, he's a silver leghorn...he's in a cage because "The Dude" would kill him.

Broody hen day #3 out of what 21

Broad breasted Turkey hens at 20 weeks old

Broad breasted white Tom, 20 weeks
a face only a mother.....who am I kidding, I can't wait to have him for dinner

One of our original "mutt" hens.  (off to the side is a curious turkey inspecting my camera)

My handsome boy!

Our pullets, now 20 weeks.  The two in the back are Blue Andalusians, the front is a Buff Orphington

My son just loves these girls, they almost let him touch them

Our latest trick to get the older girls to lay in the same place all the time....wooden eggs from Hobby Lobby.  Its working!!

 Our feed organization system.  The upper two are sunflower seeds and cracked corn.  The two below them are chick starter and layer feed.  The two off to the right are dairy goat feed and alfalfa pellet.  In the shelf above those I keep bags of loose minerals, baking soda, kelp and diamond x yeast

York, looking over the gate as usual

see that farm in the back there?  I just love seeing the sunset over that farm.  It'd be nice if I didn't have to see our torn up yard (septic field replacement) to look at it.

"The Dude" our White Wyandotte flock rooster

Bruce the African goose, our flock guardian

Kissee loves apples, so does my son

Our cayuga crested drake and unknown crested gray drake

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eating from the Garden

I have a pretty green thumb, I can grow most anything really....I'm not bragging I promise.  I don't know why I can.  One of the results of this is lots of garden goodies to eat.  One thing I'm not so great at is using all the things that come from my garden efficiently.  I'm working on it.

Right now in our garden we have green beans coming in fast, also swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, a few green bell peppers, cranberry red potatoes, squash, and watermelons.  Its heavenly, until I have it stacked everywhere in my kitchen trying to decide what to make of it all.  Anything less than perfect is easy to figure out what to do with- chickens!  This year was a small garden so I really need to get my act together because I'm planning a very large couple of gardens next year so I can do more canning.

So a couple of lovely dishes we eat pretty regularly in the summer are simple ones.  Like the blend of pasta sprinkle (Penzeys), cherry tomatoes, pasta and olive oil with grated Parmesan cheese.  Or the crockpot of green beans, potatoes, onions, broth and smoked sausage. I'm sure these dishes have names but I don't know them.  Maybe someone will eventually tell me.  Most recipes I use aren't really mine but the result of doing a google search for whatever veggie I have on hand in abundance.  Recently it was chard- my search gave me this: Swiss Chard with Garbanzo beans and fresh tomatoes.  It was delicious and I think I'll try to post some links when we find a good recipe. 

In other news, I'm going back to my fertility doctor next month to start getting serious about treating this PCOS.  Pardon my lack of enthusiasm.  I think I've come to the conclusion that I really would like to have another baby and also the PCOS seems to be taking some affects on my health.  I've gained weight and I'm tired a lot, my periods are on time but out of order (going by "signs" of ovulation- I'm not ovulating) and I'm having muscle spasms daily and nightly.  So, I guess I'm all out of whack.  My recent bloodwork showed my cholesterol is on the high side, although none of my numbers are really scary my doctor would like me to go on a low fat/low cholesterol diet.  I have a feeling though that if I treat the PCOS that my cholesterol numbers will fall into line on their own.  I've read the book "Nourishing Traditions", which if you've read it you know that they put a lot of emphasis on good fats and it runs completely against everything my doctor will tell me.  Now, just because I've read NT doesn't mean I'm sold on the ideas, nor do I think its an excuse to eat a lot of fat (which I think is an easy interpretation to make).  I also don't regularly soak my grains or any of that nonsense- I understand the concept but I think the so called "anti-nutrients" do some good things too, like chelating heavy metals from  your body.   

Anyhow, I suppose my PCOS diet will probably keep me away from eating most sweets and breads and put me closer to eating a Primal/Atkins style diet.  I do plan to continue drinking our goat milk no matter what they say and I'm not giving up my eggs either.  Both are incredibly bio-available protein sources and for us they are our most plentiful source of protein along with chicken and turkey.  I think its going to be hard to resist breads especially since my son and husband love my home baked bread and I make beautiful breads.  Getting rid of sugar will be hard too, I have a terrible sweet tooth.  I think as long as I can keep fruit in my diet (unsweetened of course) I'll survive it but if they take away fruit, I might just break down and cry.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Matchmaker, matchmaker...make me a match!

I'm trying to find a one night stand for my goat.  Do you know how crazy this can make a person?  I have two choices in bucks, they are both of good stock and I think I have my pick.  Now enter dilemma of the possibility of bringing home second bred doe.  Now I have to find two matches, or match them to the same.  So my thought is to have them each bred to a different buck, so if they each have a buckling I can breed each other's buckling to the other doe next year.  Then I can put off trying to find a buck next summer. 

You see the problem with keeping a dairy goat is, that you have to keep breeding her if you want to continue the milk supply.  I could just breed her to any old buck if I was going for just milk but we are also hoping for meat to come of this breeding and maybe a doeling to raise for additional milk and meat.  Can you see how this can become an addiction fast! 

