Farm Fresh Eggs

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Farming | Posted on 17-09-2014

We don’t currently have eggs available, but we should have some in the next couple of weeks. Our hens will be 5-months old this weekend, which is the age when they should start laying. Feel free to give me a phone call or send me an email if you’re interested. These are pastured hens… they are getting fresh air, sunshine, and eating lots of bugs and greens!

Making butter

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Farming, Food | Posted on 05-03-2013

Usually we use up all of our cream in our morning coffee, but this week we actually had about 2 quarts left over (I still haven’t figured out how that happened). The best use for leftover cream is butter of course.

Jars of fresh cream

Jars of fresh cream

I’ve been using my blender to make butter, but I think this is pretty hard on it. Once we get a cow of our own I’d like to look into buying a nice butter churn.

Cream in the blender.

Cream in the blender.

After a few minutes you end up with whipped cream.

Whipped cream.

Whipped cream.

Wait a few more minutes and the solids will separate. You’re left with fresh buttermilk and butter.

Butter in buttermilk.

Butter in buttermilk.

I strain this into a bowl. The leftover buttermilk will be given to the chickens, although you can also drink it or use it in baked goods.

Draining butter.

Draining butter.

Buttermilk for the chickens.

Buttermilk for the chickens.

After draining it is then washed with ice water until the water is fairly clear. We go through butter quickly around here so I don’t worry too much about washing out all the buttermilk.

Use very cold water while washing your butter.

Use very cold water while washing your butter.

Lastly, I add some salt to taste, measure it out in half-cup servings, and roll it in wax paper.

Finished product. Yummy!

Finished product. Yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Days

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Family, Farming, Garden, Spring | Posted on 15-05-2012

We have stayed pretty busy around here. There were some trips that happened. Most notably we enjoyed a weekend at Patoka Lake to celebrate Alex’s birthday with some of the family. We stayed in a cozy little cabin for 2 nights,  rode a train on the scenic railway in French Lick, and went for a tour of Marengo Cave. The kids got to enjoy some quality time with their cousins, and everyone had fun!

The chickens are growing like weeds. It’s amazing how quickly they change. I keep trying to discern who’s a rooster and who’s a hen. I’ve determined that we have at least 1 rooster (out of 50). Unfortunately we’ve lost a few older chickens to the neighborhood fox. The chickens will fly over the fence very early in the morning, when the sun is still rising, and the little vixen will grab them. It’s been frustrating to keep finding random piles of feathers. When we catch her out in the yard we quickly run out there to chase her off.

We finally got our garden started over the weekend. Twenty-three tomato plants. That’s quite a few for a family that doesn’t much care for tomatoes. Lord willing, there will be lots of sauces and salsas. Around 10 pepper plants of various varieties, 4 yellow squash plants,  4 melon plants, 2 rows of sweet corn, and 1 row of popcorn. I still want to get in green beans, cucumbers, and more melons. I have so many seeds to plant , but I’ve reached the point in my pregnancy when I do have some limitations, mostly exhaustion, and I know it will only get worse in the upcoming months. Andy has actually done most of the work, and I’m so grateful for that!

That’s about it. On Thurs. I will post a pregnancy update, and I plan on posting an update on our switch to a lacto-paleo diet in the upcoming week. Hopefully I will also get better at photographing happenings around here and getting those posted on the blog. Lots of goals as I figure out how to juggle everything, and learn how to use WordPress.

2012 Plans for the Farm

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Farming, Garden, Pigs, Turkeys | Posted on 16-04-2012

Our 2012 plans are a bit different than they were in 2011. I had huge plans last year. They included chickens, pigs, turkeys, guineas, bees, & a dairy cow. Some of those came to fruition & some did not.

This year we’re going to take it easy. Our chickens from last year total about 15. Around 10 of those are 2 years old so in the fall they will serve as our stew chickens for the winter. It will be hard to part with them, as I know each one of them, but such is the life on a farm. The other 5 will stay around another year. We still have 1 guinea hen, who at this point is just a noisy pet (although she does give us 1 small egg per day). Four turkeys remain, 2 hens & 2 toms. They’ll stick around for now. I unsuccessfully tried to incubate around 20 eggs. Not a 1 was fertilized. I do believe that 1 of the toms will grace our Thanksgiving table this November. We also have the 51 Araucana & Silver-Laced Wyandotte chicks. All of the cocks will feed our bellies this winter, & the hens will start producing eggs around August.

