Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good days....whew

Yesterday I responded to my friend Tammie from our local homesteading group, and went there to get 2 3x3 foot skylights she got from freecyle. While we were talking, she mentioned that she wanted me to take one of her doe rabbits. She ended up with one buck and 3 does, and it was a bit much for her. I gladly took the doe and the skylights and she pointed out the fencing she had taken down, and the shed that will soon be gone. (sold) She's not going to get goats again, so the whole area can be opened up again, and a new coop built on top of her hill. I asked what she wanted to do with the fencing, and she told me to just take it. It took 2 trips to get everything home, but luckily she's just 5 minutes away. On the last trip, I put together a box of tools that she might need since she's taken to woodworking and left them at the back door. I hate just taking things and giving nothing in return.

The fencing will be more than enough to cover the frame I made from the remnants of the storm-destroyed carport. It's going to be 15 feet long, 8 feet wide, and around 4 or 5 feet tall to the top of the round top of the frame. I wouldnt mind the 3 foot height it is now with no legs, but Lisa wants to be able to get in and see the girls, lol. It's a good idea for cleanout anyway, so it will be taller. I'll have a door at one end, and the other end will attach to the coop, which the skylights were for. My plan is to put one of the skylights in the roof of the coop. It will let light in earlier in the day, but since its dark tinted/smoked, it wont be too much heat. I may use both in the roof, depending on how it all lays out. Besides, it will save on materials that I have to buy, which is important right now with the layoff. Since the poles and fittings are just slip-fit, I'll be putting in self-tapping sheet metal screws at each joint. That way its a bit stronger, and won't want to come apart when I move it into place. The forecast calls for mid 50's tomorrow and through the weekend, so I plan on doing as much as I can on the whole thing.

On Sunday, the group recived an email from Marissa, (who has the rescue/shelter I got the roosters from), and she had 6 more young roosters. I emailed her on Monday and picked them up yesterday. I should have taken care of them yesterday as soon as I got home, but it was just too cold. I really didn't want to be out there with wet chickens for a few hours in 25 degree weather. I put them in the garage in cages, gave them feed and water, and let them go till today. I waited till just after noon to get started since the front of the garage area where I work at was in full sun. Surprisingly, it got pretty warm as I was butchering them. Things went a bit better than the last 5 did lol I was wayyyyy out of practice in cleaning birds. It's been over 15 years since I've cleaned a pheasant, and at least 7 or 8 since I've dealt with waterfowl, but things fell into place more with each bird. By the time I got to the last one, time seemed to fly and I was carrying in a cooler of 4 cleaned birds for Lisa to wash, wrap, and get in the freezer. So, that makes 9 I have cleaned in the past 2 weeks. 2 went to Farmergeek and Divahick, 1 was dinner while they were here that same day, and 6 are in the freezer....not bad for free eh????

I almost forgot about the doe, oops. Tammie had told me she thought they had all bred already, but as soon as I got her home, I put her in with my buck. He took right to her, YAY! I was seriously beginning to think I had the worlds first gay rabbit, lol. MAYBE now that he's had a bit of *ahem* "experience", I'll put the first doe in with him and see what happens. If it's nothing, I may keep her for a possible future buck, but that all depends on how the first litter goes from doe #2. No lol I still haven't named them, maybe I'll come up with something soon....but I've been saying that since I first got them. I'm tryin to think of good metalhead kinda names, lol....maybe Biff, Wendy O, and Leather. Only from me, the headbanging urban homesteader, hahahahaha.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Prepacked, precooked, prepared?

Just when I thought I had seen everything, Lisa finds this in a grocery store ad on Saturday. Seriously......are people REALLY getting this lazy?? Pre-cooked, pre-peeled, pre-packaged hard boiled eggs. (actually it says "cooked", whatever that might mean)

It amazes me what can be found in stores now. Sometimes Lisa and I just have to laugh out loud at them. Some are so silly it's rediculous. We've seen frozen bread dough, frozen PB&J sandwiches, "baby" carrots, (that one makes me laugh every time), toaster this, microvable's just insane. A walk down the freezer section of the grocery store is as entertaining as it is sad.

Let me tell a quick story on this very subject. A few years ago, Lisa and I had a visitor from out of town, and by out of town, I mean New Zealand. Yes, believe it or not, a long time internet friend came to visit US from the other side of the globe for a few months. After the first day or 2 with her here at home, Lisa needed to get some groceries. She took our friend there, and watched her amazement at the isles of frozen food. Our friend was totally shocked. Apparantly in NZ, frozen food is rare, and is actually more expensive than regualar old make-it-yourself food. She wanted to try a few of these frozen delacasies and purchased her own to bring home. After the first bite of her "frozen box o' goodness", she was apalled at the flavor of it and it ended up going to our dogs. She told us of how people there cook 3 meals a day. She told us of roadside markets and huge family dinners for no reason other than just to cook. She told us stories of a world that we could only dream of.... a world that used to exist here in this country.

So, what is it that american's find so appealing about all of this pre-whatever food? Is it a lack of knowing how to cook? Is it a lack of real time to prepare a meal? Is it convienence? Is it laziness? Is it just the cost? I'm going to say it's (for the most part), a combination of all of the above. As each new generation comes into play, kitchen knowledge gets lost or pushed aside for may reasons. People spend more time doing things to keep them out of the house. People just want food, and want it NOW. But mostly, people simply don't want to take the time to spend in the kitchen. Computers, video games, gyms, soccer games, shopping, movies, etc all take priority to our food. People make time for everything else in their lives BUT what they eat, then wonder why there are so many health problems in this country. The answer is simple, it stares them in the face every day. It's not the mirror in the bathroom, but the reflection of yourself in that magical plastic wrap over that Starvin' Dude meal you just took from the microwave. Look into it and ask "why am I eating this?".

Maybe I'm just spoiled since I get good meals every day. I'm lucky enough to be married to someone who loves to cook and bake. While many people I know spend their weekends running here and there, Lisa spends her time in the kitchen. She bakes bread for the week. She makes a huge pot of chicken soup to last the week. She will make a big batch of biscuit dough, cut it into shape, and freeze them for easy to heat biscuits whenever we want them. She will make 2 or 3 casseroles at a time, with the 1 not eaten that day going into the freezer. I'm a lucky man. These are the only "frozen" foods I get. Food is not only what we need to survive, but food is a gift for us. What we eat is special. What we eat has taken our time, energy, or money to grow, raise or buy the ingredients. The preperataion was from a loving wife that loves to cook, and even more, loves to watch people enjoy WHAT she makes. We have the privelige and honor to know that most of what we eat came from our own two hands, and not from a box out of the freezer.

Now if only someone gave me details on how to properly "cook" and peel those tricky hard

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