Thursday, September 12, 2013

Increasing Our Protein Options

  • so we have a freezer full of pork ..... yummmmmo.
  • we are getting more eggs than we know what to do with.
  • on the dam our calves contentedly eat grass and grow into what will be great beef for our table one day
  • most days i am cooking with at least one or two things from our property (unless of course the neighbours sheep and goat habitually get in and decimate your cauliflower, broccoli, peas, kohlrabi, etc..... you get the picture).

and this all makes my heart very happy.

but we need to close a loop on our need to buy in our protein .... gradually and when and how we can.  i'm happy to report we starting to seriously do just that.

we are finally hatching our own chickens.  meet our first four additions, future layer and three dinners (oops, roosters!).  how can i tell that at a day old?  well, that's a story for another day .... lets just say its in the breed you choose.
hellooooooo chickies!
our goal is to be raising enough chickens so that we can have one - two chicken meals a week.  so that means roughly three birds, which can't be processed until they are 4-5 months old.  gestation period is roughly 21 days, and we have a small incubator (9-12 eggs) with a roughly 70% fertility (our rooster is young his rate will increase dramatically in the next year), and the odd broody hen, we should do great. come the new year we should start having regular chicken meals on our sustainable table!

it is amazing how precise they can be as they are getting
ready to climb out of their shell!
welcome to the world!  the first home grown
JustEarth chook!
saying hello to #2!
hellooooooo broody mama!

btw ... if you have small children, it is a fascinating process to include them in.  candling the eggs from the get go to see if they are fertile .... checking progress, watching them hatch.  it is a great hands on education for our kiddos!

the next step will of course be ensuring that our animals pay their own way.  we need to be raising enough chicks and a plethora of eggs so we can sell these to the local community.  the proceeds from these sales will help cover feed costs and ensure the ongoing viability of this endeavour.

i wonder if i see turkeys, geese and ducks in our future?  i don't know!  would be a good way for the kids to earn some money and learn fiscal responsibility.  but..... in the meantime ...

we do what we can
where we are
with what we have.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sincere Gratefulness

had you wondered where i'd gone?  not anywhere actually .... but the challenges of a dead computer and pathetic internet ... well ... it just won out.

but we're back now and spring is in full swing, and we are beginning to seriously eat off the land and i am very grateful for this.

we processed our first pig a week ago.  and its just one of those experiences that utterly affects you when you realise that this animal is giving the ultimate gift it could to you .... food for our family.  our boy had a great life, and lived the way a pig should live ... on pasture, rooting around, getting muddy.  it is a step that if you are going to live sustainably that you have to take.  taking very seriously that if you are going to live off the land, you have to care for the animals that you choose to raise and ultimately eat.

so i am grateful .... for the opportunity to live this life and provide for our family.  and when it's an animal you have raised from a new life .... it makes it even more special, knowing the personal relationship you have had with the food that is on your plate (tonight that happened to be an egg/leek/onion/broadbean pie with ham steaks! ymmmm).

and the beauty of his life is that he has left behind a pregnant gilt ... a beautiful new cycle of life!

so here is just a pictorial ode to our pigs ... enjoy, as we have enjoyed them!

saying goodbye to reepicheep ... thanks mate!