Processing Day…

Yesterday we processed 20 of the 42 Cornish x chickens.  We ended up moving them over to my dad’s house about a month ago as he had more room to finish them in.  After 8 weeks of growing, our smallest bird yesterday was about 4 lbs and the largest was 8 1/2 lbs!   My dad kept asking Sawyer if he accidentally grabbed one of the laying hens!  Most of the birds where between 6 1/2 to 7  lbs…not too bad!

One big chicken!

One big chicken!

 

My dad and Sawyer started early yesterday morning getting all prepped up and getting the fire started to boil the water which was used for scalding the chickens.

The scalder- a metal garbage can set up on two block with a fire going underneath...

The scalder- a metal garbage can set up on two block with a fire going underneath...

 

We (the little boys, girls and myself) did not show up until later in the afternoon to do the wrapping but we didn’t miss all the fun!  Sawyer had the fun job of knocking heads off and helped in gutting them and dad scalded and plucked…

Here's dad after the beheading, gutting and scalding-getting ready to be plucked...

Here's dad after the beheading, gutting and scalding-getting ready to be plucked...

 

The plucker doing a fine job removing the feathers...

The plucker doing a fine job removing the feathers...

Dad said his rubber pants were a bit hot to wear all day yesterday!

Sawyer with the gizzards and hearts a real delicacy...

Sawyer with the gizzards and hearts a real delicacy...

 I’d say yum, but I really don’t think it’s all that yummy… at all.   However Sawyer  disagrees with me and enjoys the little tidbits!   8{  

Tori pulling another one out of the cooler...

Tori pulling another one out of the cooler...

A *new* rubber garbage can  was used as a cooler.  We ended up using milk jugs that had been filled with water and frozen to put in the *cooler*  to keep everything cold.

Tori did the finish work and picked out any remaining feathers...

Tori did the finish work and picked out any remaining feathers...

 

Boomer, my dads dog guarded the final product!

Boomer, my dads' dog, guarded the final product!

 

Chicken 2009, nice white packages...

Chicken 2009, nice white packages...

The little boys helped run the final packages down the stairs to the freezer.  Today the process begins again on the remaining chickens.  It’s so nice to have a freezer full of home grown chickens to feed us through the coming year!

Last night I also participated in a home canning class at the community college.  Last Thursday was the first class in which we learned how to water bath canning and we processed some nectarines.  Last night we learned how to use a pressure canner and processed some tomatoes.  The classes were so much fun and I feel more confident in using my pressure canner and can hardly wait to get started on processing more fruits and veggies!

Put up and ready to use later...

Put up and ready to use later...

 

And… we got our first duck egg this morning…

Our first duck egg out of our Indian Runner's...

Our first duck egg out of our Indian Runner's...

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We are headed out to pick up a new ram lamb for our flock!

 

Erin

In the garden…

P1050299

 

The strawberry plants are getting huge-o-mongous!

The strawberry plants are getting huge-o-mongous!

 It looks like we may have a bumper crop of strawberries on our ever-bearing plants…

The next batch of strawberries are looking promising...

The next batch of strawberries are looking promising...

and they’ve been busy making new little strawberry plants.  In between the rows are so thick that there is no room to walk!

The strawberries have been busy making runners too...

The strawberries have been busy making runners too...

 

We should have a bumper crop of corn too!

We should have a bumper crop of corn too!

 The corn is already to my shoulders and the tallest stalks are just starting to tassel out!

Garrett and Hayden in the corn...
Garrett and Hayden in the corn…

~*~

The kids showing off their baby carrots...

The kids showing off their baby carrots...

 

Zayne enjoying a carrot too...

My carrot top enjoying a carrot too...

 

Yesterday we picked two large colanders full of peas...

Yesterday we picked two large colanders full of peas...

 

We have also been enjoying lots of summer squash, zucchini and swiss chard!

We have also been enjoying lots of summer squash, zucchini and swiss chard!

