Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PPPP Report Week 5

Back on schedule, happy Wednesday.  Welcome to the Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 5.

Week 4 concluded uneventfully.  No losses, everyone happy and growing.  Still no crowing... but I expect that will begin soon.

Feed bag #4 was opened last Friday, and I suspect #5 will be before the week is out.  Water is becoming a bit of an issue, though not a bad one.  Filling a gallon sized waterer 3 times a day is no hardship when you're already outside doing chores but it would definitely be better if we had a larger one.  Additional innovation may be forthcoming.  (continued)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Casting Iron

Seen some better days.
The old adage "they don't make them like they used to" gets thrown around a lot.  In my opinion the blame for that can be laid as much on our collective attitude towards our things as the construction or workmanship.  That and maybe just how much more "stuff" we surround ourselves with.  I'll have to think about that angle some more.

Manufactured obsolescence may exist (I know of more than a few cellphone manufacturers likely guilty of that) but there are still some things out there that seem to last and last and last.

Cast iron cookware is a good example. (continued)

Friday, July 25, 2014

PPPP Report Week 4

Served up fresh, one (slightly Postponed) Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 4.

Week 3 wrapped up with 51:24:8 prolifically peeping poultry.  In week 4 only a single broiler died, bringing us to a total of 50:24:8.  Not a mark on him, and no real insight into what happened.

They also have been holding boxing matches in the middle of the night.  While amusing to watch and not particularly harmful to each other the noises caused by such scuffles (did I mention it was the middle of the night) are enough to cut into my sleep and have resulted in more than a few trips out to the brooding pen to check on them. (continued)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Surprise Graduation

Now that's fresh.

In a moment of snap decision, and with the cost of a bit of deferred rest (otherwise already well deserved)  Big Tom went to freezer camp last night.  In our haste we neglected to weigh him, but I have little doubt he met my 50+ lbs. expectation.

It strikes me that "Big Tom Went to Freezer Camp" sounds like the title of a children's book.  While processing poultry is a topic which would be considered by many to be a little macabre for today's children it might be all the more needed for that fact. Maybe I'll find time to write it.  There you go, I dibs'd that book idea here first, folks.

No strangers to home processing of poultry I still think this amounted to several firsts for Mrs. Farmer and I:  getting started after 9 p.m. it was quite dark for one,  deciding it was time to get the job done within an hour of actually doing so was another, processing and piecing out a turkey a full 9 months after his original slated "date with destiny" marks a third.

Not meaning to put it off for so long in the first place was a significant bit of the decision making once we started discussing it.

Given time I would probably come up with other novel bits from tonight's activities, but I am spent, and tired, and my goal to get this post written and scheduled to post on time rather than scrambling to put something together in the morning has only extended my eventual rest that much farther into the night.  I apologize for the short post, the lack of quality photos, and for the lack of the usual Wednesday P.P.P.P. report.  If time allows I will attempt to have it ready for your enjoyment tomorrow but if not tomorrow it will be forthcoming, and soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Callosamia Promethea

Uh... whazzhat?
"Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life."
- Marcus Aurelius

Observation is a funny thing. No, not "funny, ha ha" more like funny strange.  Most of the time people think they are being quite observant, and most of the time they are wrong.  Humans seem to have an incredible capacity for self deception which is really only underscored by the fact that we seem to think we are observing anything while rifling through a purse, driving down the road, or playing on a cellphone.  (continued)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meet the Bacon

May 23rd, three shy lads.
They would only run away unless I bribed them.
Every year we add something new. Well, usually several new projects but we try to limit the biggest, scariest, most costly or most intimidating projects to one per year.  For 2014 it is bacon.  Or pigs, depending on how you want to keep track of the semantics.

I've been told before that "lots" of people keep and raise poultry but you aren't "really farming" until you have "real" livestock.  This stipulation apparently then only includes the likes of pigs, horses, or cows.  I'm not entirely sure I agree, as raising (and handling, and butchering) 60+ lbs. live weight turkeys sure feels like "real farming" to me but even based on this extremely limited view of farming as of this year we are, in fact, playing with the big boys.

...And they are certainly shaping up to be BIG. (continued)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

PPPP Report Week 3

Climbing and exploring.  Everywhere.
Another week, another Wednesday.
Time for your Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 3. 

