The Satisfaction of Self-Sufficiency

The Satisfaction of Self-Sufficiency

We got the Pekin ducks packaged for the freezer as well as a bag of necks and a bag of livers. It is an interesting feeling of satisfaction knowing we raised these guys from start to finish. Ducks are definitely the hardest to process of the three animals we’ve butchered so far. Without a barrel plucker, we won’t do it again. But it still feels satisfying.

So does this:

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3 shelves worth of chicken. Plus there are 28 quart bags of stir-fry chicken breast meat chicken out in the chest freezer. Because we don’t really care for white meat, but it is good in stir-fry. Or made into nuggets.

And there is this:

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8 gallon bags of rabbit meat, 1 gallon bag of belly flaps and fat for grinding, and 2 quart bags of rabbit livers.

It is going to be a month or two before we can eat the Pekins, though. I just don’t have it in me yet to do that. It was the same way the first time we butchered rabbits. I didn’t have any issues eating the chicken right away, though. But then they didn’t have any personalities really.

We got 2 more duck eggs this morning.

We got the finished compost taken care of yesterday and I put some on the hay bale garden.

I also got plant starts. Well, plugs, really, which are 25 cents each. I got 48. 6 cauliflower (hope springs eternal), 18 purple kohlrabi, and 24 broccoli. I was surprised to find them actually, because a few weeks ago they didn’t have any. So those I planted today in the hay bales. I planted the kohlrabi a little deeper than I did in the straw bales and of course they have the compost around them as well. I want to freeze broccoli for stir-fries. I am hoping with the 24 new plants we’ll be able to do that. The six older plants will be for fresh eating this summer. If the cauliflower makes it, it’ll probably go for fresh eating as well. With only six plants it is not worth freezing. Assuming it makes it at all.

I also planted four Blacktail Mountain watermelon seeds in the dirt and 8 in the compost covering the hay bales. It’s a 9 day germination (which may be sped up in this weather, the beans were), and a 70 day growing period. So we’d be harvesting around September 20th if all goes well. It is a little late to be planting watermelon and it very well may not do well. But I may be able to put a little green house around it if necessary to extend the growing season. But the way things are going I think we are going to have an Indian Summer and be able to grow well into October, so I thought it was worth trying. I planted them in hills of four seeds each like I do with squash and cucumbers. That is not what the directions said, but we’ll see how it works.

I am still sick. I am really dragging. But stuff needs doing and I wanted to get it done before the rabbit kits are due and before the husband is gone again. So I am taking it all in baby steps. I am so turned off by protein right now. I don’t know if it is the after effects of the virus or of processing so much meat. Maybe both. I know it will go away and I’ll be back to normal eventually. I can’t eat much anyway at one time. Breakfast was a pudding cup. Lunch was a small Yukon gold potato and a couple berries. Dinner is likely to be a salad. I might be able to handle one hard-boiled egg, some sunflower seeds, and some cheese on the salad. If not I’ll drink a cup of rabbit broth. I just tend to do better if there is some protein in my diet.

I wish we could have gotten the excess Welsh Harlequin drakes butchered, too, but that will have to wait until the next time the husband is home. At least I have picked out which two I want to keep. And if two ends up being too many for the females, then I know which one I want to keep. He’s the biggest and the nicest and the prettiest.

On the turkey front, one of the boys’ heads is starting to turn blue. Apparently this is a male thing only with the Royal Palms, so in a week or two I will definitively know what is what, though I really do think it is 3 jakes and 1 jenny (what they call immature toms and hens). In which case it will be very easy to decide which male to keep and which two are Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just hope if it is 3 jakes and 1 jenny that the males won’t be pestering the poor girl before butcher time. If they are then maybe we can put the two extras in the empty meat chicken coop and cover the top of the pen area there with poultry netting.

I picked a few more handfuls of berries today, but it is all going for fresh eating right now. There isn’t enough yet for freezing.

I still want to get the chickens and pullets integrated tomorrow. I’m not sure how that will go, but they are big enough now and the turkeys are not so nice to the Barnevelders anymore so it has to happen. My pullets are fast so I imagine they can get away from the hens if they need to. Except in the coop. But there is always the meat chicken coop for now. Or Fort Knox, but we’d have to add a perch. Hopefully it’ll all go well and Georgie won’t be the brat she can be.

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