Thursday, June 26, 2014

the Root Harvest has begun

Due to circumstances beyond our control and a boring long story, we are expecting a harvest much smaller than we originally anticipated, but the beginnings sure look (and smell) fabulous!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Butchering Day

This is not a how-to on butchering, friends, but I have a few bloodless pictures to include.

cooling carcasses
Yesterday was a long day of processing 53 chickens (including a mean year-old rooster).  I didn't help with the actual butchering as I probably would have vomited all over the chickens in my pregnant state, but I was support staff.  I brought ice, cleavers, bird scissors, more ice, etc., to James and the friends assisting us.  I supervised kids and prepared lunch.
the mean old rooster
We discovered, after the fact, that only James removed the crop from his chickens, so I will be doing crop removal surgery before cooking any of our chickens.  Sigh.

We will probably only raise chickens in smaller batches, as 50+ was simply too many at once.  We also figured we have about an 11% mortality rate as we raised them! which is less than half what we were expecting from reading about raising Cornish X.  Our average weight was 5.4 lbs, which was a little lower than I was hoping, but pretty good according to everyone I told.  What do I really know, anyway?

Chicken pluckers are awesome.  We need at least two pots of hot water going, one for plucking and one for shrink wrapping the chickens.  Our friend Myle is an eviscerating machine.

I did help with cleanup after everyone else had gone home, and I think James and I did a pretty fine job gathering trash, disinfecting tables and so on, and returning the area under the trees into a less bloody, less muddy place.
the kids declined any interest in butchering
The coyotes were active last night, no doubt picking up the scent of blood wafting from a specific corner of our property.

Turkeys... spared until the fall
I'm still wiped out from being on my feet so much yesterday, so this slightly disjointed post is all you're getting for now.  Enjoy!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, June 20, 2014


It was time to purge the freezer in preparation for chicken butchering next week, so all the strawberries awaiting canning met the fire today.
27 jelly jars, both 8 ounce and 4 ounce, are now filled with all manner of sweetness.  There's a beautiful mulberry jelly and a fabulous strawberry rhubarb jam.  I also whipped out a lemony strawberry jam and something called maple strawberry smooch.  The smooch is a strawberry syrup and my mom declared it great as she washed dishes for me (over and over.  Canning four different batches results in lots of dishes.)

I'm relieve to have this out of the way, as I probably won't can again until it's tomato time.  There will be something made of blueberries but I haven't decided which recipe to use yet!  Blueberry picking is still a few weeks away.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Life in Pictures

Blueberries for pots
Ripe blueberries

First zucchini

Okra (and weeds)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Update, of sorts

While I do manage to take pictures of YJ acres and Purgatory Ranch, making time for the computer is not something I have managed lately, so this is a picture-less post!

After a series of mini-disasters, we are finally back on track with our food production.  Strawberries are winding down, mulberries are flourishing, potatoes recovered nicely from the killer frost, and onions are bulbing up nicely.  The zucchini is coming along nicely, and in spite of the weeds, everything else is flourishing too.  We did install our new watering system, which has helped immensely, and God has blessed us with almost 4" of rain in the last two weeks.

We have delayed attending a farmer's market, but have plans in two weeks to make our first foray into a booth.  I'm crazy nervous, as people are not my "thing."

Meat chicken slaughtering has been delayed as I slowed our feed to keep them from dying of heart attacks.  Hopefully, we will enjoy a feast the week of the 22nd.

I had a close encounter with poison ivy, but the contact was pretty mild given my past experiences.

Our past blessed our house and fields, and it was a beautiful rite of blessing.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.