After being able to report that everyone survived week 2 I'm sorry to say that this week we were not so lucky.  Even with two heat lamps it appears that the night we dipped into the low 50s was too much for two of the layers and one of the broilers.  It's especially hard in cases like these because while they all survived the night, the following day those three just gave up.  Checking up on them every few hours and going from "everyone happy" to "oops, there are 3 casualties" is shocking, and leaves one with an unrequited urge to provide care. Not that babying an ill bird usually helps, but it helps a little when you can tell yourself "you tried", even though I know that's usually me just trying to fool myself. (continued)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh Salad

Some folks think that animals don't have feelings, or if they do they are simple ones like fear and pain.

I think those folks need to see just how happy a few square feet of fresh grass and weeds makes the peepers.  I don't even have to offer them dressing for their new salad, they will attack it with gusto.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

PPPP Report Week 2

Wednesday is here! Now begins the Promised Pastured Peeper Progress Report, week 2.

Everyone is doing well, all nuggets accounted for, at least since last week.  The turf currently occupied by the brooder pen may last another week before they have really mucked it up but I think we'll probably move it this weekend.

Another landmark occurred today, we officially exhausted our first bag of feed.  No doubt most of that was consumed in week 2 but for sake of argument 50 lbs over 2 weeks for 50 broilers 25 layers and 10(now 8) turkeys is real good.  When it's two bags a week later on.... well we'll talk about that later.  (continued)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Never rains but it pours.

Here in New England droughts are rare and a dry spell is downright damp compared to other parts of the United States.  That hot "dry" day with 80% humidity is hardly dry in absolute terms and the plants, soil, and I (especially I), notice.  Nothing quire like sticking to everything you touch and feeling like you are underwater.  But I digress.

Mostly this leads people to not think about water at all, even to take it for granted.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

...and bleed and bleed and bleed.

Buckwheat volunteers -
Tall as the mulberry (almost)
A two season story by itself.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Once upon a time there was a person who wanted a thing.  After deciding to overcome obstacles and objections, facing down an adversary or several and achieving their goal (and reaping rich reward) they lived happily ever after.

Sounds pretty terrible right?  There's no information about 'who' so we can choose to love them or hate them, no details about why so we can decide if they are 'good' or 'bad', no 7th son of the king with no prospects, no simpering princess waiting for her emergency "rescue marriage", no faerie godmother, no goofy sidekick, no musical number, no evil stepmother, no magic... no story.  Maybe if we knew what the protagonist's goal was or what kind of adversary stood in the way?  Maybe the story isn't about whether it is a prince or a princess, not about the once upon a time or the happily ever after? Maybe it's the details that are important, the difference literally between a hackneyed formulaic cliche and an engaging narrative?  No maybe about it, I think. (continued)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Meet the Leftovers

The triumphant trio, the remaining few, the lucky living.  Whatever I call them, these three were slated for freezer camp long ago.

We've raised broad breasted whites like these for the last 2 years. 2014 will actually be year number 3 and every year so far I've said we won't raise them again, but there's something pretty awesome about getting 25lbs. of turkey breast from a single bird.

It may be hard to tell from these pictures, but these are monstrous birds. That's easily 120lbs of turkey "on the hoof".  The hens will dress out between 20 and 30 lbs each and I would be very surprised if the Tom was less than 50 lbs. Fifty. Pounds. Five-oh.

That's "will not fit in your normal-sized oven" level monstrous. (continued)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Meet the peeps!

Chickens on the grass
Chicks, peeps, peepers, babies, fuzzy-butts... nuggets.
I'll be introducing you to all the animals here eventually, but I thought since I teased with a picture of the "hot wings" yesterday I would stick with them for now.

We don't name our animals (mostly) and if you've ever tried to keep 50+ poultry still for long enough to assign names (or even, say, count them) you'll understand that is as much from necessity as anything else.

Yeah, I call them nuggets, though there isn't much more than a mouthful to them yet. (continued)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mix Pack Wings
Hot wings variety pack.  Some assembly required.
It's that time of year again.  Time to start the train that will end this fall with BBQ and buffalo sauce. 

It's not a stretch to go from chickens to hot wings but it does remind me a lot of the 4 variety multipack of boneless wings from The Hangar that was a frequent feature in the dorm at UMASS... now I'm hungry.

Sadly for me I'll have to wait 12 weeks before these boys are ready for the stove top and freezer.  The anticipation does improve the flavor I think, or maybe that's just the sunshine and pasture.

This year literally in this cardboard case, there are 52 Red Ranger broilers (male) and 26 Barred Rocks layers (female).