Today was pretty chilly, damp and grey outside. I put up my market table and set up a butcher station and butchered three of the hens. I was glad that I only did three because by the time I was finished my arthritis was really acting up and my hands were freezing. Dominiques don't clean well because of the dark feathers, and I will need to go over these once more tomorrow before I put them in the freezer, but these hens will make some really good soups and stews being 2 1/2 years old. I would sell them but I am not satisfied with my ability to butcher well enough to make a nice carcass. I am getting plucking down pretty well, but I have a hard time trying to remove the guts and innards in one movement; I can't get my big hand inside the carcass. However, once I get my technique down to my satisfaction, then I will offer processed chickens for sale off the farm. I tried dry plucking this time and like it better than scalding the birds.
Last Wednesday when Lara and I were down in Marshfield, a reporter from The Country Today called to talk to me about Price Direct. She left a number and said that Friday morning would be a good time to talk, but I tried calling her back twice on Friday and kept getting that noise you hear when the phone is off the hook so I figured I'd just let it go. Maybe Tom wrote down the wrong number; I don't know. Price Direct is in "coccoon mode" now anyway so there really isn't much to talk about at this time. I am working every chance I get on a two-part plan that would get a shared-use commercial kitchen up and running, but I have a long way to go yet as far as research goes. I did receive the information package from S&S Aqua Farm in Missouri, but I want to read and study the material some, and then work on approximating current set up costs for a system. I already see that I will need to set up a small experimental system to work with and become famililar with the various aspects of an aquaponics system. I think I would like to work with either tilapia or perch -- I don't want to deal with avid predators like bass and wall-eye. I would hate to go out in the morning to check the system and find I have one fat fish left in the tank. That makes me think of the time I made 70 cookies to send to school with Sarah. While the cooking were cooling on the table, I went to pick Sarah up from school, and when we got home we found our black Lab fat as a sausage and ALL the cookies gone!
I pulled out a jar of plum nectar and diluted it some for me and the kids to drink at supper tonight. Lara test tasted it and said we needed some honey in it, so I obliged her. I also brought up a jar of apple butter and tasted that. I was surprised! It isn't real dark like apple butter you get in the store, but it tastes like it. That steamer from Lehman's is really great! I pulled out some nice looking pumpkins that I will cook and save the seed from. I think I will cook up one of my giant pumpkins and we will eat those seeds. The last batch of seeds I made didn't last long -- Tom really like those.
Well, he and Ed are home from town so I'll check out for now.