New and Improved…

Do you remember this?….
Royal's Rampage...
Royal’s Rampage…
After much work and a different halter Royal is a different creature….
He walks like a poodle on a string...sort of!

He walks like a poodle on a string...sort of!

 ~*~

He needs to work a bit more on setting him up...

He needs to work a bit more on setting him up...

 

The fair is still three weeks away which should give him plenty of time to finish working on Royal.
Notice the smile?...

Notice the smile?...

 

 On Sunday Sawyer took him to the fair grounds to have his hooves trimmed and to get him weighed.  He weighed in at 1115 lbs so he will definitely make weight, which is a huge relief to all of us. :0)  Sawyer is now actually looking forward to fair!

Profusion of Purple…

We have a profusion of purple flowers popping up around here…

Delphiniums...

Delphiniums...

 

Hosta...

Hosta...

 

Pansy...

Pansy...

 

Fairy wands...

Fairy wands...

 

 

 

 

Radish blooms...

Radish blooms...

 

 

Volunteer Violas in my planter...

Volunteer Violas in my planter...

 

?

 

Oregano...

Oregano...

More Lavender...

More Lavender...

 

Eggplant...

Eggplant...

 

Not purple just floating around...

Not purple just floating around...

Some are not so desirable…

Spotted Knapweed aka sheep treats...

Spotted Knapweed aka sheep treats...

This is one of the first things the sheep eat when turned out on new pasture!

Thistle the bain of my garden...

Thistle ~the bane of the beans...

 

I’m afraid my beans may be lost to this invader-ugh!

 

Erin

Garden produce…

Our little garden here is just going crazy and we’ve been enjoying all the fresh goodies it has been producing.  One of our favorites here lately that uses up a variety of different veggies have been to put them in omelets…

Home grown ingredients...

Home grown ingredients...

This omelet had summer squash, zucchini, chocolate peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes…
They were sauteed up...

They were sauteed up...

They were sauteed up with a little bit of left over ham from our late pig …
Add some homegrown eggs...

Add some homegrown eggs...

 

The start to something yummy!

 

I did add some cheese, sorry no picture  as we ended up having company stop by and I felt a bit odd about taking pictures of the finished product, lol!  Anyhow it was deliciouso! While waiting for the eggs to cook through the veggies caramelize a bit and made it that much better.  One day for lunch I made a 14 egg omelet with some homemade hash browns for all us that turned out wonderful.  There is something deeply satisfying knowing that everything…or nearly everything, you are about to eat has travelled about 5 minutes away from the kitchen! 

Even the kids, after all they’re hard work in helping weed some of the garden, felt very proud in the fruits of their labors.  Knowing that they helped weed and mulch around the onion that we ate helps to keep them motivated in the garden.  They were even more excited in helping harvest some of the veggies.  The other night we harvested a nice bunch of broccoli and cauliflower that we later prepared for the freezer to save for this fall/winter for broccoli cauliflower cheddar soup.  They were all so excited the whole time knowing that later this year we would make their favorite soup with “stuff” that they helped pick and grow! 

Today they were busy picking peas, so I think we will steal some baby taters and have creamed peas and baby potatoes with maybe some deer steaks, biscuits and a big salad as we have lettuce galore and a bunch of tomatoes.

 

Erin

Sunday Serenity….

 
Cow elk in snow storm...
Cow elk in snow storm…
 
(Psa 18:30 ESV) – ….This God–his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

 

(Psa 18:31 ESV) – For who is God, but the Lord ? And who is a rock, except our God?–
(Psa 18:32 ESV) – the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.
(Psa 18:33 ESV) – He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
(Psa 18:34 ESV) – He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
(Psa 18:35 ESV) – You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
(Psa 18:36 ESV) – You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip…..

 

Happy :0) Birthday Beau…

I’d like to take a moment and wish a happy belated birthday to my little brother, Beau.  He is a Hot Shot on the Hungry Horse Fire Crew and out fighting wild land fires now, carefully I’d like to think anyway!   ;0)  I’m hoping this year is better than last year for Beau…

Newpaper article from last year...

