Summer

I let the Cornish Cross meat birds have the run of the backyard until their D-day. They love getting out of their pen in the morning and eating breakfast and then being lazy for most of the afternoon an nestling into the green grass and shade in the yard. I never would have thought I would raise my own meat or have 30 chickens in city limits even though there’s no limit. And we have the country alarm clock that is Big Daddy the Rooster.

Sure there is chicken poop in the grass but I wear flip flops.Every day I come out to check on the bean and cucumber plants and tomatoes. I know that we will actually have tomatoes this year which is exciting! Our summers are really hit and miss and I get really grumpy if we don’t have a real summer when you can get in a pool or have lemonade and turn on the a.c.

Big Daddy eats a lot and it’s not at all profitable to keep him except for he sort of could protect the ladies in the event of a raccoon attack. That and the issue of I would miss hearing him crow and his girlfriend, named girlfriend, would miss him. Chickens have a social structure and it’s always interesting to watch.

In the start of the Summer i put an ad on craig’s list for selling eggs but no one contacted me so I have been giving them to my parents and neighbors and we have been eating them for breakfast. I will also always bring deviled eggs if invited to a party!

I have remembered to dry herbs and actually use them this summer which is good. In the past I wouldn’t snip them until fall and then not get as much as I could have had I been harvesting all along. I dried some of the herbs and then hung the lavender boughs to dry in the garage. I have been doing well with picking the comfrey leaves as I hope to use them in some salves I make this fall. I made two salad dressings and one herbal vinegar yesterday and also bottled the first 5 bottles of May Day Mead. It is called such as I  could made it on May 1 or 2. On Sunday I started a batch of honey ale with my friend and it looks great and was really easy so I hope it tastes good. We had leftover yeast and hops in the fridge so we used those plus honey and a small grain bill as it’s called. When I was at the brewing store I also noticed how many different grains there are and how fun it will be to make up our own recipes. We have already done this before but not starting from the idea to the brew. The meat birds ate and loved the extra spent grain from brewing and then I used the rest in bread and froze another pack for later. Everyone in the family liked the bread too so that was good.

There are U-pick blueberries and raspberries that we have been picking. I think we picked 18 pounds of blueberries over one week (two different places) and then 10 pounds of raspberries at two different places on different days. I have my first choice for blueberries and first choice for raspberries even though we tried picking at another place when the other was closed for ripening. I get set in my ways which is kind of annoying.

The last 4-H meeting we didn’t go to as my allergies were really bad and I was tired. It’s the first one we have missed and I am hoping to do some poultry ed. at home in the next week too. The chicken that Melody will be handling for showmanship is a very sweet bird and lets her do all kinds of things to her without too much protest. I still haven’t gotten used to the tiny size of the bantam eggs!

I am still planning on having someone else process the meat birds one time and then use the small earnings in profit to buy an incubator. We have fertile eggs but no one to sit on them. It’s kind of frustrating because I want to buy an incubator and “save” the eggs so we have meat chicks but on the other hand I have to pay to have the first round processed and then the eggs hatch at 21 days so I would have another round of meat birds before fall sort of. I could sell eggs and use the money for an incubator too but I have to post an ad again I guess. My neighbors pay $3 a dozen and my friend pays $4 instead of getting them at the store which is great. My parents served the eggs to friends from out of town and they raved about them and my Grandma who is 92 wants more of my eggs to eat when my Mom goes to visit. When my neighbor’s mother was that age and in failing health they would take my eggs to her house and cook them for her as that was one of the only things she would eat. That always made me feel good.

Foraging wise we are in between right now. I forage for tons of apples and blackberries but not till end of August and the apples are September October. I learned my lesson last year with putting the apple cider in plastic bottles instead of glass though. I need to find out how best to keep cider if it’s ok to keep them in the old plastic soda bottles or if I should get new ones so there’s a fresh seal or?

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