Are we there yet?

Summer has been slow coming to our part of the world. Even the solstice was dark and cold and grey. A few sunny days here & there are keeping the garden going, and the critters are more active. We’ve been harvesting salad greens, but nowhere near last year’s quanitites at this time. The slow start is confirming our hunch that we need some help with microclimate control in the form of hoophouses, cold frames and the like.

We ended up with 3 Welsummer cockerels in the upcoming laying flock, and turned them into ‘Forgotten Chicken’ – 2 cups rice in a medium roasting pan sprayed with non-stick, breasts, thighs & legs (the rest going in the freezer for future stock) liberally sprinkled with salt, pepper & Ms. Dash seasoning. Then 1 can of cream o’ soup, mixed with broth & water (we used 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water), heated to smooth the soup out, and poured over the chicken & rice. Sprinkle a packet of onion soup mix over the top and bake at 200F for 4 hours. Storebought chicken will take less time 😉

We’ve been canning up beef, not just to make room for Patty, but because if/when the power goes out, canned beef is fully cooked and ready to eat, even if you can’t heat it. It’s also a great way to tenderize Doug & Buddy, who had so much fun roughhousing and eating proper cattle food that they didn’t get as squishy and fat as feedlot cows. We can just open a jar (about 1lb beef per pint) and mix with BBQ sauce or add to cooked veggies for stew. You need a pressure canner for canning meat, but it’s well worth the investment.

Here’s Mark taking a bath. This weekend he’ll have a cage mate, which will be quite a change for this 19 year old evil parrot.

The pullets needed a little more space, so we trimmed their wings so they couldn’t fly over the fence, and let them out.

Patty Pig is getting bigger. He loves having the hose on to run through, drink from, and make a wallow. He’s getting a bit pushy, but teaching us a few tricks about pig-keeping that will help with next year’s piggies.

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