Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Ending on a Great Note

 So, things at Shelley Hill Farm are moving right along.  We had our first chicken butchering day on Tuesday.  We rented the Featherman plucker, pictured below, from to make the process oh so very much easier.  Whoever designed this was a genius, I think.  You hook water up to the hose that you see running around the top rim which then squirts out from small holes in the hose at various angles and the bottom of the tub with fingers spins so the scalded chickens then bounce around and all the feathers get removed and flushed out an opening on the bottom with water.  Very, very slick!

These are the chickens soaking in cold water (which we did overnight to relax the muscles so they are not tough).  We labeled them so we could decide which were better.  The ones in the right two stainless steel pots are the free roosters we picked up about a week ago.  There were some "banty" roosters and some regular size.  Wouldn't do bantys again as they are hard to get your hand into to get all the innards out of, but we got it done.  Also, the pot on the left is the three Delaware roosters we hatched out.  I think they are the nicest looking ones, "like normal chicken at the store" if you will, so we will see how they taste when we get to cooking them.  They are all labeled and in the freezer now!

Below is the operation set up.  On the left were the cones to put the chickens through head first to dispatch of them, then on the right they went into the scalding tank and then into the Featherman plucker in the middle then onto a table not in the picture to remove the innards.

Below are the first two roma tomatoes out the garden.  We have about a handful more now, but not sure how many more will ripen before it's not so sunny anymore.  

And, tada, Mom and Ray's house arrived yesterday.  Below is one half coming up our driveway.  They move this with a remote controlled tractor.  Pretty amazing I think.

You can barely see the tractor below on the left end of the house.

And this would be the other half with their porch on it.  The guy running the remote control for the tractor is standing on the left.

And this is how it sits now.  They are not going to be here working on it today, but will be back tomorrow.  Will keep you updated on the progress.

And, we got more pigs.  Below are the four pigs we are raising for meat.  Two males and two females just to see if they are any different to raise/grow.  All have different markings so we can tell them apart.  Rob and I got two, Mom, Aylia, and Alex are splitting one, and Alex's dad purchased the other.  They promptly dug up the ground behind their house and went to sleep after we got them home.  Of course, this was after the fiasco with the electric fence.  We brought them home and put them inside the fence, which of course (though we did not know it) was not working, so they walked right through to go out and right through to go back in.  Needless to say Rob was just a little (said very sarcastically) frustrated as it took about an hour to figure out where the short was.  Anyway, they have all realized that when you touch your nose on the wire, it hurts, so they stay away now.  

This guy was hysterical.  We put the water tub in a tire so they can't flip it over and he proceeded to drink, then put his front feet in, 

Then his entire head in

and then literally tried to fit his whole body into that little water tub.  At one point, he had his head and front feet in the water and walked around in a circle with his back feet on the tire.

Below are two videos of the pigs being pigs.  I have dubbed them the pig pack.

And more piggies.

And an update on the two turkey chicks.

All else is going well.  Kara and Liam are enjoying school (well you know what I mean hahaha).  Kara finished her driver's ed course and passed with flying colors, got 100% on the written test (which counts as the written for her driver's license so she only has to do the drive test to get her license) and 84 on the driving test.  She pretty much chauffeurs us everywhere now.  It's pretty nice actually.  Liam is doing well with baseball.  Has four games every weekend, two with Stanwood/Camano fall ball and two with Seattle Stars fall ball.  They win some and lose some.  He is pretty much playing all positions.  

Rob is getting all geared/psyched up for hunting with Liam starting the this next month.  Hopefully they can each get a deer this year and perhaps an elk, as Rob goes elk hunting following the time he is gone deer hunting with Liam.  

Back out to the garden as I need to pick some sugar pumpkins and see if there are anymore ripe tomatoes!  Later!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Preserving some things

So, the kids are back in school.  A little quieter around the house again.  Kara is doing well in her driver's ed class and is wanting to drive any time she can.  

