Monday, August 31, 2009

Can it be true?

It feels like fall this morning, and I am wondering where did the summer go? This summer has been a blur. We didn't take any big trips this summer. The kids weren't involved in any extra activities this summer. Yet here it almost September and I don't know where the summer went.

Life in the 100 Acre Woods is just busy. Though this is only my third post all month (when have I ever posted so little?) there is just always something going on around here. We have new ducks. Got them from the neighbor mentioned in the previous post. They are Muscovy. Really quite ugly, but are supposed to be good layers. (the picture isn't actually our duck, but you get the idea. photo credit: Keith Watson.)

And if you aren't on Facebook, you may have missed Tim's photos of the excavator. First it got stuck on the hillside, and then it flipped when they were trying to get it out. It is right side up now, but still stuck on the hill.

Then of course there are the gardens which we expanded this year. I haven't done as much canning this year as last, but all the produce still keeps me busy. We are now trying to figure out what to do with all the sunflowers. We planted 1 1/2 rows, and they were gorgeous, but you don't really realize how many flowers and seed that leaves you with. It is crazy!

This summer there is also work off the farm. That probably is what makes everything seem so busy to me. I'm gone all weekend and Tuesday night. It really makes a huge difference when it comes to getting things done around here, but it also makes a huge difference in getting rid of debt.

But yesterday, before work, I glanced at my planner for this week, and it was blank! Blank?! I have to work Tuesday night, but other than that, no where else I have to go?! No appointments?! No co-op commitments?! Nothing! Nada! Yippee!

I have no words to describe how incredibly happy an empty schedule makes me. There is still plenty to do. I have laundry as always. There are apples to can, and fall garden to finish planting. There are a few good sales I want to organize coupons for and take advantage of, but I can do it when I want instead of trying to squeeze it in between the things on the calendar. It is freedom, I tell ya.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Different Strokes

We've all been created so differently. There are physical difference, and differences in how we think and our emotional make up. Most times I can appreciate the beauty in those difference. Other times I am just dumb struck by them, and look at people and think, I just don't get you.

Recently a commenter at a different blog mentioned a family member who has apple trees in her yard. The family member refuses to use the apples from that tree, yet she goes to the store and buys the same variety of apples!?! I would love to have my own apple trees, and enjoy picking from the neighbors who are so kind to share with us. I just don't get letting apples in your own yard sit while you go and buy some from the store.

In an example closer to home, we have a neighbor who keeps a variety of animals similar to our farm here. They have a small breed of cows, ducks, chickens, goats, and a donkey. They have spent a lot of time, and money I am sure, to build fences for these animals. They have a small barn, and of course have to buy feed for these animals. Yet, every single one of these animals are pets. Yes, you read right, they are pets. Eggs are not gathered. Milking does not occur. Butchering is a dirty word.

These neighbors are really nice. I like them, but I don't understand them at all. They aren't vegans or vegetarians. They go to the store to buy meat and animal products. I know I tend to be a very practical person, and maybe that is why this behavior is so bewildering to me, but I just do not understand this mentality.

As a consequence of eggs not being gathered, these neighbors have roughly three dozen ducks they want to give away. We were hoping to take quite a few, some to replace the stock we lost to predators this summer, and some to fatten to butcher. It isn't going to happen. We will probably get a few for breeding and egg purposes, but our neighbor "just wouldn't feel right" giving them to anyone who will be butchering the ducks. *bewildered look* "I just don't get you."

Different strokes for different folks. People are free to grow whatever fruit or animals, not intended for consumption, they want. I know what kind of money goes into feed and fence and shelter around here. If you want to spend that kind of money on pets, I don't understand it, but c'est la vie.

I have to wonder though, how we have become so disconnected from our food that we would rather buy our food from the store than eat the food we raise ourselves. That nicely packaged T-bone in the grocers cooler also once belonged to a gentle cow with big brown eyes. Only you don't know what that cow was fed, what it was injected with, how it was treated, or anything else about it.

Yes, our animals are cute. Yes, I sometimes get a little attached. But in the end, this family needs to eat. I would much rather feed them with meat and produce that I've been in close contact with from the beginning, than to spend our hard earned money to buy the end result of someone else tending my food.

But that is just me.

I'm sure many are now looking at me and thinking, I just don't get you.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Goat is Good

Goat meat (chevron) is one of the most popular meats worldwide. Somehow its popularity has skipped America where we favor the larger cows and hogs for our meat source. Goat meat also is very nutritious. check out this video about goat meat. And this link contains nutritional information. Thanks to Goats in the Garden for the links.

Even knowing all these facts, I was a little hesitant to try goat meat. We recently had three goats butchered. So, I was really hoping that goat meat was as good as I've been reading.

When we try new meat I like to make something simple with it. I want to taste the meat, not the spices or other things added to it. The first Chevron we made was spare ribs. I put them in the crock pot with some sliced onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. They cooked on low all day long.

They were delicious; very tender with an excellent flavor. The flavor reminds me a bit of venison, but it isn't as dry and there is no gamey flavor. It reminded me most of lamb (young lamb, not mutton which can have a strong flavor.)

Goats are fabulous for clearing out the woods and mowing the driveway. They also are very nutritious, and delicious. I can see why it is such a popular meat worldwide. I am glad to have a freezer full of it, and more coming!