Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Years. Tom and I spent the evening with our "goat friends", Al and Denise.
So here is my New Years resolution...
-I'm going on a diet and exercise program. I'd really like to loose 20 lbs. I'm not at all happy about the way I look, and my back hurts quite a bit. I'm "doing Atkins".
I know Atkins isn't for everyone, but I feel really good when I'm on it. (My blood type is O-) I like eating meat and vegetables, and as one get's closer to goal weight on Atkins, nuts, fruit, and more veggies and whole grains are allowed. If only I didn't love pizza and White Castle so much!
I could use some "meat on the hoof" advice from some of you.
I do have concerns about all the antibiotics and other drugs and garbage in meat. I'd love to start raising most of my own "meat" but I'm not too sure how to go about it on a larger scale. I'm open to suggestions.
I've had my own chickens for years for meat and eggs. They don't always lay, but our local grocery store does have organic eggs for those times. I like giving my hens time off when their bodies need it, I've never manipulated lighting or anything like that to force them to lay more.
I'll have to start raising a lot more chickens if I want to supply my own meat. I'd like a breed that I can buy as day-olds from McMurrey or Ideal and breast out at 2-3 months of age. I do know how to butcher, scald, gut and all that, but for convenience I'd rather just breast them out maybe take the legs, nice and easy, and freeze the meat.
I also really miss having turkeys, and am considering either picking up a primative (non-broad breasted) turkey breed, or buying BB poults from a hatchery and having those processed.
I can also have a few lambs butchered every year. The Clun Mules should work great for that.
I've been debating my own cow for several years now. Raise one up to 18 months, and have it processed. But wow that's a lot of meat for one person (my DH doesn't eat red meat or poultry.) And with the price of hay....Maybe I'll just buy "organic" by the quarter from someone. Does that make more sense?
I loved having pigs, but oh that smell! I just can't deal with the smell and the flies over the summer! Has anyone tried getting hogs in the fall, and overwintering them? And butchering them in the spring?
Thinking aloud. My good intentions sometimes fizzle out as the year get's busier in the spring, but I can't give up on trying to build healthier eating habits. Can't keep doing what I've been doing. Looking back on this post, I see I'm dreaming big! (my goodness, my own cow?)
Thanks for any advise you all can give, and may everyone have a wonderful 2009!


Kara said...

Happy New Year Juliann! I hear you, 20 is just about right for me too. We are also considering doing more to raise our own food. We are having the cow debate, thinking about chicken and turkeys, and are planning on improving our garden. Currently have eggs and milk from our laying hens and dairy goats. I have yet to put a lamb in the freezer, but the Cheviot/Shetland cross should be good for that. As for the pigs, we built a "pig tractor" and moved the pigs every few days in their portable pig pen. I could not handle them in the barn with the horses, the flies drove them NUTS! With the "tractor" the flies don't seem to get as out of hand and the smell is not bad at all. They were really healthy because they were always on fresh ground. The area that they "tilled" in their tractor we are planning to plant with corn and pumpkins to feed them next year. We also moved them through the garden late fall. My DH is reading a few books that I am going to read next: "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and "Omnivores Dilemma" which I think reading will make us more so wanting to do more. Good luck, I will be interested to see what advice others have for you.

kristi said...

Gee, I wish I could give you advice as I always am seeking some from you on my sheep. I do not eat red meat either so no cow advice there;though I really want a miniature cow for milk. Love pork but same issue w/smell & flies. I am going to do turkeys this year and I am considering like cornish hens perhaps. My garden definitely will be more for canning/preserving this year. Its good to hear from you, please stop by and see me:)

Theresa said...

Hi Juliann,
Happy New Year! Well, we've been eating our Shetlands or the crosses for years now, and there is no better meat to eat than your own lamb! Grass-fed Shetlands are very high in Omega-3s so are considered the best red meat (by way of stats). Lamb is usually recommended by doctors as well.
As far as chickens, if you can do your own that is great. Jeff hates to butcher and that is a line I'm not crossing (though I helped butcher with my Mom lots of times growing up).
As far as a steer - go for it if you can. But there is a lot of meat there. You can possibily sell 1/2 of the meat to someone else though. Grass-fed beef is SO much better than store bought.
Hogs are a real pain, in my book, but grow fast. I won't do those either (my brother took care of them growing up). I very rarely ever buy pork anyway as it tastes like a hog pen to my nose anymore. The best pork I've had is when we raised pigs on goat milk when I was growing up.
We have a milk goat and chickens for eggs but Tori is really interested in a Mini Jersey. The neighbors just got a regular Jersey cow a month ago that just freshened. I got some of the milk - it's great! Tons of cream! Visions are dancing in my daughter's head (she just asked yesterday how much is land going for around here as she wants a few acres - had to explain how land sells to her!).
We also do the garden thing but I'm usually not as good as I should as everything comes ready around fair time.
Farming the old way (raising your own food) takes a LOT of time and effort, that's why you don't see many people doing it.

Oh, I'm also O- and think a meat and vegetable/fruit diet is probably best for me too, though I do grind my own grain for flour (have done that for more than a decade). It is by far healthier to make your own breads and anything that needs flour. I'd like to lose 10 lbs as well, though I think more exercise is what I need!

Good luck with farm!

Kara said...

I am O- too. Tell me why meat/veggie diet is better for that...

Becky Utecht said...

