Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Freezer's are Full!


One of our goals here at the farm is to raise as much food as we can for ourselves.  That can be difficult when there is just over an acre of land so we have done as much here as we can and gone to other farmers for the rest.

We are able to raise all of our own chickens for fresh beautiful eggs.  If you don't think there is a difference between farm fresh and store bought you would be sadly mistaken.  Ours have been on "strike" for a couple of months so we have had to purchase our eggs.  Even with buying the cage free ones we notice such a huge difference.  Besides there is nothing like going to the hen house and getting breakfast (or dinner) fresh!

We also raise meat birds that we butcher ourselves.  We did two different batches of breeds this year to experiment.  Our usual Jumbo Cornish X Rocks are the typical "grow quickly" bird.  They are bred for that with the bonus being that you spend less on feed.  The first year with the birds was not a good one for us. They got so big so fast that we lost many to broken legs and they would just die suddenly.  They are not a pretty bird.  The next year we decided to see what "free ranging" them would do.  We used our two chicken tractors until they were big enough and then put them in with our small goat herd.  This was two-fold for us, one, the birds turned out beautiful, still large but not at all unhealthy and they grazed and cleaned up the goat droppings.  I know that sounds gross, but that is what chicken are made for.  Read some of Joel Salatin's books if you don't believe me!  This year we also tried a breed called "Freedom Rangers". These too are hybrid birds but not in the growth factor.  You will have to keep them longer and feed them more, but the beauty in these birds is that they were bred to free range (hence the name) and they did beautifully in this capacity.  For Thanksgiving Mom and Dad McCausey and Grandma did the official taste test for the farm.  They roasted one of each of the breeds that we raised.  They were both good, but the Freedom Rangers were by far a better tasting bird.  Again if you haven't compared farm raised and store bought chicken, you are missing out!!  We will raise birds again this coming spring and the Freedom Rangers will be our choice.  
We purchased ours here , another small farm to support.




We have raised turkeys the last 5 years or so.  We have heritage breed Royal Palms right now.  They are a beautiful bird and wonderful tasting.  Again, if you are looking for a 25 pound huge bird, you won't find it in these (although we did dress one out at 19 pounds!).  We need to rethink our ideas of foods and what it looks like and these big sizes only come from breeding and other practices that are unnatural.  After two years of trying to hatch out our own turkey pullets and a scheduled visit to our freezer, our female finally hatched out one chick this past summer.  So the freezer trip was cancelled and "Tom", "Jenny" and "Tiny Tim” live one more year to see if we can get a few more this coming summer.  One (from last year) will proudly grace our Christmas Day table as we celebrate.

We raise fiber animals, angora rabbits, pygora goats and alpacas here also, but these are off limits for any butchering! LOL

The two things that we purchase from others are our cow and pig.  We purchased a half of a cow from Scott's uncle who raises grass-fed Angus beef.  We filled most of our freezers with that a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday I picked up the final addition to our freezer which was a 216 pound dressed-out pig that was mainly free ranged by friends of ours at their small farm.

Knowing where most of our food comes from and how it was raised is why we do what we do, and having freezers and shelves full this winter is a wonderful blessing for us.

Wishing all of you Merry Christmas and blessings from our farm to yours!