Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I want to be successful at feeding my family without dependance on stores

Before I left for my InDesign class this evening, I spent a few minutes reading over at TCF. Alchemist posted a link and quote from the entry Bacon at cryptogon.com. What a heavy topic--yowsa.

Kevin is right, you know. We can hypothesize and offer conjecture all we want, but when it's time to get the chicken (or pig) ready for the pot, can we do it? The whole subject of feeding my family has been on my mind for a long time. I love to garden, but I'm still a horrible veggie gardener. The edible yield of my garden, besides herbs, has been paltry at best.

You know how Lew digs Ted Nugent? We've watched Ted Nugent's reality show on OLN a few times. One show we caught featued a lesson on butchering your own chicken, and the contestants had to do just that to eat their evening meal. Most got right to business, but a few couldn't do it. "Could you do that?" he asked me, and I didn't know how to answer. I wanted to say yes, but the truth is that I'd probably have to be pretty hungry to do that.

I know Lew has the fortitude to properly, and respectfully, handle feeding his family. When he's been successful at deer and elk hunting, he's taken care of handling the animal himself. He does a wonderful job at keeping the animal clean and fresh. I don't know how he can do it, myself, but I'm thankful for his gifts.

Kevin's Bacon post hung around while I was in class, and I thought about it some more on the way home. I telephoned Lew before I left campus, to see if he stopped and picked up some milk. He said to hurry home-- he bought me a present and we needed my rig to pick it up.

What did Lew buy for me tonight? He picked up 60 landscaping bricks off of Craigslist, so I can finish the veggie garden wall I started last year, and to do some of the terracing I'd like to do on the north side of our lot, to fashion more functional garden spots. I don't think I've mentioned it before, here at Yak Attack, but Lew and I are connected by the belly-button. No matter how far apart we are, we pick up each other's vibe. I can't explain it. We've known each other for over 23 years, and this is how it's always been. I haven't told him what I was thinking about this evening, but it won't surprise him a bit when I do.

Kevin is right on the money. We need to practice now, before we have to function in trying circumstances. I've been trying to challenge myself to do just this, and Lew never ceases in amazing me, as he helps me along the way.


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Mark said...

lewlew said:

I want to be successful at feeding my family without dependance on stores

So, what's all this survivalist stuff? Is the end of the world really that close?

Meanwhile, enjoy the division of labor. It's one of the very best ideas humans ever had.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Don Bangert said...

Amen to division of labor! Work smart, not hard.

My wife and I have raised chickens in the past, but we had a "unique" arrangement with another friend. I've asked her to share it with you (she was more "hands on" with it than I).

At 9:43 PM, Blogger April said...

He would say that...he's the work smart....I'm the work hard. :)

It's been probably 6-7 years ago that we raised 25 chickens to put in the freezer. We are unable to have "livestock" in the "community" we live in so I arranged to raise them on a friends farm. She was raising close to 100 herself so my 25 didn't make much difference to her. I purchased our fair share of food for the 10-12 week raising period and then I went over and helped with the butchering/packaging day.

First I need to let you know, in case you don't already, that the chickens normally raised for meat are of a type that do not live long term. They are meant to only be around between 10-14 weeks. As they get older they keep growing and can eventually will die on thier own or be crippled if you don't butcher. They were bred for the purpose of being only meat producers. They are not the "cute" or "pretty" egg layers. In fact they are quite ugly by the time you put them into the freezer.

Although we did watch some of the Nuge's shows...I missed the chicken show, so I'm not sure how he showed them to do it. I do know that we hung them upside down by thier feet from a hitching post for a few minutes until they passed out. Then they were butchered. There was none of the ugliness that I had seen in other butchering episodes. We also skinned them instead of plucking as it was faster, easier and we all like skinless. Then it was vacuume packing and into the freezer. The 125 were ALL done in an afternoon and ALL were at least 2 to 3 times the size of the average chicken sold in the stores. Not to mention that they tasted so much better...and....we knew what they had eaten and how they had been raised.

There are two reasons I have not raised them again. One was that I lost the freezer that I was keeping them in. The other was that with it being just the two of us, it made more sense to "barter" with the farmer/friend and get a wider variety of farm fresh meat for the freezer year round. :) Would I do it again on my own property? Sure. No problem. (But a fainting couch would be necessary for Don, as he doesn't do blood. ;))

I believe it's a great idea to know how to provide food for yourself and your own. If you can't grow it....find a skill that you can use to barter with a farmer/co-op. Many do just that.

Kudos to you for at least thinking about it. Many don't.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Mark said...

But a fainting couch would be necessary for Don, as he doesn't do blood.


At 10:55 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

April-- thank you for sharing your experiences. I agree with you that your bartering agreement makes more sense. How cool! I'm excited that you and Don are able to barter for such items. Lew and I would like to do that as well. With six people in our family, plus a people-sized hound dog and a cat, but a lack of land space at this time, we sure could use it.

I'm very concerned about the quality of the food I find at the store. Julian made a comment a while back on my blog about how the weight of chicken packages purchased at the store had a certain percentage of fecal "soup" in it. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Also, I know from personal experience how much better tasting produce and meat from the home front is. Our kids prefer elk and venison to any other type of meat.

Mark, that's the reason all the "survivalist" stuff =). If (or when, depending on your view point) TSHTF, we'll be a sight better off, I hope. No matter how much you prepare, you have to also have faith, because nothing ever goes completely by the plans you have set forth in your mind. In the mean time, we'll live better and eat better.

I'll echo my support of the division of labor. My desire to be more self sufficent doesn't discount this concept at all.


Post a Comment

<< Home