Friday, January 20, 2012

Little Bit Of This And That

 This is one of the meat chickens we butchered the other day.  They came out quite tasty if I do say so myself!  I stuffed this one with onions and sage, seasoned the outside and roasted it in my new oven.  It was very juicy and plump.  I think the taste was very similar to the good, organic roasters you get in the stores.  Perhaps a little more texture?  Not tough by any means but just not mushy?  The crispy skin was very flavorful too.  I took half of these (5) and froze them whole and then took the other half and cut up for frying, braising etc.  I froze them according to section; legs, wings etc.  Then, I took the backs and ribs that were left of these and boiled them to make stock.  And it made a beautiful, golden rich broth.  Now, these birds had a significant amount of meat on their backs, so I'll pull the meat off and freeze it for fajitas, pot pies etc.  The skin goes in Chigger food and the bones get thrown in the wood stove.  I read about this as a way to make your own bone ash.  Of course, they are mixed in with wood ash but you can just sprinkle that on parts of your garden that need both. 
These chickens also make several meals as it weighed in at 5 lbs.  Overall I am pleased with these meat birds but I do know several things we will do different next time to differ some of the feeding costs.  Despite a few of them having leg problems they were very active and acted really, well, chicken like.  Not just like blobs of meat laying around.  I have some ideas also to try next time for their leg issues, if we get these again.  I also did some close inspection on the innards as we butchered them to check for health problems.  Some had mentioned the possibility of Marek's in relation to their legs etc. so I really wanted to see what was going on inside, as Marek's has several internal symptoms.  Well, everything looked fine.  Clean, smooth livers and lungs.  I won't go into gory details but everything inside looked healthy.

We also decided to purchase a few more hens to replace those we have lost recently.  Jack found a guy not far from here who had some extra Rhode Island Reds so we got 5.  I checked these out and they have been vaccinated for Marek's and one other thing that slips my mind at the moment.  They are getting used to their new digs slowly.  They guy that had them kept them up in a big coop all the time so I don't know if they ever got to go out on grass and such.  They are a little scrawny looking right now, and mostly missing their tail feathers, but we think they'll fill out fine after they adjust to life here.

The garlic is poking it's first tendrils up due to this unseasonably warm weather.  I bought 2 different types this past fall from and organic supplier, Southern Exposure.  I have been very pleased with their seeds and such so far.  They are always very robust and healthy.  I would highly recommend them if you live in the southern regions.  These are "Inchelium Red" and "Red Toch" and are softneck types.  I am very anxious to see how they do.  I amended their beds well with chicken poo, compost and bone meal before planting.

And last but not least, here is Goober, aka Basement Chicken.  Goober gets to go out everyday, if it's not raining, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  I was putting him in a chicken tractor but decided the best place might be the garden.  Now, Goober can stand up and walk, and even run at times, but his legs are kinda weak so he sits a lot.  He has recently discovered the catnip plant and I often find him face down in it.  He really likes it and he can sit right next to his meat brothers (or sisters) and chat with them.  Even though we have cut the horde down to 8 I'm still kinda hesitant to put Goober back in with them.  I'm afraid they might trample him.  As I said, they are very active.  Jack and I often joked that it would be a horrible thing if one of us had ever tripped and fallen down in their run.  It would be like fluffy, white piranha.  Anyway, since naming Goober and such I think he might be the resident pet chicken but he does have a job.  Due to his infirmity, he doesn't scratch like most chickens and therefore doesn't tear my plants up.  So, he gets to forage the garden and pick weeds and poop.  He also is very quick to snatch up any bugs if they are unfortunate enough to wander too near him.  I'm thinking he may be my squash bug secret weapon.  Just set him down next to the plant and wham!!  They won't know what hit 'em!
Jack has made the first efforts to put in an asparagus bed also.   I really want to get that going this spring along with many new fruit trees.  First though, I've got to finish this kitchen!  My range hood came in the other day so I've got to get busy on that.  So much stuff to do!!


Ed said...

I put off planting fall things such as garlic thinking I might sell my house. I procrastinated enough that I just didn't get it in. If spring comes and I still haven't sold my house, I'm sure I will be battling to plant or not to plant thoughts in my head.

Tom Stewart said...

What type of meat birds did you have? Cornish X or the RED RANGERS? I understand that Reds do much better. Yours look amazing and the roasted one looked good enough to eat right off the screen!

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! Man, I'd be going crazy not being able to plant stuff! But yeah, you don't want to get a bunch of stuff in and then have to move off and leave it.

Hey Tom! These are the Cornish X. Yes, I have read about the Rangers and they seem like a great kind. I really like the white skinned chickens and was very pleased with these except for a few leg issues and maybe we can remedy that next time. If not, we may switch to the Rangers.

HermitJim said...

I should have known I was going to get hungry when I came over here! Gotta have some of that chicken...and I don't even care that much for chicken!

You guys are going to have a beautiful garden and chicken harvest before all is said and done!


Island Rider said...

I love Rhode Island Reds. They are beautiful, friendly and make big brown eggs. I wish we could have chickens again, but I am afraid to try. Too many coyotes and Bobcats around here.

Curmudgeon said...

I'm not that crazy about chicken either but I like a thigh or drumstick once in a while.
I don't understand the chicken wing craze. There is no meat on them. I think they just take the bones back and run them through the dish washer and pour sauce on them for the next customer. I've bought ribs like that too. Drunks will eat anything though. If you put a bowl of salted mothballs on the bar they would clean them out.
I think I liked your chickens better alive.

page said...

I am soooooooooooo impressed---that chicken looks delish and you did the deed yourselves, very admirable. Glad to see Goober is still with us, was afraid to ask. And sounds like she will be a perfect bug pecker in your garden, hee hee.

pamit said...

Happy to see Goober is on his way to becoming the resident pet. Also like the butchering write-up, Annie. I don't eat meat but I'm A-OK with people using animals this way if they are treated well, and you obviously do that.

--Pam in CO

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! thanks man! I love chicken so it's all good to me!

Hey IR! yeah, I like the RIR's too. They are sweet chickens.

Hey Dan! lol! yeah, I think I've had some of those ribs! I like the wings pretty good but they are sometimes scrawny.

Hey Page! yeah, Goober is so domesticated now he's nothing but a big pet.

Hey Pam! Well, we try hard to treat them really good. I can't stand to see any animal unhappy.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for the updates, Annie, even if seeing that first photo made me hungry cause we enjoy chicken and seafood over beef. You guys are really becoming quite self sufficient and that's a great thing to read about. We have been enjoying the veggies from Grenville's gardening in soups this winter.

edifice rex said...

Hey Bea! thanks! well, we are trying to not rely so much on shipped in stuff and it's nice to see some accomplishment in that area. :)

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

Love the roasted chicken Annie. Nice job on everything.

edifice rex said...

Hey Mark! thanks man!