I think what we have to do is look at the long term picture and figure out just what we want.  Eventually, I think we'd like to have 4 does in milk total to cover our milk and cheese needs plus feed goat kids as they are born.  After a while, we'd probably want to keep a buck to breed our does to every year.  So 5 goats year round, with burst of goat kids in the spring.  If each doe has twins (common in goats) then we are talking as few as 13 and as many as 17 goats in the spring.  Boy, I hope we end up liking goat meat!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Viewers be advised- Dressed bird pics

This post will include pictures of roosters that we killed literally today.  Nothing more gory than what you see at the store.  Some of these guys I was really impressed with and some not.  We finished 14 between Thursday and today so we've been busy....that and we are really slow at it. 
New Hampshire Red (over scalded)
Rhode Island Red
Barred Rock

speckled sussex
dark cornish
All of these birds are just over 16 weeks old, most of them ranged from 3-4lbs dressed out like this.  We were most impressed with the meatiness of the Dark Cornish, Turken, Hampshire Red, and the Rocks (both Barred and Partridge).  Now the Partridge rocks looked awful once plucked.  You really can't get all those blackish pinfeathers out and it just makes it look bad.  Same with most of the dark birds.  The prettiest dressed birds were the Turken, Hampshire and Speckled.  The Turken has really tough thick skin but was very very easy to pluck. We grilled one along with a Barred Rock after butchering and I don't remember noticing a difference but then again I don't eat skin.

All of these birds had very little breast meat.  Most of the meat was in the thighs with the exception of the Cornish, Turken and Hampshire....they appeared to have more breast meat.  They are a sharp contrast to Cornish X birds you see in the grocery, I can see why people prefer a Cornish X.  I think we may try to raise a few next year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm going to post chicken pictures soon

I have to find my camera battery but I'm going to see about taking pictures of the finished birds, partly for reference since we plan to raise meat birds next year.  I hope I don't gross anyone out :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Have you read this? Rawesome Raid

The states position
The raw advocates position

If you recall Rawesome last year was raided for illegally selling raw milk and dairy products.  What do you know its happened again.  So the Raw foodies are all in an uproar as are many other groups.  If you've read my blog for a while you know I'm not a raw milk junkie.  I pasteurize our milk when we have guests or if I'm making cheese and pretty much did it for all of our drinking milk until recently.  Mostly I switched out of laziness, not out of a health reason. 

So back to the events at hand.  Here is how I feel about it.  You would think that after last years raids, Rawesome would have gotten a clue and gotten a proper business license.  You might also think that someone would get smart and find a licensed dairy for selling raw milk.  Alas no, they set themselves up for this disaster by not taking those wise precautionary measures and now, big surprise, they are once again in the spotlight.  I'm not saying these raids are right either.  Surely it doesn't take a SWAT team with guns drawn to handle a situation like this.  It probably doesn't take a stay in jail either.  My guess is that those measures are being taken to send a very LOUD message. 

Here's what I don't get though.  In California, raw milk is legal.  This is the legal summary:
Sales of raw milk and raw milk products are legal both in stores and on the farm. In order for raw milk to be sold legally, it must be 'market milk. 'This is milk that meets the standards provided in the Milk and Milk Products Act of 1947.
Under the Act, market milk is graded and designated into three classes:'certified milk,' 'guaranteed milk,' and 'Grade A milk. 'Of the three classes, only Grade A raw milk is available for sale today in California. The standards for guaranteed raw milk to be market milk are more stringent than those for Grade A raw milk. While the Milk and Milk Products Act calls for county milk commissions to set the standards for certified raw milk, not a single county milk commission still exists.
Raw milk dairy farmers need market milk permits in order to produce their product. In addition, any person engaged in an aspect of the milk business that falls under the statutory definition of milk products plant must obtain a milk products plant license. There is an exemption from the license requirement, however, for "any producer whose business consists exclusively of producing and distributing raw market milk produced by such producer."
Raw milk and most raw milk products require warning labels. Municipalities and counties in the state have the power to establish compulsory pasteurization laws but only Humboldt County has done so.
Here's a link for additional details.  The dairy, Healthy Family Farm, does not hold the appropriate license according to the state.  

In my state of Indiana, raw milk is not legal for sale.  Milk shares are a non-pursued gray area.  Raw cheese must be aged over 90 days.  So these folks have a legal way to sell raw milk and you can't convince me that they don't know the legal route to this.  I mean COME ON!  They were trying to exploit a loophole that backfired and now they are suffering the consequences.  Pardon my lack of compassion on this one.

The only thing to be really angry about here is that the raid cost the taxpayers a lot of money, the accused were said to have not read their Miranda rights and the warrant was MIA.  You want to be mad, that's where you should be mad.  I truely believe that if these folks had all their ducks in a row they wouldn't be dealing with this.

While I'm not a raw milk junkie, I do believe that the stuff shouldn't be illegal.  I believe it should be available through licensed inspected dairy with proper facilities to ensure a quality product.   I believe it should carry a warning label, we are talking about a fluid that comes from an animal that stomps happily in its own dung....there is an inherent risk of contamination.