We are considering not raising pigs this year. Partly because I haven’t heard back from my Gloucestershire Old Spot source, & partly because we’re thinking of investing the money in some other areas. We still don’t have a fence or barn, & we would really like to get those things taken care of so that we can add a dairy cow to the mix. Our freezer will be pretty full of meat after next week (more on that to come) so we should be okay skipping the pigs this year, & possibly finding a local source for bacon & sausage after ours runs out. I can’t survive without those!

Lord willing, we will also be planting a fairly large garden to provide all of our summer vegetables, & hopefully will be able to preserve some also. We just need someone to come do some tilling for us. Although the gardening will be tough with my ever expanding belly, & a little one due at just the time when I need to be canning all those tomatoes! If it’s meant to be then the Lord will help me find a way.

Our honeybees died over the winter. I’m hoping that Alex & I can take a beekeeping course next spring & then we can add those back into the mix. I was just too scared of them last year.

So, that’s it. Much smaller plans but maybe much more doable. I’m still very excited about all that we have going on here, & everything that we have to look forward to!

Saturday Pictures

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Family, Farming | Posted on 14-04-2012

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Egg Laying

 

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5-week old chicks

 

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Rock Wall climbing

 

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Chicken Processing

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens | Posted on 29-07-2011

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Those pesky roosters are finally outta here. Hubby loaded them onto the trailer and took off at 6:00 am to go to a friends house. They had about 25 Cornish Crosses that they needed processed.

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Here they are after the long morning. Nice & cozy in the freezer. Not sure what kind of meals we’ll get out of them (2 were over a year old), but if nothing else we’ll have some tasty soups.

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Per oldest son’s request we did keep Diddle. He’s quite happy amongst all his ladies & feeling pretty lucky!

Chicks have hatched

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens | Posted on 11-04-2011

This post is slightly delayed due to Internet issues, but we will soon have that resolved and will be attempting to post daily.

 

After only 20 days of incubating, our first chicks arrived on Tuesday April 5, 2011- one day early. We were upstairs working and suddenly started hearing some faint cheeping noises. I hadn’t turned the eggs since Sunday so I had no idea what they looked like, and since this was my first time incubating I wasn’t even sure if I’d have any luck. The kids and I peeked in the incubator and sure enough there were 2 little chicks in there. We quickly closed the lid so that they could stay warm, but that was a truly exciting moment.

 

We ended up with 21 hatching out of the 25 that we incubated. They started hatching that Tuesday morning, and the last one arrived Thursday in the afternoon. Since our hens and roosters are various breeds, our chicks are an assortment of colors and we don’t really know what we’ll end up with. They are staying toasty warm under a heat lamp in the bottom half of a dog kennel (don’t worry, the dog isn’t using it right now). We change their water twice a day, and have been feeding them frequently (their appetite was minimal at first but has now picked up).

 

They all seem to be doing well, and we’re hoping that we have a good ratio of hens and roosters. Our plan is to keep the hens for laying and the roosters will turn into some tasty meals in a few months.

 

Here are pictures when they were 1 day and 6 days old:

As you can see they are already getting their wing feathers.

 

Incubator

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens | Posted on 16-03-2011

We are embarking on a grand journey today…  trying to incubate our chicken eggs. We have roughly 20 hens and 6 roosters so we thought we would try to save the money from ordering chickens this year. We have borrowed an incubator.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon reading about chicken incubation & watched a couple of YouTube videos. This morning I wiped off 25 eggs and marked them with an “X” on one side and “O” on the other. This afternoon I carefully placed all 25 eggs in the incubator. They are like my babies now. I will be turning the eggs 3 times per day for the next 18 days, and will then leave them alone for the last 3 (as it takes chicken eggs 21 days to incubate). I started a notebook to record every time that I turn them, and of course took pictures. So check back in 21 days to see our new babies (I hope).

Truly Free Range

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Posted by Andrew J. Moad | Posted in Chickens | Posted on 02-03-2011

Even in the middle of winter.

Truly free range, even in the middle of winter!