Thursday, September 2, 2010

and we have a winner!!

Wow. I haven't posted since the 16th? Ooopsy. I've been busy with other things and just plain forgot to write in the blog. So.....guess I better do an update.

Tuesday was a landmark day here. I spent the morning butchering 7 more free chickens, then the rest of the day picking from the garden and berries. I came inside after weighing everything individually, and added it all to the list. We finally did it. The total came to 1002 1/4 pounds of produce off our one acre! I'm still in awe that we reached that much, but we did it. I did have to laugh since it was, of all things, brussel sprouts that took it over the 1000lb mark. I never imagined that we could produce that much food here. Not in my wildest dreams. It's been a lot of work, but well worth it. Now we have to sit down and set a goal for next season. Hmmmm....2000???

We would have had quite a bit more if it weren't for corn smut/fungus and for the %&#@! moles taking a large chunk of the potato crop again. Out of 190 feet of corn, we managed to get maybe 20 small ears. With that fungus and unusual weather this summer, the corn was a big disappointing bust. Our cucumbers were a total loss as well. Not a single one at all. This weather has been hard on everything this summer, and the garden has been no exception. I see a lot of local backyard gardens as well as full scale farms with losses this year. Our corn only grew to maybe 5 feet tall, but looks giant compared to a few farms I have seen in the area. We just haven't had any steady rain, and it's been mostly hot and humid. Ohio just doesn't normally see temps in the 90's like we have.

This year I've also set a new record. Free chickens. As of Tuesday, I have butchered 31 chickens for FREE. Last year topped at 22. Granted, none of them have been a larger meat breed, but free chicken is free chicken. The word spread fast through friends that I'll take young birds, and I check our local Craigslist every day. The last 5 were rather funny. I got a message on Facebook from my neighbors daughter about a friend making a post regarding 3 month old roosters that needed a home. A few calls and a few days later, I came home with them to butcher. They had, like so many others I have talked to, purchased sexed chicks from Tractor Supply only to find out that they were wrong and had half to mostly roosters. ( I suppose cockeral is the correct term but I'll just say roosters) I don't mind them being smaller birds, especially with 31 of them. The biggest I have butchered weighed in at 4 1/4 pounds, but they are averaging at 3 1/2. Everyone is used to seeing the larger cross bred meat birds weigh a lot more, but these are just average sized birds. Think that before there were meat breeds, we all ate normal sized chickens. We don't mind one bit. Another goal set and met-not buying factory meat from the grocery store. 31 chickens should last us a good long time.

Today is supposed to be unusually hot again, so I won't be doing much outside. I have green beans to can, and one last cooler full of peaches to cook down for jam or peach butter. If all goes well, we'll spend one day this weekend making blackberry jam since there are around 30 pounds of berries in the freezer waiting. We have more grape jelly to make from frozen grapes from our place, and I have grapes and apples to pick next door. While we're doing jam this weekend, we'll also do a few big batches of pickled green beans, and I'm going to make a batch of "fireballs", which are green cherry tomatos pickled with hot peppers. I saw the recipe on one of the boards that I frequent and have to try it. I love hot & spicy foods, and I love pickled, so this is one I *have* to try.

  Well.....think I'm gonna go shave my nappy face since I've missed shaving for a good 3-4 days, then get started on the canning. The sun is coming up strong and it will soon be hot again. blah

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