We mostly eat just venison, lamb, and our homegrown chickens. HAve you looked around for a processor that would do poultry? This summer we were happy to find a processor to do the chickens. We've done it ourselves in the past, but it was so worth paying $2/bird and just dropping them off and picking them up later. We find that raising 25 meat birds a year is plenty for us. Also, IMO there's nothing wrong with giving the hens 12 hours of light to keep them laying all winter long. They will go into their moult and stop laying when their bodies require it, with or without extra light. We buy a few replacement pullet chicks with the meat chicks in June, so they just start laying in the late fall. With just 7 laying hens, we have enough eggs to sell to the neighbors and share with our extended family.
We are toying with the idea of getting beef cattle too. I love eating homegrown pork, but I will leave raising pigs to someone else - IMO, there is nothing stinkier than a pig pen. But I like the pig tractor idea Kara mentioned.

Carol Bator said...

Happy New Year! Juliann, you are a beautiful woman. I never think of you as someone who needs to lose some weight, but I guess we are all getting to an age where we should be watching what we eat and getting good physical exercise on a regular basis.

I don't think you should get a cow. Even a mini would take pasture away from your sheep. It would eat a considerable amount of grass and weigh enough to compress the soil it walks on more than the sheep do. Any thing you can do with beef can be done with lamb or mutton. Chops, steaks, ribs, roasts, and hamburger from sheep can all be prepared just like beef.

The rams I had butchered were more flavorful than beef. They reminded me of venison. When I ran out of my own meat and bought some beef again, it tasted bland.

I do imagine that you should be raising some poultry though. I know you have a passion for chickens. I often think about getting some ducks or geese, but every year, I put it off for another year. I need to think about feeders, waterers, shelters, etc. before I bring another species onto my farm.

Raising a pig in winter sounds like a good idea though. It should reduce the odor and flies. Put it where you want a garden after you butcher it. The soil will already be tilled for you :) But I am not sure if the manure needs to age before you plant anything there.

I love the snuggly pictures of you and your dogs.

Franna said...

I love the Pugly photo. You don't talk enough about Jellybean. ;-)

We just put chickens (Red Broilers) and pork in the freezer to add to the lamb; Bourbon Red turkeys will follow in a couple months. There's nothing better than your own meat! (O+ here!) Chickens are easy and more and more places to get them custom processed. Pigs aren't too bad, we start in May/June and put them on the sheep's deep bedding to have them compost the bedding.

For cows, look around the local area. Chances are there is someone raising great grass fed somewhere close enough who will sell half or a "half of a half". We got some from a friend and it's wonderful. Supermarket meat just doesn't do it.

Juliann said...

Hi Kara,

I really liked our hogs when we had them, I think I liked them a little too much! Those long eyelashes and beautiful eyes, how playful they were when they ran laps and jumped in the air. I'm giong to solicite some opinions on a hog board for doing them over the winter.
I had heard a lot about eating right for your bloodtype, there's a book on it I know, but I've never read it. The theory is that 0bloodtype does best on the caveman diet. No processed foods, lots of meat, vegetables, fruit in season. I do feel better on it, I may have a wheat or corn allergy, I get sneezy sometimes after eating these starches.

Juliann said...

Howdy Kristi,
I had the opportunity to buy a miniature Hereford a few years ago. A friend owned her, and she was so friendly and cute. I decided not to buy her because she was always covered with flies during the summer, and I didn't want to deal with hoof trimming a cow. And the wear and tear on the land, as Carol said. Her pasture was always soupy and ohhh those diahrea cow pies! I forgot about those, yes I think I'll pass on a cow. :)

Juliann said...

Hi Theresa!

You are right, lamb is an obvious good place to start, and I'll have my first mules this year.
I always plant a monster of a vegetable garden every spring, I love planting but really hate weeding! Gail V. had suggested lying old carpeting between the rows, I might try that this year. Also only plant things that I know I'll eat.

Juliann said...

Hi Becky,

You know, I never even thought to ask if our processer will do poultry! If it's inexpensive, I'll have them do it. It takes me all day to do a dozen chickens, and if I put it off they get tough anyways.
Maybe I'll do the lighting thing...I'll have to think about that. :)

Juliann said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you for the compliment! :) I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I was 170+ in high school and got made fun of A LOT. So I try to keep my weigh in check, it's real easy for me to put it on, expecially as I'm getting older.
I think everyone should have a few chickens. If you start with chicks that are already feathered out (6+ weeks old), there isn't too much to raising them.

Juliann said...

Hi Franna!

I've got more Jelly photos to share. I wish I could have done more to heal her. She's still neurotic and so wary all the time. But she is very loved. She seems content when it's just Tom and I and the other dogs, but the minutes someonen pulls in the driveway she crouches and starts running in circles, then hides somewhere.
I think I'll try to find an organic 1/4 cow for sale, I do see them advertised now and then but never really paid them any real attention.

Gail V said...

Hi Juliann,
I used to think raising heavy broiler chickens was inhumane. . .but then I got some cornish rocks to round out a McMurray order one year, and have been doing it since! They are so big and delicious in 2 months' time. The bedding changes were the biggest work, so I think I'll try to put them in a chicken tractor and not change bedding at all! And call around-- I found a local processor who does ours for $3/bird, well worth it. I like raising 30 birds, but may do more again for friends.
I buy 1/4 beef from a neighbor, I know what he feeds his steers-- and we do eat our own lamb, ground or in brats. I sell the chops and leg o lamb roasts.
Best wishes in '09!