Little steps towards self-sufficiency

I got a call at the last minute yesterday from the Amish woman that I had been talking to about chicken butchering.  Because it had been so wet, they couldn’t work in the fields so they were going to slaughter some chickens and I was invited to come out.  I had to go to Hickory anyway, so I went outside and hustled to get my chores done.

Well, Poncho, the psycho-bull had different plans.  Not only did he have both water barrels tipped over and out in the middle of the pasture, but he tore down part of the fence.  I quickly contacted the people I was supposed to meet in Hickory to postpone and proceeded to get the fence fixed as best I could.

I made it to the Amish farm around 10:30 and they were already well on their way with chicken butchering.  I helped as best I could, but some of the birds did not have their food take away the day before so their crops (A crop’s main function is to store food so with a Cornish X, there’s lots of food stored.) were full and I didn’t want to risk opening them and spoiling the meat so I did the more simple tasks: removing the feet, wing tips, left over feathers and scent gland.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day with them and hope I’m able to go back in a few weeks so we can do some of the young roosters I have here.

If I am not invited back, however, I feel like I can do it.  In fact, I noticed one of the young Araucana roosters harassing one of my Buff Bantam hens this morning.  I’m not going to put up with too much more of that and will start to catch the suckers and pick a morning to do them.  Need to get a propane turkey fryer to do the scalding.

Meanwhile, I’ve had to kill a couple of young rabbits that succumbed to bloat.  I used the so-called broomstick method which entails putting a broomstick (or in my case a piece of rebar) over the rabbit’s neck and then quickly pulling up on the rear legs.  This results in cervical dislocation and, I believe, instant death.  I had to do one this morning and now, I feel like I can do it on a regular basis.  There are a couple of American Chinchillas ready to be butchered in one tractor so I’ll probably do them Thursday or Friday this week.

I haven’t heard from the soap ladies so I don’t know if we are going to get together or not this week.  It doesn’t matter too much at this point because I have a lot to get done this week.

Poncho, the psycho-bull is slated to go to the processor on June 4.  I pushed the goats up to July 16 which will probably work better as they’ll be larger.  Unfortunately, we cannot get our farm name on the meat label.  It costs $100 to have that set up.  Too much money for this small farm.

My friend Cynthia left me a bunch of sunchokes to plant.  Wally is going to bring home a tiller and we are going to till up the area behind the house that we formerly had two beds.  I’ll plant them there.  Sunchokes (as known as Jerusalem Artichokes) make great fodder for rabbits, goats, etc.  Plus they are pretty good to eat.  They look a bit like sunflowers.  Hopefully they won’t get so tall as to block the view from the bedroom window.

I best get out to milk.

Until later …