Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Busy as Usual

Well I can finally believe that it's November (now that the month is better than half over...) the trees have been completely striped of their leaves by the cruel wind and rain, snow has fallen, regular deer season has started, and the days are getting shorter.

I'm working at a deer processor's again this year, which is always interesting (managed to slice my thumb pretty good, so I have it all taped up which is making it difficult to type! But so far I've been able to avoid cutting my knuckles off with the bone saw like I did last year which is nice). In the last three days five of us (me boning, two guys cutting and two packaging) have done 72 deer. The guy that owns the place (Mr. S.) hired another cutter this year to help him keep ahead of me, so the days have been a lot shorter this year than last. Today was an especially short day since we only had 17 deer to do. Business is a bit slower this year. And we're faster, which makes business seem really slow. Maybe someday I'll try to do something like what Mr. Kimball did with his "How to Butcher A Chicken" blog except for deer. (although it probably won't be quite as thorough, or as professionally written. But maybe it would help someone)

Mr. W. has had surgery on his foot, and is back home recovering. We aren't cutting deer tomorrow, so I reckon I'll mosey on out there and see what's up. Mr. W. is going to have a really hard time just sitting around with his foot up. Although chances are that it will be harder for his family than for him.

I've got to figure out what I'm going to do exactly with my layers for the winter too. And if it should happen to warm up enough I need to finish up my garden cart. (if I'm home)

Well Supper is ready so I guess I'll go eat.

Till later,


Monday, November 3, 2008

November Already?!?!!

The weather has warmed up again--it's been getting up into the 60's some days--I was reading in Countryside and Small Stock Journal and they called this time of year the second spring. The more we look around we agree.

I can hardly believe that it is already November....What happened to October? I do vaguely remember the tree turning, there are still some leaves on some trees, but I guess it is looking like November sorta. This also means that there are only 11 (can that be right?!?) days left 'till deer season! (Well actually, to be precise firearm season--this year we had an early doe season (Sept. 18-22) bow season (Oct. 1 - Nov. 14) and then we've got regular firearm (Nov. 15 - 30) late bow season (Dec. 1 - Jan. 1 ) (but when it's that cold, and hence you've got that much coat on, who can actually pull a bow back?) overlapping that we have muzzleloading (a type of gun) (Dec. 5 - 21) and finally, late doe season (Dec. 22 - Jan 1)) So all in all we have plenty of opportunity to shoot (ok...hunt) a few deer around here. For some reason this year I haven't got very excited about hunting. I still enjoy it, it's just there's so much work to be done. That's why I haven't gone out with my bow at all this year. That and I already have one in the freezer from early doe season, so I'm not too worried about getting enough for meat. My hunting motivation has kinda done a 180 degree turn. The first couple of years I hunted strictly for enjoyment and fun, this year I'm pretty much just hunting for the meat. My first years, even the thought of seeing a big buck set my heart to beating wildly. This year during early doe I had several good size bucks within range, but they didn't excite me much more that doing the dishes would. For one thing I knew that they were off limits for that season, so even if they were in range I couldn't shoot, so why bother getting excited? Two smaller buck did get into a "fight" a little ways behind me and that was pretty neat to see even if they were just sparing. But anyway venison makes good eating. Around here they're pretty much all corn/soy bean fed so they don't taste much different than beef. In fact some people call them quick beef! (due to the fact that they often run quite quickly--unlike a feed lot beef) The meat (for the most part) is very lean, in fact at the deer processor's where I worked last fall, they recommended adding 20% pork fat just to get some grease in with it. Otherwise you have to add some kind of fat or oil (we often use olive) to get the meat started frying.

My last batch of broilers met the freezers of my customers the last part of September and the egg production is really slacking off. I also helped/taught another family of agrarians butcher some chickens for the first time. It's always pretty neat to meet other people working towards the same goal, whether it be in person or on the internet. One afternoon, a while back, our family had a wood splitting party--we were able to split and stack roughly 13 cords of wood I'd cut last year with Mr. Joe. We have use of a wood splitter so we can move along at a pretty good clip. There's still quite a pile of logs to split yet, so hopefully we will end up with enough to keep up through the winter--I figure that we need about 25 cords to last us. Although if the winter is as long and hard as some people say it's gonna be (and I hope it is) we may need more like 30 cords. I reckon we'll find out.

We've had several hard frosts, but now it is getting back up into the 60's. My "fall" garden planting is still going strong (I think, haven't actually checked it for a day or two), but the tomatoes are toast. We had them covered but the frost still got them. So much for tomatoes at Thanksgiving--I'll have to try again next year.

The colors were especially beautiful this year, and I even got some pictures. These are at the W. family's farm.

I took these from the top of their grain bin-- some sheep and a few green fields:

They had their woods logged this summer/fall--if you look carefully, you'll see some big equipment in the right side of the photo back by the woods:Here's a close up:
And this is their small stack of round bales:

Well, I’d better run along--TTFN! (as Tigger always said)