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Archive for June, 2011

OK, so we’ve been nibbling on lettuces and radishes for a wee while now, but now it’s June, finally the veg in the polytunnel has taken off enough for us to harvest a decent meal’s worth at last. I couldn’t help but smile 🙂

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(WARNING – POST POTENTIALLY UNSUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS, OR PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE TO THINK TOO DEEPLY ABOUT WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM!!)

So we bought some day old Hubbard broiler chicks.

They grew….

And grew….

And ate, and grew….

Until finally twelve weeks later, they were ready for the table.

Now, let’s be honest here, this is far closer than most people will ever get to the source of their food, and part of the reason I did this was to see if I had it in me to raise an animal from one day old to fully grown, and then kill it for food. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice to say, we did the most difficult job as humanely as we could, as befits a bird grown with care, in free range conditions.

The final dressed weights ranged from 2.5 to 3 kg (5.5 to 6.5lb).

And yes, I have to say, they did taste delicious!

So, is it something we’ll do again?  Yes, definitely. Mind you, next time will have to wait until I have more time on my hands, since the sheer effort of killing, plucking, and drawing 25 birds was quite considerable. Naturally raising table birds is not something that everybody can do, and nor is it something that most people would want to do (in fact, it didn’t even save us any money compared with buying from the supermarket!). However, I did feel a certain pride at eating an animal that we’d reared ourselves, knowing that it had lived the happiest life possible, albeit for only three months. What’s more, the freezer is now full of enough delicious chicken to keep us going until Christmas……. by which time of course, the turkeys will be ready! 🙂

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Newts!

Well how’s this for a surprise? Our tiny wee pond has a population of resident newts!

I find this pretty amazing, given that it’s only a couple of metres wide, and is dabbled in daily by the geese, and pecked around by the hens. However, we counted half a dozen swimming about one evening.

We’re pretty sure they’re palmate newts. Here’s an adult and a baby that we scooped up just so we could identify them.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make me smile!

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With all these chicks running around, and half a dozen day old turkeys ready for collection tomorrow, I needed some more drinkers. Luckily our neighbour showed me a neat little design that he has been using for years:

All it is, is an empty lemonade bottle with the base glued into an old plant-saucer. There is then a 6mm hole drilled right near the base of the bottle (for reference, the water level will come up to just above the top of the hole). As you can see, the bottle does compress a little as it empties, so use the thickest you can find. However, this doesn’t affect the function at all.

Nice and simple!!

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