Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a hard day

Yesterday I posted Chief for sale.

It's been a very hard decision he's very much part of our family. But after much soul searching I've decided to start looking to see if I can find him a owner who can provide him the training and leadership I can not. It's hard to admit I can't do it all. It's hard to admit that I couldn't break though what ever he has going on. It's hard to let go of this big guy who I've put so much time into and totally love. I'm certainly not in a hurry and will only sell him to the perfect person/home. But I've taken the leap so we'll see what happens next. For now he's here just livin' and being chief at our place.

If You are kind of horsey you can find his ads up on the following sites...

I posted loads of photos at

Monday, January 28, 2008

happy chickens lots of eggs

Despite the cold weather the girls are doing great! I don't think they miss the extra rosters the flock actually seems more stable now with just two rosters, who amazingly just leave each other alone. I think it's because they have enough ladies and loads of space (no comments neccessary guys) . We just gave them new pasture and they are totally happy... we are getting about 2 dozen eggs a day from 48 hens and that's with out using a light in increase production.. just good old mother nature - loads of fresh grass and bugs...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

my favorite time

It's 7:30 am the sun is behind the hills and the moon has yet to set
It's 20 degrees out side and 47 degrees inside
I step outside into the the sharp air my horse "hurumbles" to me from his stall
I carry the steaming buckets of water to the pigs replacing their hard overnight water
The ground is solid underfoot but covered in a cotton frost
I hear the pheasant cracking through the air with his call and the whispering answer of the goat's bells far up the hill
The sky is blue above the west hill where the moon is settling, and behind me the pink glow of the unrisen sun is creeping in
I go further up the hill to the goats and lama who greet me with with warm noses and frosty wool
I bash through the ice to their water with my steal and then pour out their warm grain and hay
I collect the newly laid morning eggs so they don't expand and crack in this January air
The sun breaks the edge of the east canyon wall and bursts out against the fir trees leaving the moons memory behind them in their bright blue casts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

No photos please

(warning this is not a post for you if your a vegetarian or don't want to really know about your food)

This time no photos for this post as I thought some farm scenes are just not as photogenic as others.

Today we killed and dressed three chickens they where the first three we've killed here at Big Table. While we are not total greenhorns as we have killed a bunch in Napa but with a new place new set up etc. there is always learning to be done.

We have the slaughter down pretty well. Very quiet and peaceful no flapping running etc. Quick clean slit to the jugular as they rest inside a cone upside down. This makes them go quiet and kind of "asleep-like it's really a nice way to do this not so nice job. Then we bleed them out and then into a hot water bath to loosen the feathers. This set up was thanks to Brian with a nice big tub and propane burner so we could make sure the h2o was exactly at the temp we wanted.

The butchering part of the set up was a cutting board set up on a high table on two saw horses. I won't go into all the evisceration details here but I did the first bird and Brian who hadn't done this part of the process yet did the next two to get practiced at it. Again I think we pretty much have it down but definitely getting the process more refined.

This "small test group" made us both feel pretty confident that we can get 20 or so broilers done for our own consumption in one session. So looks like I will be ordering some more peepers in about a month : ) (that will make for good blog photos) ... I feel lucky we can raise our own and be assured of them getting the best possible feed (grain and grass diet) and that they are slaughtered in a low stress, quick, humane way.

So all in all the process went very well and didn't take too long at all. We killed three roosters two young ones from our own babies that hatched back in Early September that was cool to bring things full circle. The other rooster we killed was Percy who is about 8 months older than the other two. All three will be made into chicken apple sausage by Brian with apples we picked from here in September also... maybe I should call the sausage September sausage even if you make it in January.

All in a days work now back at desk as I have huge amounts of design work stacked up it's a VERY busy time of year so back to the real world and the other 1/2 of my life.

Monday, January 14, 2008

ONLY read this post if you eat pork...

Raising animals for food is an amazing experience and I am truly grateful to these animals for their gift of life in all it's forms.

Of course this process has one component that is the hardest part. Which sadly is now upon us with my pigs (for the second time around) ... some might say "how could YOU" well aren't all animals equal? Just because I scratch and care for, feed and clean up after these girls does that mean they deserve to live and other ones deserve to be our food... Brian's Aunt put it best these pigs have a GREAT life and one bad day...(which hopefully is not all that bad - I have the biggest plate of eggs they ever saw planned and then it's one clean "lights out".. hopefully they don't see it coming and therefore no stress.. or as little as possible... really when I die I hope someone is that kind to me.. I'd rather just not know that it's coming... so till that day comes I continue to enjoy them... of course I'm not looking forward to the day but I think writing and thinking about it will get me prepared a bit...

For those on the "pork list" I have a call into the "guy" and as soon as I have a date I'll send out the e-mail like before with an offering of a 1/2 a pig ...

till then love the ones your with : )