Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Our Foul Little Farm, Dreaming of Chicken Dinners and a Barn Update


The above Monarch butterfly has nothing to do with this post. I'm just showing off because after a week of trying to get close enough for a photo the bugger finally let me close enough for this one today. It is amazing what these little cell phone cameras can do. I take all my photos on my Motorola Droid.

Now, onto birds. Our duck population blossomed nicely this summer. Several mama's hatched out babies and managed to keep them out of the pig pen where they can be quickly consumed as feathered hors d'oeuvres. I hate how much ducks poop but I love their gentle nature and good looks. We'll be decreasing the population dramatically when we sell thirty or so to a fellow who takes them up to China Town in Chicago to sell to the restaurant trade. He says they love muscovy the best and since he pays us by the pound, and the ducks are quite fat, we'll all have a bit of extra Christmas money soon. We'll also butcher a few for ourselves to supplement our freezer chicken.


 In the photo above the old decrepit house is on the left and the current milking shed for Liz is on the right. When our barn is completed, both of those buildings will disappear. Not overnight (I wish) but over time as we'll use good amounts of the wood floors in the decrepit house to build the loft floor in our new barn.





Speaking of which, we're making steady progress on this beast of a building. Keith took a few days of vacation time last week , as did our son Jason,  and so with a five day stretch of fairly unlimited time we were able to put up all the trusses. This week Keith plugged away at the rafters and supporting boards and very soon, we'll start attaching steel panels to the roof. The skeleton of the barn is nearly complete,


 Now, back to birds. Our chickens were also prolific this year gifting us with many new chicks. We'll sell older hens and roosters to the same guy buying our ducks and thus decrease our chicken populations by half or more. The timing is good because they all produce more eggs than we can eat or have room to freeze. Plus in just s few short weeks the flies will be dying off and we won't need so many birds for bug control.





The kiddie pool above is primarily a place for the ducks to splash but whenever I replace the water all the fowl get in on the act.  It's been very hot and dry here for several weeks as storms roll through and spit on us but leave very little real precipitation. It seems all I do is water livestock and then water them again.


 These are our broiler chicks above penned in with electric fencing. We started with 31 broiler chicks but we're down to 28. I think a hawk or two might have picked up the other three when they were quite small. Our Great Pyrenees  does an excellent job of warding off coyotes and hawks but she is only one guard dog. She can't be everywhere, she likes to reminds me.

We ate our last broiler from the 2016  group about 6 weeks ago, so we are dying for more pasture raised chicken. With the 28 we have that means we can have chicken every other week. We'd love to eat it more often but knew we wouldn't have the time to butcher that many this fall what with the barn building. We'll have to console ourselves with the pork that went to the locker 7 days ago and the beef that goes in in about three weeks.

Don't cry for us Argentina.







14 comments:

  1. Hi Donna :) Your foul friends are lovely, you have so many! And what an endeavor to build that barn, my gosh it looks so complicated to me...I'm so happy to read about your progress! That butterfly photos is great! I hope you're having a nice end of summer! :)

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    1. Our birds reproduce well because our Great Pyrenees, Fannie does such an excellent job keeping predators at bay. She's such a gem.

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  2. This is so funny, I just posted a picture of a monarch on a pink zinnia a couple of days ago!.
    Good work with the duck buyer, that would be wonderful to have a buyer for ducks. Never had a muscovy but they're supposed to be like steak.
    My husband wanted to know if you had soap for sale?

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    1. We did sell about 20 of our ducks a few days ago. Most will go to the restaurant market in Chicago's China Town. Gave us extra cash and many less mouths to feed this winter.

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  3. The barn looks great; well done those men.

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    1. They have done a fabulous job and I have managed not to drop any trusses or cross beams on any of them when I'm out helping. Success all the way around!

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  4. Having eaten all the most delectable cuts & down to just hams & a bit of bacon we are eating sparingly, I'm looking forward to the next hog slaughter. In the meantime, hare & eggs are on the menu here.

    We recently tried duck - I found it sour tasting, Mr Shoes tasted smoke. The chef insisted it was perfectly fine - I don't know. We figure we will try duck one more time, but if it isn't any better than the 2 thin slices of breast for $16 that we paid at that fancy restaurant, then we'll give up on that.

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    1. I've eaten restaurant duck and liked it very much but have yet to cook it myself. We'll be putting a few in the freezer soon so we will see. I hope my chef daughter-in-law will help me but being she is almost 9 months pregnant with their first child, I may be on my own!

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  5. Looks like a lot of progress on the barn since I was last here, Donna. I have fallen behind in blog reading and posting but have enjoyed a mid-morning catch-up today. Roast duck is a favorite of Grenville's so he would be glad to know the restaurants will profit by your sales.

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    1. Me too, way behind on blogging, reading blogs, commenting on blogs. Yikes! But I'm heading over to some of my favorites soon. Need to get back in the loop.

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  6. The barn is looking great, it wont be long before it's all finished and you will have to come up with another scheme! All our table birds are in the freezer a few less mouths to feed. Love the photo of the Monarch butterfly.

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    1. Thanks, I like the photo too. Maybe I'll actually get a print of it made and framed for my house! Doubt it.

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  7. After reading this post and getting to the last line, Donna, I wanted to add that you were "livn' high on the hog" but then there weren't any pigs mentioned, just chickens and ducks. That certainly will be quite an impressive looking barn when it's done.

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    1. Pork is back and in our freezers. Keith and I gorged on bacon at lunch and I made myself pork chops for supper. For breakfast I am thinking of bacon wrapped sausage on a bed of cured ham steaks!

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