Bunnies of all Sizes

A beautiful sunny day for letting the bunnies out to play.

6 weeks old bunnies

6 weeks old bunnies

(If you are wondering what the water bottle is for, it is just so you can get a better idea of their size)

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The rabbits above are practicing their posing for the judges at the up coming shows.( The Britannia is a full grown rabbit.)

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(note the water bottle, again to help you understand his size)

They are so soft and fun to pet. It is know wonder that our daughter has 50 with more on the way.

Have you played with a bunny today?  HAPPY EASTER Everyone!!

 

Chicken Processing Day

After a brief rain shower we started the task of butchering. We gathered all of the things we needed, knifes, boiling water, killing cone, chicken plucker (we are lucky enough to have one on permanent loan from a friend and we give him 1 dressed bird from each batch in exchange).

Plucking Station

Plucking Station

My husband Dan and our friend Bill did most of the work while I cleaned and sanitized the kitchen. Dan used the killing cone and did the cutting and cleaning, while Bill did the scalding and processed the birds thru the plucker. It is a messy process but if you want quality meat that is fresh and not full of steroids and stuff you shouldn’t eat, the process is well worth it.

The chicken plucker is a homemade one but it does make the tedious task of plucking go a lot quicker. We have in the past and you can pluck them without it, after dunking the birds in the hot water (around 140 – 145 degrees) the feathers will come out rather easily with a pair of rubber gloves on your hands. When you clean the birds I would recommend finding a good book to help you clean the birds properly (or if you know someone who can show you how). If you don’t get the preen(oil/scent) gland out right it may make the bird taste bad.

Once we had them all cleaned and washed we took the skin on the end of the bird and wrapped it around the legs so the legs stay nice and tight to the body. Put them in freezer bags, then you have to put them in the fridge for a couple of days to “rest” then you can pull them out and wrap them in freezer paper. Put dates on them and put them in the freezer.

All dressed out the birds came in at 4.5 to 5.5 lbs and cost around $5.46 a piece we ended up with 12, we gave one to Bill for his help, one to the family who owns the chicken plucker, and one to the neighbor who lets us use his field for our sheep and pony to graze on.

Finished product

Finished product

That’s all the Cornish X broilers we have for now. We will be butchering some of the Delaware’s in a couple of months. The Delaware’s will be raised more on grass in chicken tractors, so it will be interesting to see how different they taste, or not!

A walk with Dad.

Did you ever notice that sometimes the simple things make the best memories? Well, A walk with my Dad was just that. We got up with the sun and headed to the park.

When I was young, my Dad would take my siblings and I on Nature walks, it was a way for my Mom to have a little break from us 4 kids and gave my Dad some much needed quality time with us. He would take us on hikes through the woods, we would find all kind of crawling things and walk across logs that were laying across shallow gulley’s. (I may have been scared but he always convinced me that I could do it.) So now that my parents live in Las Vegas, Nevada, you know the town known for the bright lights and gambling, well we found a new place to walk and I always look forward to it. Not far from them is a place called the Wetlands Park”.

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The park is, what I call, a manmade Oasis in the middle of the desert and is something to see. My Dad and I usually spend at least a couple of hours strolling through the 210 acre park, with its many winding trails ( some paved, some red dirt) and abundant wildlife. In fact we usually loose all track of time and my Mom ends up calling, wondering if we are lost. I am usually looking at the birds and at the ponds. My Dad is always on the look out for lizards or snakes. We even saw Coyote scat a couple of times. Kind of exciting, the thought that a coyote was in the area. And we always have a camera. We go early in the morning because it gets hot, fast out there. We where our hats and sunglasses and enjoy the scenery and get some exercise, not to mention fresh air and tan.

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When we were done admiring the beauty of the wetlands, we stopped at the Wetlands Nature Center. It is only about 2 years old and is a wonderful place to learn about the animals and birds in the area. They have many interactive things to do and plenty to learn about. Kids of all ages will and do enjoy it. We sure did.

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I am so glad that we have found a place to go on walks, together again.

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My favorite shadow!

Not to sound like a commercial but, If you are ever out in Las Vegas and want to get away from the bright lights and traffic and enjoy some quality time with someone special, or want something the whole family can enjoy, I would recommend you stop by the Clark County Wetlands Park. They are open dawn to dusk and it is only about 20 minutes from the “Strip” and it is free! Check them out at: wetlands@clarkcountynv.gov

Happy trails to you!

Enjoying the Sun and Sap!

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84 degrees….well in the greenhouse at least, ( 38 outside ) made it a good day to clean up and get ready for the coming season.

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Planted lettuce and spinach.

