The freezers are full. In order to relieve some of the ‘congestion’ I grabbed the few chicken carcasses left from when I parted out meaties and tossed them in the stock pot, along with some onion, peppercorns, carrots, a couple ribs of celery, fresh from the garden thyme and parsley, a little rosemary and some garlic. I added a couple of necks and of course, the feet, which had been cleaned. Chicken feet make the best kind of stock because they are mostly cartilage and supply all the glucosamine and chondroitin you could want. I let it simmer all day and the smell is heavenly. Once it is done and everything has been pretty much leached into the broth, I let it cool down some, then strain it into another large stockpot. That goes to the walk in to chill, while I pick through the solids that remain, putting bones in one bag, the veggies in a bucket to throw on the compost and the meat into a bowl. I gleaned enough meat off of the 3 carcasses to make Chinese Chicken Salad, with more than half a bowl left over. This is one of my favorite summer salads so I was tickled to have it readily accessible. The only things I don't always have on hand are fresh celery, bean sprouts and the chinese noodles, but I grabbed some last trip to town. The dry noodles will keep a pretty long time so I’ll be picking up extra next trip and I have ordered mung beans to make our own sprouts, as they don’t last long and often, I can’t find them in the stores I go to. Green onions are always available in my back yard, winter and summer. I always have dry celery on hand, but not fresh, so that is something that is always on the grocery list and I always make something that requires it when we get it home. Then whatever is left over, goes in the dehydrator for soups and stews later on.
Uncharacteristically, I awoke before dawn one morning and not from being in any pain. In fact, I felt like a million bucks, so I quietly snuck outside in the dark under what was left of the moon and headed to the back pasture. I’d heard Cletus barking so I figured something was out of place back there, although he was quiet again so whatever it had been, had already been handled. I snuk up to the alley fence and peeked over to see all the sheep had been huddled together out in the open at the top of the pasture. Both Maremmas were trotting toward them so apparently it had been an encounter of the sheeple-threatening kind. The pups suddenly became aware of me and seconds later I was met in the corral by 200+ lb of highly enthusiastic, wagging polar bodies. After establishing that our infatuation for each other had not dimmed, we watched the sun rise together. It was a wonderful beginning to the day.
EmmaLouMoo has been out back with the bull and about a dozen cows for the past several weeks. SushiMoo has been isolated as she is too young to breed, and we were using the opportunity of her being lonely to get her to bond with us and become a bit more social. She was able to come and go from the corrals and out to the horse pasture as she pleased. Unfortunately, she found a way thru the fences and was loose out with the rest. I was able to capture Wimpy and saddle him (something I had not been able to do in months) and rode down to bring all the cows up from the bottom of the pasture and separate Em and Sushi out into the corral. They tried to pull a sneaky by racing back around the octopus tree and trying to double back on me while we were caught up in the wet, mucky ground, but Wimpy was a good boy and we managed to head them off and accomplish our objective. It made me a very happy camper.
A couple of days later Sushi came in heat which was a relief because #1 she for sure didn’t get bred over night and #2 it means she can go back out there for a couple of weeks until she is due to come in again, at which time I will bring her up and separate her again until her heat is over and turn her loose again. It makes her a much happier little cow.
The Red Rangers are STILL not ready to butcher. We definitely won’t be buying anymore of them as they don’t hold a candle to the cornishX as far as being economical and quick to finish. I know a lot of folks like them because they are hardier, but as we’ve not had problems with the CX, we’ll happily stick with them.
When I had gone to visit Wimpy and Mister, Thomas followed me into the big corral and waited at the gate. When I returned, he wouldn’t let me pass. The next thing I knew, he began attacking me. He was running at me and jumping up, flapping his wings and kicking at me with his feet. I was using a foot to kick him back each time but he continued. I finally hollered for Bruno, who rescued me by body blocking Thomas and keeping him from getting too close to me. The heavy socialization and bonding I did with the Maremmas, once again paid off. It looks like Thomas might grace our Thanksgiving table, after all. He’s happily residing beneath the raspberry bushes with the Rangers for now.
It’s been unusually hot this summer and the garden has suffered for it. The flowers and hidden veggies have been making a valiant effort to survive and compete with the weeds.
I love sneaking stuff like cabbage and squash into the flower gardens
Hopefully, next year I will be more successful in my battle with weeds and dirt. For now, I'll just settle for what we have and plan on starting more perennials next spring to fill in the spots that need it.
Going out with Randyman to feed the other night, Cletus roared and took off out of the corral toward the orchard. He was upset because THIS guy and his co hort were parked in the trees. Apparently, Cletapotamus has not forgotten that they killed a bunch of his meaties and he was unable to stop them.
As for the rest, he's been fairly vigilant so I've got no worries.
Yesterday I pulled the stockpot out of the walk in, skimmed the fat off the top and canned 2 gallons of chicken broth as well as 7 qts of mixed veggies-carrots, potatoes, corn, peas and butter beans. The plan is to be able to grab a jar of veggies and a jar of chicken I have canned, dump them in a pie crust with some gravy and have a quick chicken pot pie. I tested the theory last night and it was a GOOD plan!! I think I will can more veggies and perhaps a couple different mixes with mushrooms and such as this would be good for sheperds pie, beef pot pies and some other stuff too. It's been a pretty good week for me and I'm looking forward to August!
Hope you are too.