It use to irritate our kids mightily that I would take pictures of food, mostly restaurant meals that I particularly enjoyed. Now they think I don’t do it enough, since they’re the ones growing and preparing it. Here are some.
This is the last of the bell pepper harvest. Some of them were chopped up and frozen, the rest made into stuffed bell peppers that went into the freezer for future meals.
Christina Fuller sent us some kefir grains earlier this year, and they really took to the milk we were getting from the Ellises. I don’t know much about other people’s kefir, but from the few pictures I’ve seen ours seems to be incredibly thick. Which is a good thing, as far as we’re concerned. Unfortunately the Ellises’ cow has gone dry for now, and the storebought milk we’re using to keep the kefir grains going isn’t producing nearly as nicely; in fact, we’re worried about losing the grains.
These are asparagus beans, used a lot in Asian cooking. Even while bugs and critters were destroying our other beans, these were untouched, and very prolific.
Yes, they really did grow to be 2 1/2′ long.
Our second batch of broilers was a major disappointment. We got them locally from a fellow recommended to us by friends. We’re not sure of the breed, and they just never grew. We finally slaugtered them at 16 weeks or so, and they dressed out at less than two pounds each. I like local, but next year we’re going with a known quantity. Luckily there is a good hatchery located just outside Lexington, and I figure a two-hour drive is worth it.
The chickens were disappointing, but we were very happy with the new chicken tractor, copied from Herrick Kimball’s description of his own tractor. Very easy to move, very easy to service.
Here you can see the dirty little secret, so to speak, of pastured poultry; the chicken manure is concentrated into a very small area. And this ground is nowhere near as intensely manured as the ground where we had Cornish Cross chickens earlier this year. Those chickens were eating and pooping machines, and at harvest their lower feathers were absolutely filthy from sitting in manure all day.
We’ll probably keep a tractor going for now, but we’ll also be experimenting with using a Salatin-style feathernet system for both layers and broilers. This uses electrified poultry netting to enclose a large area around a portable chicken coop, so that you can move it every few days. Salatin says that with the system the ground does not get overly manured. If it works for broilers as well as layers, we’ll move to that.
Incidentally, we’re up to six eggs per day from our seven layers, even without having to resort to tricks like using electric light to lengthen their day.
You can tell that Chris isn’t enjoying removing the plastic from the sweet potato beds. We let them go towards the end, so there are quite a few thorny weeds mixed in with the plant tops. And later we found out that we should have cut the plant tops first, so as to avoid having to tear the plastic from around them.
After removing the plastic we worked out a system where I would use a spading fork to lever the dirt loose around a plant, then Chris and Maggie and Matthew would use their hands to dig the potatoes out. We took out about 150 pounds of potatoes, not nearly as large as I would have liked. The ground was probably not loose enough. Later Jerome told us that he was at a neighbor’s house harvesting his potatoes, which had been planted in tall beds of very loose dirt. He said he was able to simply knock the plant over, uncovering all the potatoes so that his son Aaron could pile them into buckets.