May 23, 2010

Independence Days Challenge: May 16 - 22

1. Plant something
  • fennel
  • dill
  • garlic
  • yellow straightneck summer squash
2. Harvest something -
  • radishes
  • Swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • peas
3. Preserve something - nothing this week

4. Waste Not
  • gathering in our own hay
  • line drying clothes, weather permitting
5. Want Not
  • now that we have manure for making compost, we starting crank it out a little faster
  • bulk order for pasture raised meat from a local farm coop
  • culled & processed 6 of our extra cockerels
  • scraps to the chickens & compost
6. Build Community Food Systems – just this post

7. Eat the Food
  • homestead garden salads
  • steamed Swiss chard
  • lettuce on sandwiches
  • 1st homestead raised roasted chicken
  • dried squash - substituted it in my favorite green bean recipe. We didn't like it reconstituted as well as we like it fresh or frozen

Independence Days Challenge: May 16 - 22 copyright May 2010 by Leigh at


Katrien said...

How do you cull the cockerels? How do you kill them?
When I tell people that I want chickens (next year? this Fall?), the first thing they ask is: "Are you going to kill them?" At first I said no, but now I say yes. I just had to get used to the thought. Once they're here, I'll have to get used to actually doing it too...
Love the stories! What comic relief!

Leigh said...

Katrien, yes, we've been butchering them for the meat. It's what we said we would do from the beginning, but it has really been so much more than a simple intellectual decision. It's funny because eating chicken is something mankind has done for millennia, but modern American culture is so far removed from not only this, but our food sources in general, so that was quite the experience. In other words, we've had our emotional ups and downs.

We bought a killing cone, and Dan slit their throats. There are several fairly good websites for this - this one from Backyard Chicken Forum (with photos, be forewarned they're graphic but helpful.) Also one of Herrick Kimball's blogs, How to Butcher a Chicken. The last one tells you how to kill and skin a chicken (rather than pluck it). Backwoods Home Magazine. This way seems to waste more meat, but is quicker in terms of the entire process.

One 1st timers advice to another? 1-Don't name them; 2 - keep reminding yourself they are to eat; 3 - get a breed that colors out all the same (helps not seeing them as individuals.) 4 - expect it to be a learning process. Chances are things may not go as well as desired with the first one. I say that because neither one of us wanted to do it again after that first one, but we have too many roosters so we forged ahead. Now Dan is talking about possibly ordering and raising a meat breed next year. It's a learning curve in terms of both skills and emotions!

We got dual purpose, but they aren't as meaty as meat breed types. Even at 3.5 months of age they dressed out looking pretty scrawny and the meat is chewy. However, we wanted good laying hens, so this is the route we took. Even so, they taste like chicken and we know where the meat came from!

Katrien said...

Thanks Leigh for the tips!

I don't think DH would be up for it. Not that he's the emotional type, but that it is something he never thought he'd be doing.

Amie will definitely want to name them, and cuddle with them, but I believe we've raised her so (so far) that she will accept their showing up on the dinner table. That said, let's see...

We'll also get layers. Personally, since my pregnancy I hate the smell of chicken: it's a purely biological thing my body does (before, chicken was the only meat I ate - I also loathed coffee, but my first sign of pregnancy was my craving for it!). We all love eggs, though.

We'll take it slow. I'll be sure to come visit this entry again.