Monday, July 23, 2012

Facebook

Hey I am linked to facebook, in the sidebar over there ----->
Go look!!! Click like to get updated when a new post comes out or to get general updates on our little urban farm!!!

Remember we hold 2 yearly events here (at least) a Spring event and a Fall event.

:) Join us!

July 2012 at Sunny Spot Gardens

It has been a pretty mild summer, the almost daily afternoon storms have kept us around 90 for the highs and cools us off early. The sweet potatoes have taken off and are throwing out vines like crazy, the white sweet potato bred for its leaves has consumed a 10x5 plot from a single plant. The roselle is huge and happy, the collards are mostly surviving and the never ending kale finally ended. The tropicals are going nuts and the papaya is throwing out its first flowers (its a lady), I tasted my first every muscadine grape from my own vine and LOVE it, the triumph variety we have is doing very happily right now sending out new growth and ripening the bunches of fruits it has on it.

The remaining duck and chickens have bonded and now she puts up a racket if we dont let them sleep together. The front yard is almost done it just needs one more garden bed built, pathways need mulching, and the gardens need compost added.

My wedding is 10 days away and once it is finished I will start a lot of the seeds for fall!! What a great life I have! :)

Rabbit Butchering

**NOTE: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE MORALLY OPPSOSED TO EATING MEAT OR WISH NOT TO HEAR DETAILS** This post is respectfully done, but it is the killing of a animal.



I attended a class put on by 2 of my friends called Homesteading 101: How to skin a rabbit.

I woke up late and let it slip my mind, it wasn't until I poured myself a bowl of cereal and sat down to check emails, I saw my calender post about it... 1 hour after it had started, I sent a quick text to the class leader if it was still going, no response, but since they live roughly 4 miles from me I jumped in the car with my daughter and drove over.

A small group was gathered in their covered car port surrounded by tarps and sheets, speaking quietly and watching intently as someone preformed the skinning of a freshly killed rabbit. Hutches were set up under shade with cooling water bottles and fresh food placed in side each one. I felt a pang of guilt, as I watched their little noses twitch. I hugged and greeted the guests 1/4 of which I already knew due to my activity in the community. One recognized me from this very blog (HI!), I felt at ease. My daughter went right away and started talking to people, grabbing their hands to show them the rabbits, chickens, and ducks. They were all so kind to her and let her lead them around. She completely ignored the gruesome acts happening across the room.

I walked over and started examining the scene. Drips of blood dotted the ground beneath the working station; which was a well built wood frame with string hanging to hold the animal up, and hooks to hang the tools that were needed (shears, and a sharp knife). A lifeless furry rabbit hung upside down being skinned starting at the feet and going down the body. Buckets were nearby to contain the disposable parts, clean the tools, and keep the good parts (liver, and kidney). I was shaky, nervous, and somewhat sick to my stomach. But I had done it before with the duck, and that was with an animal I had raised since it was left on my doorstep.

I took a deep breathe and watched the scene unfold, nearby stood a young girl and her mother, I watched her watch the act of dressing a rabbit, she seemed unshaken and calm. When I turned back they were taking the rabbit down and washing it out. It was time for another person to go, the little girl stepped forward. I was amazed, what a wonderfully brave girl to take on such a adult decision. Though I guess the only reason I think that is because I was raised in a lifestyle that did not require us to kill our own meat, kids raised on a farm would have started before this young girl and not have batted a eye at the idea of slaughter. A rabbit was brought to her and she was shown how to calm it and bring it to a quick clean end. She did it, and while they removed the head to bleed it out she stood by and watched, they hung it up and showed her how cut away the skin and pelt, leaving a clean removal, they saved the pelt to use later. She made small quick cuts while they showed her how and pointed out where to. She asked questions as the body opened up leading to a very good science lesson. I was totally amazed as person after person walked away with a clean wrapped rabbit ready for eating or freezing.

I was unsure about doing my own but figured I had better since I was here. I picked out my rabbit from a cage and thanked it, not for the rabbits sake but for my own, I was taking a life and I needed to understand and respect that fact. I believe so fully in the circle of life and understand if it wasn't me it would be something else but still I was the one taking this animals life and I needed those words. I was shown the steps just like the others one at a time, I took a deep breathe and dutifully followed directions, unsure of myself and worried that I would mess up and cause this animal unneeded pain instead of the quick death that was planned. It went quick, and I let out my breathe, my face grew hot, and i felt moisture in my eyes, I blinked it away and took the help that was offered to me.

As I removed the pelt, and felt the still warm body beneath my now steady hands I shook slightly, I was still not comfortable with what I had done and dont think I will ever be, but I understood that if I was to eat meat I wanted to make sure the animals had a good life, and a easy death vs what they would have if I bought the grocery store meat. I finished up and washed out my meat that looked nothing like how it had started. I was finished, my heart which had been racing the whole time started to slow, and I felt calm. Thank you little rabbit you have brought sustenance to my family and for that I am ever grateful.

I drove home in silence, just thinking.



**TO SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE UP TO BARN HOP HERE!!!**

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Slaughter

The male duck was put down, it was not doing anything just pooping and eating, then it tuned mean and attacked the chickens even ripping out some feathers. It had to go, and so it did. Not without the loss of a friends finger though. It was such a crazy accident, I still shake when i think about it.

But the duck was finished by me, it aged in the fridge to improve the meat and is now frozen. I dont think I can eat it seeing as how what happened when it died.

This is not something I will rush to do again, it was harder i believe because I raised it myself from a little duckling left on our porch.

I feel if you are going to eat meat it is something you should do at least once, just to understand the process that goes behind it. But thats just me..

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eating Meat.

So many of us eat meat without giving it a second thought. Others choose to be vegetarian or vegan without giving it a second thought.

