Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Harvest Begins





As usual my pictures are out of order, but I give up on trying to fix them.
Please ignore the weeds around the bed, they are out of control, but I wanted to show the enclosure I made to keep the chickens out of the raised beds, I was going to cover the top as well but so far they have shown no interest in bothering the beds so I will wait and see. I was thinking that in the winter I will try covering it with plastic to make a mini green house for lettuce and spinach etc. It was really cheap and not to hard to make. Next time though I will cut all my pvc pipe in 2 foot sections and piece it together with connectors, if the sections are too long the pvc wants to bend and bow, I think shorter sections will be easier to work with and not as unstable.

I have been able to begin harvesting things from my garden and was able to make my first meal from the farm. I should have taken a picture but I did not think of it at the time. I had roast chicken, green beans and red potatoes all grown or raised here on my little plot of land. What a sense of satisfaction seeing my hard work return a yield. All of my kids are back home with me and along with a good friend have participated in one way or another in helping me keep it all going. I am so thrilled that my two grand-sons get excited when they see they find a big green bean to pick or that Logan the four year old snuck out and planted his own pumpkin seeds, imagine my surprise when they started coming up in the middle of my herbs.



Pictured are some of the herbs I have growing in the water trough raised bed, thyme, rosemary, basil, lemon balm, along with some of the green beans from another raised bed. Yes those are pumpkin vines threatening to take over the whole trough. I have a large plot of ground where I have been growing the potatoes, black eyed peas, tomato's, squash, peppers and a few other things. Additionally, I have two wood frame raised beds, I built this year. I have to say the things in the raised beds have grown so much faster and look so much better then my in ground plants. The soil here in Florida is so very sandy, it may take me years to amend it to my satisfaction, for my purposes raised beds are the way to go, great soil from the beginning almost no weeds and at a better height to work with. Well worth the investment of time and money to make them.I have lots of things getting ready to begin ripening, I can't wait to pick the first tomato.

I did not take pictures of the chicken processing, I did five white rock hens that I ordered from Murray Mc Murray, I let them live longer then I should have I think they ideally should be done at around 6-8 weeks to be the most tender. I procrastinated. If I am honest about the whole thing I will have to admit that I am not 100% OK with the killing of animals for my food purposes, I struggle with the whole thing a bit but keep coming back to either going back to being a vegetarian and give up meat all together or raise my own giving the animals the best life I can. For now I am trying to do the latter and hoping that I become more comfortable with the whole idea. The actual processing is not that bad for anyone thinking of doing it there are lots of places to find info, I am sure there are you tube videos out there. My only word of advice is to be prepared, have everything you need ready ahead of time. I used a deep fryer to have boiling water ready, a large table covered with a clean plastic drop cloth, a clean five gallon bucket a de-boning knife, an ax and a tree stump, I am sure every one knows it is not the most pleasant of events but when my five hens were all packed in freezer bags I was grateful for the experience. I am thinking about ordering another batch of 25 meat birds, but am not looking forward to raising another batch of chicks quite yet.



On a completely unrelated note, can anyone tell me how to get the blog spot to allow you to load more pictures?? If I have more then three pics and any text at all the blog program boots the pictures off. This post started out with three pictures and as I added text it bumped them off, to who knows where. It seems like I can type the text and then add the pics but then they all end up at the beginning of the post instead of spread throughout. Irritating!! I love seeing every ones pictures of their farms, kids, creative projects, cooking and critters and would like to post more of my own without having to create a post for every one of them. I am sure it is operator ignorance on my part lol, but I have no time to sit here trying to figure it out, there are baby goats screaming to be fed.