Monday, January 19, 2015

The Rooster

    This last spring I got 12 chicks from my local farm store. I wanted to try raising egg laying hens with the kids to have some fresh eggs for us to eat but most importantly to have daily chores for the kids to do. The chicks that we got had been sexed, which I guess is quite difficult to do on chicks, and were all to be hens. Well as the summer turned into fall we noticed that one was different from the rest. We got a rooster. At first we didn't mind him and we let him hang out with the girls but over time we decided that it was his time to go. He stated getting a little aggressive with the kids, we preferred that our eggs didn't have the blood spot that can be seen when they are fertilized by the rooster, although I see not harm in eating fertilized eggs, and we would never hatch any of  our own eggs so there was no purpose for the rooster on our farm. He was just eating feed and potential harm to the kids and hens which we didn't need.
    When I was young we raised chickens and butchered them but I have not butchered a chicken in my adult life so my dad offered to help us. We took the rooster out of the coop and took him into the heated shop with all the kids around to help and watch. Dad cut off the head and then dunked it into a pot of scalding water. He held it in there only a moment and then we could easily remove the feathers.

   The kids were hesitant to help remove the feathers but were interested to see how easily they pulled out of the rooster. We removed as many of the feathers as we could then dad used a lighter to lightly burn off the small pin feathers that we were unable to pull.

     The nest step was to cut off the legs.
 Then dad opened up the rooster along the lower part of the abdomen and pulled out the insides from the rooster. Dad has done this hundreds of times before so he knew what to feel for and how to remove it. The kids were interested to see all the parts and we gave them a short/simple anatomy lesson.
Lastly dad removed the windpipe and gave the rooster a good wash and cooled the meat down. Being that this was not a meat breed bird there is not a lot of meat on it. I currently have him in the freezer and am thinking of using him in some chicken soup.
   I was intimidated  by the thought of butchering the rooster but after watching dad do it I saw that it is not a gruesome or difficult job to do. On the farm animals have a purpose and this rooster was not needed for reproduction so he will help feed us a good wholesome meal. Thank you rooster.

Let the SunShine

           Today was a glorious January day which are rare in our blustery part of the world. Today the sun was bright and warm melting the snow and giving us a high temp of 45 degrees outside. It felt so wonderful. We all went outside for the afternoon and just soaked in the sun and warmth knowing that it will all to soon be bitterly cold again and spring is still a long was off. Luke enjoyed sitting with his animal friends in the sun.
   Simon and David worked on one of the remaining snow drifts. David in only short sleeves insisted he was warm while working with my garden hoe to move the snow. The sun felt so warm and compared to the cold weather of normal January it felt like summer out there.

 The tree house is waiting for the warmer weather so the kids and I can get back up there and finish it. The walls and siding is up just needing the rest of the rafters and roof. Always have to have a project to look forward to.
 Not long after getting outside Luke fell into a puddle of water. He was sad for a moment but then got over it in his excitement to see the chickens and other animals.
 Mary is my main helper with the chickens and she had to pick one up to show us how big they are getting. The chickens are doing a great job providing us with fresh eggs. Out of our 11 hens we get about 8-10 eggs a day. Good job ladies. They sure do like this milder weather also were they can be outside and scratch in the mud/dirt.
 A selfy with the kids and a chicken..
 Rose showed me that she found some mud. The mud isn't hard to find with the thawing temps. Looks like I will be doing an extra load of laundry today.
 Luke and his siblings took a swing on the tire swing. The melting snow in the tree house above the swing gave the effect of light raining. The kids though this was fun.
 Rose up int he tree house.
 The fall kittens enjoyed sitting in the sun cleaning and playing. What a treat at this time of year.
 Simon and David decided to take the 4 wheeler out to the pasture and play in the melting snow out there. They came back wet but happy.

And then Holly our Christmas puppy was everywhere we went running and playing with the kids. She is full of energy. We all loved the beautiful day in the sunshine. What a wonderful January gift.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Excellence in Agriculture

My husband Paul and I just has the great honor of attending the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in San Diego, CA. We always feel so honored to attend these great gatherings of wonderful and talented people who are involved in agriculture every day from all over the nation. Paul and I were able to represent our state of MN in a Young Farmer and Rancher competition called Excellence in Agriculture.
     The Excellence in Agriculture competition is for young farmers who do not receive a majority of their income from production agriculture, meaning you need to have an off farm job. The competition focuses on the persons involvement in agriculture promotion and involvement. The competition is based on both a paper application and a power point presentation.
      Paul and I were impressed with the high calaber of competitors in this competition. It was so exciting to see this influential group of young people working so hard in their communities and states telling the truth and praise of agriculture. We feel so honored to even be included in this group.
      The competition went well for us and we felt we gave it our best. We had wonderful guidance from our FB state staff and friends. The kids even helped us practice by listening to our presentation a few times.
      Paul and I are very humbled and honored to announce that we earned first prize in the competition. We were awared a new 2015 Chevy/GMC truck! It has been 20 years since the last time a truck has been won by someone in MN and we feel very honored that we were able to bring one home for this great state we live in.

The moment they announced we had won. Let it load for a little while and watch. It was a wonderful moment we will never forget.

      We feel so blessed to have had this experience and very excited to take the kids to the dealership to pick out our truck.