Mom and I picked up two 22-pound boxes of apples, two 20-pound boxes of Red Globe and Rosa peaches, six 20-pound boxes of Bartlett pears, and six 10-pound boxes of peaches, not sure of their type, and mom got one 10-pound box of nectarines.  The nectarines she dried and made a nummy salad with corn.  Very yummy!

Below is some fruit leather made with peaches and a little bit of cherries.  We also froze quite a few peach slices for later use.

And canned some also.

Mom cut up and dehydrated a whole watermelon and this is what it shrunk down to.  Amazing huh?  Kinda tastes like cotton candy, I think.

And these would be the dried nectarines and peaches mixed.

Things are going well out in the garden.  There are soooooooo many tomatoes and I certainly hope they will have a chance to ripen before the weather changes.  Below are the first two that have slightly changed color.  These are Roma variety.

The new Welsummer chicks are doing well, almost three weeks old now.  We did lose two.  The smallest one got pastey butt and seemed okay after it was cleaned off, but the next morning was gone.  And then one of the older ones was gone about two days later, I think because they had been really starting to pick and scratch at the newspaper and perhaps he ate too much and it blocked him up.  They are all moved outside in the broody chicken tractor with their light and have fun running up and down the ramp.

The midget whites are getting larger, still not sure on the tom/hen ratio but hopefully two of each.  Momma turkey and her two babies are doing fine and dandy.  She herds them around the yard every day and they are so cute pecking and following along.

Robert finished the fence all the way around the back of the property and the goats have a very large area to clear now for us.  Gus and the girls are together for this next month and then will be separated again, which means we will probably have January or early February babies.

The mangels are great!  Marty loves them (he got out the other day before the fence was finished and did a fabulous job of showing me now to root them up, put one front foot on them to hold it, and then take a big bite.  His new bottom front teeth are very pretty and white, I have to say.  haha), the goats love them and I am sure the weiner pigs we are getting on the 24th will love them also.  We are getting four pigs this time, one for mom and Aylia to share, two for us and one for Alex's dad (Aylia's boyfriend Alex, just in case you where like who??)

The meat chickens are doing well and growing, growing, growing.

Liam has started fall baseball with the Stanwood/Camano group and also with the Seattle Stars group he will be playing with this spring instead of doing hockey this year.  Kinda weird not going to the rink, but the sun outside has been nice.

Their first game Liam pitched, as you can see below.

And had a two nice outs while playing shortstop.

He's having a great time playing.

Guess that's all for now.  Gonna try some pickling of different veggies tomorrow as I have a few of everything, just not enough of one kind to do them all individually, so will keep you updated.


Friday, September 2, 2011

September Tour of Shelley Hill Farm

Okay, so I was full of energy this morning and am giving you all a little mini tour with short videos of the new/improved/moved/rearranged/hopefully better Shelley Hill Farm.

We will start with a lovely video of moi.  (I know, I crack myself up also.  hahahahahahaha)

Now moving on.

On a sad note, one of the baby hens at the beginning of the video above did not make it through today. Dumbledore tried to have his way with her (she really is too young, so we will be keeping the other two in the moveable pens until they are "of age") and tore off her feathers over her chest, exposing her gizzard and chest.  So, Rob put her out of her misery and she is on the stove as we speak, kinda like a cornish game hen size.

Moving on to the "bachelor pad".

and still more.....

Sorry, ended that before I finished my sentence.  Meant to say "Hopefully they will ripen then in the warm weather."

And now for the biggy news today!!!

Kara watched this video above and said I sounded like the mom on the Wild Thornberry's from Nikolodeon.  Okay then.  I kinda do.  I could have whispered like all the shows that Rob and Liam watch on hunting where they are whispering about their hunt and then the wind always seems to be blowing across the microphone.  Drives me insane.  And yes, I was very excited that the turkey hatched her eggs.  We weren't even sure any of them would hatch.

Anyway, Liam has 5 baseball games this weekend, his first tournament with the new team.  So will let you know how that goes.  Gonna finish doing the school clothes shopping this weekend too.