Friday, April 12, 2013

We Got ...

The garlic I planted in the fall is growing. I grew enough garlic in a 4'x 4' bed last year that I still haven't bought garlic ... and I still have a lot left.



I picked up our first ten baby chicks today. We'll raise a total of forty over the whole summer - ten at a time. These are Cornish X, and whatever people say, whatever the complaint, for us, because we have such a limited area in which to grow them, the Cornish X, which only need eight to ten weeks to reach maturity, are our best choice. Forty chickens will give us enough chicken for the whole year.



Some measure wealth in dollars or gold or jewels or a big house and a fancy car. I measure wealth in the ability to feed my family, in being able to sustain ourselves - even if money gets scarce. And by that measure, we are rich ... indeed.

12 comments:

  1. Do you butcher your own chickens or bring them to a processor? I am interested in raising meat birds, but I don't think I could butcher them myself.

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  2. We take them to a local butcher.

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  3. I am about to plant my garlic - autumn here in Oz. There is nothing so satisfying as harvesting a year's worth of garlic. How exciting to see it coming up.

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  4. Amen, Sista Wendy. @ GrafixMuse- I always used to say that until I did my first duck. It was not hard as I expected, because I knew how well she had been cared for, how well she had eaten, how she'd been able to hunt for bugs and roam the yard. Even that I was able to offer her a quick death with an axe and a stump was a comfort to me. Really. I'm a little hesistant on the rabbits, but I'll figure it out somehow.

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  5. I need to plant some garlic, I love the stuff! I'd do chickens too if I had more room...

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  6. I would add that we have butchered chickens before, and it's not hard, but it does take time. We take them to a butcher, because they have the facility and the time to handle the volume of birds. No, ten at a time isn't a lot - for someone who has the proper set-up -, but for us it would be an all day project. With the goal of raising enough chickens for the year, we don't have the time or set-up to easily handle that quantity of birds.

    We do butcher our own rabbits, and our goal is the same as Penny - to do it as quickly and as humanely as possible.

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  7. My garlic was such a bust. I planted it in the fall--or what I thought was fall--and then we had a warm spell so everything rotted in the ground. Bah! Ah well, I popped a few cloves in the ground a couple of weeks ago and they seem to be doing OK. We'll see!

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  8. I had not been looking forward to butchering my turkeys, considering I would have to locate a huge pot for scalding and build a fire in my tiny backyard, something the neighbors would appreciate, I am sure. Not to mention, I'm six months along. Thanks to your post, I contacted a buther shop in my area. $4 per turkey. Well worth it, so thanks!

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  9. Awesome, Penny! ;). We pay $4 per bird, also, and while, sometimes, we kind of think about how much we could save if we just did it ourselves, most of the time we realize what a service they are doing for us.

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  10. $2 for a chicken, if you can believe it, but the Amish around here do everything for less money than anyone else (and do a better job, I might add). :) The Amish woman who watches my son gave me the best compliment of my life. Her brothers had married outside of the faith, their wives converting to the Amish way of life. They weren't able to adapt, and she confided in me that most of the "English", as they call us, who convert aren't able to stick it out. She looked at me and then said, "I think you could do it, though." Best. Compliment. Ever!

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  11. I just came across your blog the other day and I'm enjoying getting caught up on the postings.
    I'm currently living in New Mexico, but because of the lack of water here I'm thinking of relocating to Maine, where my dad and brother live, so I'm interested to read about your experiences homesteading there.

    I don't have chickens and I didn't know how much it cost to have them butchered. 4$ seems like a lot, I thought it would be cheaper, given how much they cost at the grocery store. But that's not a good comparison, I guess, given that you know how they've been raised and fed, and they weren't factory farmed.

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  12. Hi, MisAnthrope - Welcom! Maine is a great place to live ... and with an average of 180 days of precipitation per year, we have plenty of water ;).

    I should note that your experience here will vary depending on where you land - with some places a lot more lenient with regard to homesteading than others. Many towns are now adopting "chicken ordinances", and many others never have had any, or just flat-out prohibit all "farm animals" within the city limits. One thing I do love is that Maine State law prohibits municipalities from passing laws prohibiting clotheslines, and I actually saw a clothesline suspended between two chimneys on a roof in Portland, Maine. It was a very cool sight to see - totally made my day :). That said there are some neighborhoods that have HOAs that are pretty rigid about such things. Be sure to know what the rules are before you buy or rent a property.

    I never considered that $4 for butchering was a lot, but I don't have anything to compare it to. That seems to be the going rate in my area. We raise our chickens to be between 7lbs and 12lbs when they get butchered, which means the average cost-per-pound for organically-raised, free-range (out in the sunshine), bug-eating chickens is around $1.90/lb. I haven't bought chicken at the grocery store in a very long time, and so I don't know if that's a lot these days. We do know that we could save a bundle by doing it ourselves, and some day, if we have more time than money, that's what we'll do.

    I hope you'll hang out and share your stories. If you have a blog, I'd love to have you share a link on the "yearbook" page ;).

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