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Processed Red Rangers

Last year, we were overall quite pleased with our Red Ranger broilers, but I wished their fat was more yellow than white. Did the fault lie in the breed (which forages a lot more than a Cornish Cross, but a lot less than a "normal" chicken) or in the time of year? To answer that question, we started our chicks a month earlier in 2016 so they'd bulk up while the grass was still green and bugs were still copious.

This week, we harvested half of our current flock. Unfortunately, the fat is still white, pointing to breed as the culprit.

Despite the lower quality fat, I still think Red Rangers are a good compromise for the average homesteader. They're relatively efficient converters of feed to meat, don't die like Cornish Cross, and do produce succulent meat that doesn't require special cooking techniques like heirloom breeds do.

All of that said, in the interest of cutting back our workload so I don't stress myself out again next summer, Mark and I decided to outsource our broiler production to the same folks who provide our pastured lamb each year. So...back to Cornish Cross we go!

Posted Sat Oct 22 06:55:25 2016 Tags:
Goats resting on wooden platform.

A good place to be on a rainy day like today is a wooden platform with your Mom.

Posted Fri Oct 21 15:31:29 2016 Tags:
Sliced figs

I thought I was on the mend with my hummingbird diet...and then I started trying to add a few foods back in and it all went to pot. This is the trouble with uncontrolled experiments where you change more than one variable at a time. Luckily, you can always come up with a new hypothesis and try again.

Low FODMAP diet

So I pored over the internet some more and came up with another alternative --- carbohydrates known as FODMAPs could be irritating my gut. I was leery at first of adding back in delicious ingredients that I'd assumed had far too much fat or fiber for my bowels to handle. But I was thrilled to learn that aged cheeses, oranges, clementines, lettuce, leafy greens, and carrots have all been well received down there as long as I cook the last two into submission to increase digestability. I almost feel like I'm eating real food again!

The plan this time around is to do two weeks of a severely restricted FODMAP diet, then begin trialing the five categories one per week. In case you'd like to start a betting pool, I'm guessing I don't have issues with lactose or galactans but do with fructose and, to a lesser extent, polyols and fructans. Don't you love home science experiments?

Posted Fri Oct 21 07:05:41 2016 Tags:
Roku knife being held with blade half retracted.

The chicken knife is going on 3 years now and is still a good, safe cut.

Posted Thu Oct 20 15:05:27 2016 Tags:

This continues to be our best year ever for broccoli. Most of the increased yield is due to starting the seedlings inside and setting them out at the exact right time from a weather point of view. But this mellow fall has also helped since our second crop has been able to bulk up huge and copious after-florets, producing a crop twice as big as the one a month before.

I still can't eat broccoli, but Mark's been enjoying the tasty treat at least four times a week for months now. We're also filling the freezer for a time when my gut is more pleasant and broccoli is once again back on my menu. (And, yes, I had one very vivid dream about consuming broccoli, so at least I'm getting micronutrients in my sleep. What, that's not normal?)

Posted Thu Oct 20 06:58:54 2016 Tags:
Walnuts dropping in the forest.

This past week has been the week walnuts have decided to do their Winter drop.

Posted Wed Oct 19 15:56:48 2016 Tags:
Anna Late fall
Blackgum leaf

The autumn color in our valley tends toward yellows rather than the fiery reds and oranges you'll see up high. But a few blackgums and other startling leaves trickle in.

According to my weather guru, fall is officially running a little late this year...and I don't mind one bit. A few extra weeks to clean up the garden and slaughter broilers before the frost hits is much appreciated.

Posted Wed Oct 19 06:47:47 2016 Tags:
Winter rye

While Kayla and I were touring Punkin Patch farm last week, we enjoyed a view of the rye field that will provide our homestead's straw in 2017. So green against the autumn brown!

Posted Tue Oct 18 06:17:36 2016 Tags:
Red Rangers in the weeds.

I've noticed how our Red Rangers have been lounging instead of ranging these last couple weeks before their retirement date.

Posted Mon Oct 17 15:40:18 2016 Tags:
Semi-automatic washer

Our new washing machine arrived...and I got so excited I washed pretty much everything I own immediately. After four loads of laundry, I'm ready to give my review --- I love it!

Please keep in mind I've been using a wringer washer for the last ten years, so I have no clue what someone accustomed to a modern American washing machine would think. But I was pleasantly surprised by the capacity (about half of a normal load for me), thrilled by the agitation (clothes end up three times cleaner than in the wringer washer), and impressed by the spin cycle (non-jeans end up dry enough to finish when draped overnight in the house).

The model I purchased does have a lint trap, which is a bit fiddly but pulls out about 60% of the lint. On a less impressive note, the instructions are fascinating as a study in computer translation but are nearly unreadable --- good thing there's a how-to video in the Amazon reviews. The gravity drain system is more positive and removes enough water that I'm pretty sure I can safely store the machine on the porch.

Overall, I'm thrilled with our choice and look forward to dirtying up some more clothes in the near future. Definitely a good addition to our homestead!

Posted Mon Oct 17 07:22:35 2016 Tags:

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