Everything in the pot, I produced on our acre, except the potatoes. I told the kids I am not able to do the potatoes because we do not have enough garden space yet. My daughter asked if if did the spices and I was able to say yes, even the herbs in the sauce.
This is rabbit. It is a white meat except the front legs. I find the front legs remind me more of dark meat. Farmed rabbits taste like organic chicken. At least that is what I think.
Farming rabbits has been a process. I see all of our effort when I look out into our yardin in the early evening and see all the rabbits emerge from their shelters. I look at them run and play and often we cannot help ourselves and we go out to the pens and play with them. Yesterday evening I processed six of our rabbits. They had gone far beyond their prime. I have been after my husband to process them but he always found something else to do. I still had to get him to do the culling but I surprised myself at how easily I was able to process them. They were the same rabbits that I have held and played with many times. I was thinking while I was processing them that it was our duty now to honour them by eating them. We have them a very good life while they were on earth. We fed, water, gave them affection, room to play and greens to eat. I was able to use most of the meat somehow. Since they were summer hides I was not able to save all of the hides but I was able to harvest a few. I was also able to string up the feet and ears to dehydrate for organic treats for my dogs. I divided all the meat into bags. Legs and backs. When i was finished and the meat had all been quartered I was extremely impressed with my efforts. The meat was succulent white meat. The rib cages I saved for RAW food for my pets. I was able to put about 40lbs of meat in the freezer for next winter. If I was too purchase organic rabbit at the grocer and pet store, this would have cost me about $400. I know I will have to slow cook or pressure cook these ones as they were older rabbits but will cook up nicely if done correctly.
My son is one of those who partakes in the online game. He would make excuses to get out of chores so he could sneak in to check his clan. We soon caught onto this and I have made it my mission to limit his time in the video world. I have to admit that I can sometimes spend hours poking around so I try to at least do something productive while I am online. I used to play the games where you build virtual gardens and then I thought to myself what a real garden I could have if I spent the same amount of time looking after real animals and real vegetables.
Our micro farm is the result. Every day we get up and work on our farm. Every day we produce vegetables and meat. It really is a great concept. Everyday my children are forced to be outside to help. I have very healthy, happy kids and by next winter I will have a freezer fully of rabbits, turkeys, ducks and vegetables. This is so much more productive than farming online.
We colony raise our rabbits. We started with two, a male and a female, Big Mama and Norman. When we first brought them home we placed them into an extra large dog kennel. I thought it was a nice size. Then I felt guilty they were in a small space and got my husband to build some bigger cages. This year we build some REALLY big pens and that is where they are living. Our colony has grown and we basically can have a unlimited supply of rabbits now.
Some of the things we have learned is that the rabbits do need space. They need to feel secure in their environment. We try to leave them alone as much as possible but we do intervene once in awhile. If a baby wanders away from the nest we will put it back. We came up with a fabulous idea of using the rubber tub and building them a burrow. We needed the babies to stay in the nest until it was time for them to emerge. We bought these tubs on sale for $5 and the other tubs we scavenged from recycling behind a restaurant. The white part is a mayonnaise bucket. The rabbits feel secure and the babies stay in the nest.
And turkeys in my shower. Sometimes I wonder what are we doing. Then I am reminded that all next winter my family is going to eat well. We on our little parcel of land have the potential to grow and produce our entire winters nutritional needs. A lot of people have told me that they like to think that their meat just comes on little styrofoam packages in the meat section of the grocery store. I have to admit my change came about when I seen the huge chicken breasts in the grocery store. I remember thinking what a great deal it was. Then my son made me watch a documentary called Food Inc. I have never purchased chicken breasts from the supermarket again.
The first few animals we processed and ate, we all ate in silence. I remember it was a process, one we had to come to terms with. I can honestly say that it gets easier. When you love and care for your animals, you have a deep sense of appreciation for what they provide you. You want to give them the best life possible. So we do. We pen raise or free range them.
We are also going to raise our turkeys this year. I would break out in hives from eating supermarket turkey. I had to stop eating it at family gatherings. I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will know exactly how my turkeys were raised, what they ate and how they were processed. I enjoy sharing our story as I think people can see how easy it is. We learned a lot over the years , made some mistakes and try something new each year.
I tried putting my tomatoes into my garden patch today. So far I got about 12 plants in. I have to periodically take a break every fifteen minutes as the chickens arrive to scratch the surface. I don’t blame them really. Our ground is loaded in earthworms because of the way we compost. I am glad that they don’t seem to want to peck at the tomatoe plants. At least when I am finished planting them, I won’t have to run chicken wire around them to protect them. I can see that they have made their way to the backyard once again, so I should take advantage of it and get back out. I am thinking before I get another four plants into the ground, all 15 of my chickens will be back again.
This is Bently. We adopted him from a previous owner who was giving him up. He has issues. Since everyone in our family also has issues we decided he would be a good fit. We have over the years been evicted from dog parks and other public places because of his overwhelming love of us and his need to protect us. When we first started raising rabbits he thought they were a threat as well. We have decided that we needed to recondition his behaviour so over the winter we started to bring the bunnies to Bently for Bently to love. He would spend an hour licking and cleaning and investigating the bunny. Bently had two times jumped into the baby bunny pen. Now when it happens he just looks for them to play with. We still supervise when we are able and it definitely seems to be working. If nothing else it provides us with cheap entertainment.
This was my rose garden. I had big dreams for this spot..I was going to move all the rose bushes I collected over the years at my old residence and place them under my Juliette Balcony. I was going to sit on my balcony in the morning and enjoy my morning coffee. The first year we lived here I did manage to move two of my rose bushes. In the meantime we collected some driftwood at the Pointe to build a primitive fence. Last year I pleaded with my husband to move them and it was always something that didn’t get done. Then we got CHICKENS..
This is the first Spring for us with the chickens. We got them as day olds last July. I have never imagined that chickens take a bath every morning. A dry dirt bath. They claimed my rose garden as this spot. They roll around in it, they dig holes in it, splash each other in dirt, it really is a spectacle. My two rise bushes that have been placed there are completely gone now. Not really too sure where they went. I do know that that as long as we have chickens this is going to be their bath. I could never reclaim it even it I wanted to. Like I tell my children and my husband, you need to pick your battles. The chickens win this one.