Saturday, June 27, 2015


The day before yesterday morning I woke up knowing exactly how my day would end. For the mother of a newborn and a two year old this kind of certainty is few and far between.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that our broilers would be in the freezer by nightfall... Boy oh boy was I in for it.

The day started normal as can be. The boys were off to work, the animals were fed, and so I decided to make breakfast and get to some much needed laundry folding.

As luck would have it Murphy felt she needed to eat every hour yesterday morning.... So I spent the whole morning snuggling my girls and being a tad lazy.. The preparations for the killing can wait right?

After all I just need to devise a kill cone, go to moms for they're turkey fryer stand to use for scalding,  borrow a butchering knife from my uncle, go by the market for ice, clean the coolers, find the vacuum freezer bags which I had so conveniently hidden from myself, and clean the kitchen for the end clean up and packaging... only a few things right? Plus I decided since I would be in town I needed to get a few friend visits in while dropping off a rug at a girlfriends house. In case you haven't guessed, spreading myself too thin is a major talent I have..

So I was on my way to my hometown a bit after noon thinking I was gravy; homestead slang for good to go! Or so I thought..

As with all things in life, what can go wrong, will.. A visit here, some chit chat there, errands done, supplies gathered, rug dropped off, and before I knew it its 6 PM! I wanted to be home before 5... But its ok since our plan was for an evening slaughter when the 100 degree weather had subsided... My parents offered to keep farm baby #1 over night in order to ease us in the butcher process, so home I went.

But now I need a propane tank... silly me forgot the key to the scalding process... Idk about you but I'm sure as heck not bringing them birds into the house for that process.

By the time the farm stud returned with said tank the early evening Tumalo wind had kicked up. This alone wouldn't stop me! Set up was going great when dark clouds began to roll in, thunder began to rumble, then came the downpour. I stood in the eve of the garage cursing the clouds for taking away this day I had so looked forward to. After all these birds should have been finished over two weeks ago... key word, SHOULD.

You see its more common than not that farm tasks which SHOULD be complete at a certain date, don't always end up so. Such is the life of a homesteader. Some days go exactly according to plan and still some other plans have to be seriously amended.

The first mishap I caused was at the very end of my pregnancy when I was primed and prepped to worm the birds. Alas pregnancy brain got the better of me and I forgot in the midst of Sisters Rodeo-- weeklong party which involves an annual kickoff party at our house (otherwise known to our close friends as Half Christmas). All I can say about the second week in June is, debauchery and shenanigans in true country redneck style.. Its a wonder I remember my own name after this one week a year. So the birds finally were wormed but a 14 day waiting period is necessary before slaughter.

So here we were.. more than ready for these birds to serve their ultimate purpose. Grateful for the sacrifice they will make. But we called the kill for rain. 

After killing and beginning the clean on the firest bird the next day we found them to be severely underfed. Another mishap in our learning curve. With the heat we have had and a switch to nonGMO barley fodder the last two weeks, the birds seem amaciated.. Another disappointment on the home front. I may have calculated their feed wrong or maybe the weather conditions have contributed. So a higher protein feed and two more weeks was graciously granted these homestead birds. 

We can't butcher birds for no meat, another sad fact of homesteading: getting your moneys worth can be a challenge. 

So again I sat on my porch, beer in hand cursing the circumstances. Yesterday the weather, today the birds are scrauny... What next?!? I found myself hating the birds, their poop, their constant squaking, their state of, well living. Ok ok deep down I love my birds, everything about them.. 

With luck we will be butchering in two weeks. Another postponement we didn't budget for. Homesteading is NOT about perfection, get that through your head Quincy! So it goes.         

At least the pigs are butchered!