Friday, August 31, 2012

Rubber tramps

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prep work

We finally finished butchering all nineteen meat birds today.  Now we have nineteen whole, skinless birds, and as many necks, hearts, and livers.  I also cleaned a few gizzards for my mother, because last time I told her I was butchering, that was her first question: "Did you save the gizzards?"  

Just for you, Mom, I did this time ... and they are pretty nasty things to clean, by the way.  

But what I really want to have someday is a chicken plucker, a la 'Whiz-bang.'  What could make a young and tender bird even tastier? A crispy, delicious skin ... yum!  And southern fried chicken just isn't the same without that crunchy, breaded skin.  But plucking by hand is a huge chore.  It takes forever and if you don't do it right, you can leave bits behind, which will make your dinner guests squeamish.

After the birds were cleaned and put away, we started in on our 100 gallon waterer project.  This project uses a bucket, some poultry watering nipples ordered online, some tubing, and a float valve.

The chickens learned pretty quickly that pecking at the nipples causes water to flow, though a few stubborn ones refused to try until we removed the other waterer.  This new system will hopefully ensure that the birds have an ample supply of clean drinking water for a long time between refills.  Since it is a closed system, the birds can't poop in their water, it won't evaporate as quickly, and debris won't block the flow.

We have no idea how long the 100 gallons will last with this new watering system, but hopefully it will make it easier for humans to keep the coop supplied with clean water.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Harvest Time

We started harvesting our meat birds today. Unfortunately we got a much later start than anticipated, but we were still able to put half a dozen carcasses in the freezer (the goal was at least nine).

That leaves [lucky] thirteen birds left to be slaughtered.  I hope the delay doesn't make us late on the road to New York!

Before ...

Be prepared!

Hanging the birds by their feet makes cleaning easier.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wet Stuff

That funny, wet stuff has been falling from the sky quite a bit lately.  We took the photo above Saturday morning, after it rained all night Friday.  Then it rained slow and steady on Saturday night, and we got another light shower this afternoon. Three days in a row of precipitation feels mighty nice.

But it also means the bug population is exploding. Whenever it rains, the termites bubble up from the ground and fly into the air, like some weird, effervescent entomological eruption. But lately we're nearing plague-like proportions.

 And also coming out to eat all these tasty morsels are the arachnids and other bug-hunters.

The chickens are doing their part to eat as many bugs as they can catch.

And the kittens have become such good hunters that they can snatch them right out of the air most of the time.

The prolonged rain should lead to another flower bloom, also.  The lechugillas are the most recent plants to bloom in our area, and I think they can be underrated.  Some people don't realize they bloom at all, but they actually have a very pretty display if you catch the show in time and get up close to the action.

Lechugillas are agaves, and their flowers are similar to those of the century plant.  But unlike the century plant which blooms only once, right before it dies, lechugilla agaves bloom every year.

The rain also shows off how well camouflaged Wrinkles is in her desert environs.  Her red leopard pattern mimics the dappled color of our wet, volcanic sand perfectly.