It is weird to think about it in a way. We go to the grocery store, walk in and all of these aisles are lined with food. Food in boxes with over 10 ingredients, food in baskets under lights and little sprayers of water to keep fresh looking, food spread out on ice, food in little glass cabinets waiting for you to pick your cut.. all this food and we walk along stopping every 10 feet to decide if we want one brand or another and that draws the line in the thought we put into our food.

While no persons food choice is wrong many will argue and fight that their choice is safer, better, more natural. Whatever you choose its your choice. If you feed yourself the processed food, the vegan, vegetarian items, or the omnivore diet they all have ups and downs.

Omnivores like myself take life, either by buying it in the grocery store, raising and slaughtering it yourself, or buying it from a local farmer. We take the life of vegetables, some which just joined the world days before (like sprouts), we take the life of animals that either had a good life on a local farm or a factory farmed life crammed into little cages and stalls in some soiled environment.

Vegetarians eat eggs, cheese, fish, and other animal products without eating actual meat. These people (I was one for 3 years) make a choice that fish are less objectionable to their lifestyle then a cow, but why? These people also like the omnivore choose to take a vegetables life, again some that are just joining this world. Vegetarians also eat fake meat in a lot of cases, like veggie burgers, soy products, and other goods that are made from GMO corn, soy, etc.

Vegans are people who choose not to consume any animal product. No milk, cheese, fish, eggs... nothing. These people still like the vegetarian and omnivore take a vegetables life without a second thought, again some that are just joining this world. Many also eat fake meat, cheese, milk in a lot of cases; like Boca and Morning Star veggie burgers, soy products, and other goods that are made from GMO corn, soy, etc.

While their are sub categories for every section this is the general sum. Whatever your choices are you are taking something from something else to satisfy you. Maybe you take the life of a chicken for soup, or maybe you purchase that wrapped package under the lights in the cooler at the grocery store, or you pluck a turnip from the ground, or you take an egg from your chicken, a fish from the sea. All these things had a life in front if it.. who are we to judge which is better then the other? I know I will not judge but as a vegetarian who started losing her hair while she was eating that way (despite the vitamins i was supplementing) I have chosen to be a omnivore.

*Brittany's Diet Choice: Omnivore
*What this means: I take the life of both plants and animals, though not without thanks and understanding.
*My sub-category: I choose healthful foods. Items that dont have a long list of ingredients (most you cant even say). Which means very very few processed foods.I raise a huge garden, raise my own chickens for eggs, and have a couple ducks for meat. I shop local when I can, am against GMO's, dont drink soda, and loves all life.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lack of posting

In 22 days I am getting married so these past couple weeks and future couple weeks have been and will be crazy!

Im trying to get money together, do all those little details you forget, get all the paper work together, finish all the tasks, pay all of the people, whew.
I am exhausted and that plus trying to get my daughter into Pre-K, get insurance, working full time and taking care of the gardens and animals... blogging has found the back burner, but I PROMISE i will be back shortly with full steam ahead.

Until then enjoy my posts when they appear, and ill see you shortly :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I want a choice.

Today I sat down and watched Farmageddon after months of trying to see it I was finally able to track it down at the library. I teared up, I swore a couple times, but above all else I became angry.

Its a movie about local and raw foods, mostly raw milk, but they include cheeses, meats, and even some veggies. Whats happening is these little local farmers are having their livelihood stolen from them. The FDA, Big Ag and state level ag. departments are finding these little local farmers and claiming they are a huge health hazard, they get warrants for search and seizure and leave this persons home with thousands of dollars of goods.

They take food items, animals, equipment, and they can do nothing but watch all they have worked for be taken. Some have guns pulled on them, others are forced to stay in one room while their house and farm is torn apart. HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING?!?

When 99% of the sickness you hear about comes from large scale factory farm plants, or large scale farms, why is the little guy down the road being heckled? Why aren't the big corporations having to face fines, raids, etc when they are the ones doing wrong?

Im saddened and angry by the way America views are freedoms, seeing as how they obviously think us to stupid to make healthful smart decisions for our own bodies or families. Instead they spend millions promoting and helping McDonald's, Walmart, and others feed us processed unhealthy cheap crap.

If you haven't watch the movie, Im almost certain you will come away with a new sense of freedom and as spitting mad as me. We must fight for the change we want!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What to grow in July (Zone 9)

July
Plant seeds of:
Beans: Bush, Pole, Lima
Cantaloupes
Okra
New Zealand Spinach
Malabar Spinach
Amaranth
Orach
Roselle
Yard Long Beans
Peanuts
Cow Peas
Sweet Potatoes
* Remember to pick cucumbers, squash, beans, okra, and peppers regularly so plants will continue producing.
* Blossom end rot on tomatoes or a similar rot on peppers is caused by a calcium deficiency or fluctuations in soil moisture. Try to keep plants evenly moist. Discard rotting fruit.
* Remove all diseased vegetable plants or infected leaves from the garden. Prevent the spread of a disease by watering plants carefully at the soil level.
* As basil plants begin to bloom, cut plants back just above a pair of leaves to encourage growth.
* Also late this month start your plants to set out next month.. this will give you a head start!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

More animals?

I want a real rural farm someday but since I cant escape city life anytime in the next couple years I am working harder to transform this city property into a smaller version on a working farm.

I already have 6 chickens, 2 ducks, a cat, and my family who lives here but I want more. At first I tried convincing the family to get a mini goat after that failed, I tried to convince meat rabbits were the way to go after that failed as well I had about given up trying to get anything else on this little urban farm.

I woke up one morning and it hit me like a smack in face, BEES!

I have now checked out every bee book in the library, started checking prices, hive design, mail order bees, etc

I am excited and nervous and this time I have convinced every except for my other half.

:)