Sunday, April 26, 2009
Look what stepped out of a story book
We picked up our meat chicks on Friday.Their breed name is Le Poules which is French (I am told) for Chicken.As I mentioned before they are also called Colored Range Chickens. We were lucky and met the Farmer who raises these cuties and boy did he teach us a thing or two about raising various poultry.
We had just arrived at Urban Farm Store when Pete (the chicken Farmer)walked in with a box full of peeping.I was not prepared for the sweetness of these little ones. They looked just like some one had opened a story book and out they popped,little, fluffy, buttery and barely 2 days old.
After this gushing I suppose it is confession time. I think it may be a bit hard to butcher these guys.This is the first time I have been part of the raising of meat chickens from the start.In the past we either bought the Hens from a Farmer or my Dad had raised them at his house where I did not live full time. So I totally missed this darling phase of my Chicken dinners life.And on top of their cuteness they are damn smart already.If they were dependable layers I would add them to my future needs list. I will get to the point of it being ok to butcher them.I am already mostly there.As soon as they get to the in between stage where they are kind of homely and they start to drive my allergies nuts I will REALLY be ok with it.
Chance and I have been reading up on chicken butchering.We realize that we know what to do and how to do it safely but teaching is another thing.Mainly knowing as many answers to questions as we can.Like cooling them in the fridge verses cold water.Before the answer would be, well in the fridge because that was how I was taught to do it.Now I can tell you the difference in the two methods.Air cooled (the fridge) birds are best.They cook quicker,giving you a tastier and more tender dinner with the crispy-est skin.The water cooled birds are how you get them at the store and are water logged.This dose mean you are paying for water weight at the store,yuck. The water causes the bird to need a longer cooking time.When the bird is in the oven it is actually steaming not roasting because of all of the water.You can not get the amazing crispy skin on these birds either.
Another thing about Chicken Butchering we have learned is a style of butchering that just sound awful even to Chance.All I will say is it involves sticking a knife down the chickens throat.GASP! WRONG WRONG no way no how.Lets do it quick and swift that is the kindest way to do it.
We also learned that Chicken blood like all blood is high in nitrogen. A person can put the blood from butchering on their compost piles.To do this you mix the blood with some water and pour that mixture over your compost pile.I would think in small amounts since no one wants to have their compost smelling awful or attracting unwanted yard/garden guests.
Word is getting out about our class in July.I can not believe how many places have picked up on it.The coolest thing so far is it has been all women to sign up.Early birds get the worm they say so come on guys get your spots while there are some left.We have had to limit the class to 10 people.Partly due to space but also because of the time frame we have.This is a hands on skill to learn and the small class size will enable us to work with every one closely.
The rest of Hrafinstaad is green and budding. I noticed today our Grape is starting to leaf out.It will soon be time to can some of the young leaves for Stuffed Grape Leaves. The Strawberries are almost ready to bloom.With the next posting I will have lots of photos of the different areas.It has been awhile since I have posted a photo of the Hay Bales.When I look out at the garden now and think back to the empty gray photos I posted at the begining of my blog; I can not believe it is the same place.
It is still a few weeks until the next round of plantings.So until then I'll be busy learning other Homesteading skills.Tomorrow I am looking into making home made Mozzarella Cheese.The receipe says it only takes 30 minutes.Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it went.