While doing some general yard clean-up I thought that I might give a couple of pointers about what type of ground to look (or not look) for if you are wanting to homestead.

pasture

When looking for land make sure it is southern facing. Or you will have snow long after everyone else is thawed. Ok if, you like to ski, not so good if you need it for pasture. (Live and learn) Another thing to look at is if it has a spring, like ours does. I will admit that I really liked the idea of the babbling brook in my backyard, the soothing sound of water, aahhh. Then it rained and my babbling brook turned into a raging rapid taking everything in its path. I do still enjoy the steam and we have learned to be prepared for the rain. (Live and learned)

Our new project this year is Maple syrup. A friend of ours bought my husband some spiles (sap spouts) for tapping the trees. So we found these twin maples up in the woods and drilled the holes as directed, hung the clean jugs.

sap drip

twin maples

And had 2 gallons of sap the next day,( WOW ) sounds like a lot but once you get done boiling it down, which we will do on the wood stove, we will have about 1 pint of syrup. Can’t wait to taste it!

I found these guys enjoying the sun as much as I was!

Red and Rox

Have a Sunny Day!!

A sign of spring!!

A sign of spring!!

Our garden seeds came in the mail today, it is a beautiful site! It brings much hope that spring is near. Now if we could just get the snow to melt and the ground to thaw.
We purchased some different seeds to try this year. We bought pole beans, they should bring some dimension to the garden. Some of the other different seeds we purchased are Lima Beans and Carrots.

We purchased our seeds from “Pinetree Garden Seeds” www.superseeds.com  We have ordered through them for years and always have had good results with the seeds.

We have some seeds that we saved from last year. These are favorite Heirloom seeds: Birdhouse gourds, Connecticut Field pumpkin, Corno Di Toro green pepper, Oakleaf lettuce and Waltham Butternut squash. We have already tried sprouting some of the seed to make sure they are good for this year. We are ready and set now we have to wait for the weather to say “GO”.

Cauliflower Deal Creates Heat

My husband went to the local animal and produce auction and got a great deal on a basket of cauliflower, there was 8 large heads in the basket for only $2.00. So that meant we had to put some in the freezer. After eating some with supper we worked on blanching our veggies . First thing we did was cut up the cauliflower, well that was my husband’s part. After cutting to the size we wanted, he placed the cauliflower into a pot of boiling water and we waited for the water to start to boil, again.

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Then set the timer for 3 minutes. While they are bubbling away, we put the date on the bags. This is where I came in, when we pulled the cauliflower out of the water I ran it under cold water to stop the cooking process. I strained well, then placed them in freezer bags and laid them flat in the freezer.

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We ended up with 3 gallon bags (large size for when the kids come for supper) and 5 quart bags, not bad for 2 dollars. I have to admit that was a perfect night for blanching. With the temperature going down below zero, all the steam from the boiling water helped heat the house for a little while.

Happy Blanching!!

Woodstove = Exercise

If you are one of those people who have made a new years resolution to get more exercise,  I would like to recommend a wood stove  or maybe two like we have. Yes, we have two and they are the primary source of heat.

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I don’t know if we are crazy or cheap, but we can heat this big old farmhouse for nothing more than a couple of tanks full of gasoline (not that, that is cheap). In the summer we are usually so busy gardening and gathering wood, etc. that we don’t always get the wood cut and split. But that’s okay as long as we have enough to cut and split we are happy. And that is also our winter exercise. Since we typically use about 6 cords of wood a year, here is a typical day of exercise or how we keep the home fires burning.

First thing when we get up we start fires in the wood stoves, hopefully there is some hot coals left for an easy start. Then make coffee, or tea for me, then back to see if the fires are going good. Then out to get wood off the porch to refill the boxes by the wood stoves for the day. That requires several trips back and forth from the front of the house to the back of the house. Now its breakfast time, and animal feeding time. Back in to check the stoves. Then we do some of those fun (?) household chores, and maybe work on the blog………………………..sorry, had to go downstairs to feed the stoves. Then about once a week we head outside for our “wood” exercise. Cut and split, load the wheel barrow, now push and stack, cut and split, load the wheel barrow, now push and stack, repeat.

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 Now I will admit that I do not always help with the outside “wood” exercise, because I am a little like a bear in the winter. I hide in my den (craft room)where it’s warm, (warm!!, wait I better go fill the wood stoves), and not unlike a bear I might get  grumpy if you make me go out in the cold. But anyway, so, as you can see having 2 wood stoves can keep you moving. Back and forth, up and down, now bend and lift, push and stack, repeat…..But we woodn’t have it any other way.