Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How To: Oven Pickles

Ugly oven, shiny pickles.
More about pickles? Yes, more pickles.  Batch style pickles are good for the end of the season as your supply begins to wind down.  If you have made your batch of real pickles you should have enough pickles to satisfy for now, these ones will last longer. This is also a good approach to use for longer term storage as these pickles will leave the oven canned and ready to hit the pantry.

Friday, September 26, 2014

How To: Canning That Extra Chicken

First, You will need one of these. (Click for Amazon)
Previously, we discussed turning a chicken from one meal into several and it was pointed out (accurately) that while I mentioned the canning process I did not discuss it.  An omission to be rectified immediately.

Canning for long term storage is all about heat treatment and safety.  Safety while you work around the hot equipment and the hot stove, safety in ensuring you are using the right recipe for the right foods, safety, safety, safety.

It is possible to make yourself sick with improperly canned foods and it is possible to burn yourself while working with high temperatures and the stove top. Proper understanding, instruction, and due diligence are your responsibility. Protecting you and your family from accidents should be your number one priority. (continued)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PPPP Report Week 13

You'd look mad too if I photographed your morning bath.
Last week marked the forecast end of the Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Reports, but there is always more to the story.  On Monday I alluded to the fact that there was a broiler in the pot and that we graduated several birds over the weekend but didn't go into much detail. From the beginning I've been looking forward to this year's chicken and dinner Sunday night was everything I had been looking forward to.

Mrs. Farmer gets full credit for the preparation and cooking, and that was the best chicken I've had in a long time. A sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done is part of that, but good food, good air, and sunshine for the chickens accounts for much more.  (continued)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stretching A Chicken Dinner

Yes, I have chicken overwintering in quart jars.
It might be comfortable, I've never tried it.
Ah, it's fall now, you can tell because Mrs. Farmer refuses to let me leave the windows open at night and has both started checking the weather forecast for frost advisory and begun wearing her fuzzy slippers in the morning. Others may count from the equinox or when the leaves begin to change their color but I know better (and a wise man never argues with his wife).

This weekend our time was spent graduating chickens (old and new) and getting them set up in their winter homes (the freezer or pantry). We're not even close to finished with that yet, but chicken processing and storage have been on my mind daily of late.(continued)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PPPP Report Week 12

That's all folks!  Here's week 12 of your Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report! The boys are getting feisty now.  There are scuffles in the pen, and as you can see here they are setting their sights outside of the pen too.

So I have spent more time than I'd like herding broilers, but as prices to pay go this one isn't too bad it's only a little time and usually a few laughs for me.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thirty Degree Nights

Soon to be dried tomatoes
Our pretty little summer is truly over now, we had temps in the 30's overnight this weekend. It's not winter just yet, but my instincts are telling me we'll probably have early snow this year and a frost advisory before September is half over isn't arguing with that guess.

The impending winter provides an undertone of urgency that the hot August afternoons lacked. That shiver getting out of bed, having to squint out the window to see if that shine outside is dew or frost, the ever increasing backlog of fall bounty clamoring to be processed or preserved, all those chores and projects that needed to be done before snowfall... I have a love/hate relationship with fall. (continued)

Friday, September 12, 2014

PPPP Report Week 11

Somewhat delayed, only slightly postponed, here's your Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report. The trials and travails from Wednesday's Unexpected Arrivals have resulted in a lot of changes and more than a little work but only a few noteworthy for our PPPPR since last week.

Only a week left for the boys!  Which means we will have several weekends of processing coming up.  We'll start actually this weekend, cleaning out the freezer, making room, and retiring some of our older laying hens. (continued)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Unexpected Arrivals

I shall tease you with an unrelated picture
of happy pork attacking windfall crab apples. 
There are a lot of things going on here at the farm.  A lot of "balls in the air" to use a popular phrase. Though I may not be a professional juggler I usually have a pretty good idea of when a ball is coming down though, so I can at least get out of the way if a catch is not possible.

Definitely dropped one today, which lead to a day of scrambling, setting up new accommodations with makeshift materials, and catching up on work I have been meaning to do for months and that (I thought) I would still have plenty of time to get to before they were necessary.(continued)

Monday, September 8, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Canning

I love it when the produce really starts coming in.  Not the dribs and drabs of the early crop, not the trickles of that one or two of variety that might be new to the garden but when that main flush finally hits.  Yes, that is a great time each year.  Both our tomatoes and those at the CSA have finally starred ripening in earnest.  This is not a huge surprise as the CSA is local and we have nearly identical climates but it does mean that when the produce starts to rain, it pours.

We will be doing a lot of canning but that's hardly the only option for storing the surplus of the season. (continued)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Watch For Mullein

Fuzzy Leaves.

Here in the northeast we've had a pretty mild summer and I've heard that other parts of the U.S. have as well.  My tomatoes and peppers may not be acting like their usual bright prolific selves but other plants are picking up the slack.

One example that doesn't seem to give a rip about our summer weather is Verbascum thapsus, the common mullein.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

PPPP Report Week 10

Earlier sunsets plus cloud cover makes for bad photos.
It's that time again.  Welcome back for your regularly schedule Wednesday Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report. Not watching the clock and a bit of a rain delay lead to chores (and photography) later in the afternoon than usual. The flash can only do so much to compensate for that, so I apologize that these pictures will not be as clear and bright as you're used to now.

We're into crunch time now.  Only 14 days left before the broiler boys are "ready".  Since we'll probably graduate them in stages (50 is a lot to do in one day with only 2 sets of hands) some will be running around a bit longer and end up a bit bigger but I doubt it will be a lengthy reprieve.  (continued)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Busy busy bumblebee
Happy Labor Day.  Unlike some other holidays it seems like I'm always actually laboring on Labor Day.  This year has turned out to be no exception.

Time is always working against the homestead.  Really it's an obstacle we all face I think, part of the human condition itself.  With high temps in the 80's this week summer hasn't given up on us yet but really in my mind it is already Fall.  Many of the things I wanted done before winter are still not finished and at this point more than one may not make it into the "done" column before the snow flies either.

As long as I'm making some progress though it counts as a win, a good day.  Any day you aren't making progress is a day you are losing ground.  (continued)