Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rehabilitating a Rotten Hen??

What should we do with a hen who eats eggs?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What we did this evening...

He was only 10 weeks old, and free-ranged to boot, so he was kinda small. We didn't age the meat in the fridge, but rather cooked it right away. He was quite tasty, though a little tough.

We also processed 4 pints of strawberry jam.

Nephews on the farm

This one loved the chickens. He was also especially fond of Nicholas. Nicholas put him down for his nap each day, and put him in bed at night.

This one loved the corn. He also loved chewing on bits of paper. He loved just about everything except diaper changes. Oh, how he squirmed during those!

They're laying!

The first egg. The eggs we collected today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nic's Chicks or Factory Chicks

This video doesn't do the actual experience justice. We were driving through Shelbyville Tennessee today, when we had the good fortune to find ourselves behind a huge Tyson chicken truck. I can tell you that the smell was indescribable. Our 55 chickens smell, but it is a completely different smell from these. The smell was rancid, for lack of a better word. As bad as the smell was, the sight was worse. These chickens were crammed into the dirty and rusty cages so that they could not fully stand up. Chicken cages were stacked on top of chicken cages so that excrement from the top would cascade down to the levels below. The chickens we saw did not have feathers on their bellies or on their bottoms. We assumed that this was because their bellies probably dragged the bottom of the cages. We're not sure. All of the chickens were thirsty. Their beaks were slightly open and they panted.

It was quite enlightening for us to see these birds treatment and physical appearance, when compared to our own chicken experiment. Our birds' poop smells, but it was a "normal" poop smell and not rancid smelling. Our birds have nice full feathered bodies. They free-range and are in excellent physical condition.

We are by no means "animal rights" people, but there is just no comparison between a small farm raised bird and these factory fowl.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dallas Again

So it looks like we will be visiting the Dallas area in early September.

We have been unable to find good, reliable information about the relative safety of the area surrounding the Arlington hotel we are planning to stay in. Can anyone advise me about which areas to avoid? I know we wandered into some pretty scary places last year. Our hotel was not scary (in the traditional sense, anyway). It was, however, downtown and very pricey - something we are not looking to repeat.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Food Preservation

I have now canned a total of 9 quarts of tomatoes. So far it has been quite enjoyable and educational. All of my jars have sealed- other than that, I don't know what to look for as far as quality. I'm just pleased that they are sealing.
Can anyone tell me why the jars seem to have less liquid in them now than when I first removed them from the canner? Does that mean we shouldn't eat the tomatoes?

Nic's Pics

It's time once again for a look in Nicholas' picture folder to see what gems he's captured lately.
Smiling kids...
Landscape scenes flying by the car at 70 mph...
And, OH MY!

Uncle Frank's souvenir boar's head from his hunting trip this past winter.
That is just plain creepy.

The Trip Homeward

Gloria and Elijah with Uncle Jake

We visited my hometown last week. We didn't get to see all the family, but we did get to have an extended visit with my younger brother and his family. The first night we had dinner together, and then they came to our hotel room for a couple of hours. Jake will get down on the floor and crawl around with the kids, which they LOVE. See that maniacal grin on Gloria's face? She was having a great time. The next day, while Scott worked (the reason for our trip there), the kids and I stayed with my sister-in-law and her two adorable sons. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully it won't be long til we see them again.

We also visited with my parents for the first time in over 2 years. Gloria didn't remember them at all, so she was a little shy. It was good to see the grandparents again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Big Day

Nicholas took part in his very first 4H poultry show on Saturday. Here's a video of Gloria and Nicholas spending a few last minutes with the hens before they are auctioned off to a new family. So sad- he's been known to ride around the yard on his bike with a chicken under his arm. And, oh, how they love the golf cart!

Wait a minute.... who gave Dad the checkbook? For a $42 donation to our local 4H club, the 6 hens came back home with us. Alas, there will be no extra space in the chicken tractor, but there were 4 happy children in our vehicle on the way home.