Newpaper article from last year...

 

The article can be found here

 

Hay Production…

Here’s my hubby from the front page of  The Daily Interlake….

 

Dry conditions cut hay yields

/Daily Inter Lake By LYNNETTE HINTZE/

Daily Inter Lake Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:17 PM CDT

 Below-normal precipitation in the Flathead Valley took a toll on the first cutting of dryland hay with lower-than-normal yields. “Dryland hay was highly variable, from virtually none to about 1 1/2 tons per acre,” said Markus Braaten, a Kalispell field agronomist for CHS. Some West Valley farmers didn’t make a first cutting at all because of the poor yield. “On average, production is down from last year, with not much appreciable rain to push the yield on the first cut,” Braaten said. Irrigated hayland fared much better, with roughly 2 1/2 to 3 tons per acre. That’s still somewhat below the average of about 4 tons per acre. The heavy rainfall that produced up to 2 inches of precipitation in some areas of the Flathead on July 13 came too late to make a difference for the first cutting and in fact damaged a “fair portion” of hay that was down when the rain came, Braaten said. He advised buyers to check quality of hay that was rain-laden before it was harvested. Dryland hay harvest is still under way in the North Valley, where fields in the Voerman Road area were cut after the heavy rainfall. “There has been some insect pressure from weevils and hoppers’ throughout the valley, Braaten added. As for a second cutting, there may not be much of a harvest unless the valley gets some significant rainfall, he said. Last year, 33,700 tons of hay were harvested on 14,500 acres in Flathead County, with an average yield of 2.32 tons per acre. Irrigated hayland yielded an average of 3.32 tons per acre last year, while dryland hay was 1.8 tons per acre, according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service. In 2007, hay production was substantially higher in the Flathead, with 26,500 acres harvested and a total production of 67,000 tons. With reduced yields this year, prices could be higher, Braaten said. “With prices it’s hard to get folks to commit, but I’m hearing $130 to $150 per ton,” he said. “It could be a bit higher with the reduced yield.” Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by e-mail at lhintze@dailyinterlake.com Copyright © 2009 – Northwest Montana Daily Inter Lake

 

Markus...

Durkeys…

Turkey...

 

The turkeys have become big enough that they were set free from their captivity.  They roam through the pastures, and  garden and surprisingly enough not too often in the yard.  It has been a tad on the warm side here lately so I thought it was sort of funny to see turkeys turn duck the other evening…

Durkeys...

Durkeys...

 

 

Sitting on the sheep waterer...

Sitting on the sheep waterer...

 

reflecting...

 

We all thought it is was too funny to see the turkeys wading around in the stock tank like the ducks do in their pool.  After they left I peeked in the tank and they ended up leaving lots of little durkey droppings in the water…not so funny.  So after cleaning the tank and refilling it I was sort of worried about them returning and making another big mess but so far there hasn’t been any more durkey mess in the stock tank.  Yeah! 

Right now we have an abundance of grass hoppers and both the turkeys and ducks seem to be keen on eating them.

The Toulouse's out on pasture...

The Toulouse's out on pasture...

 

The geese have also proved to be good watch dogs, tending to the little ducks they grew up with.  So far we have not lost a single duck to predators.

Toulouse goose guarding the Indian Runner ducks...

Toulouse goose guarding the Indian Runner ducks...

 

Last year it was a bad year for ducks around here.  We ended up loosing 3/4the of our flock  in two nights to the fox.  The lone duck buddied up with the hens and eventually she turned up missing one day too.

Toulouse goose

 

The little kids do not like the geese anymore…at all!   The geese are nearly big enough to look them straight in the eye with a glaring little look that scares them to death.  Which makes the kids run and then the geese let loose and chase after them.  They don’t seem to bother any of us bigger people yet.  They even sorta bug me out when they start the stare down but it seems if you hold your ground and just keep going about your business they just leave you alone.   Hehe!  We’ll see…