Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Fun Article Ideas

I've been asked to write an article for Edmonton Child magazine, the theme for the issue is Summer Fun and they want an article that talks about farm life. Sooooo, I'm feeling around for some ideas. There are many topics I could expound upon and I'm not totally sure which would be the most interesting.

Some ideas:
-daily chores for my kids: collecting eggs, helping mom make bread
-international workers living and working with us
-baby goats, llamas, bunnies, and chicks
-wide open spaces to run, roll, and play
-campfires in our front yard
-local creek, lake, forest, tobogganning hill

If you have more ideas about what would make a really fun, interesting article involving summer fun, please comment!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rooster Roast How to Butcher a Chicken

We butchered our first farm chickens this morning. It's something I've been wanting to learn for so long, and not really something that I've wanted to experiment with a whole lot. We selected 2 roosters who have been getting "hen-pecked" and decided to put them in the pot.

Brave Tim, woofer extrordinaire, agreed to do the nasty deed of chopping the heads off. I thought he did a great job of it. We decided at first to try wringing the neck, then chopping it off. With all the flopping around it seemed a little gruesome, so the second bird I held on the block while he found the neck and the head was off with two quick strokes. I wasn't quite prepared however for all the flapping around after the fact, the bird was so calm before the head came off. We all got sprayed in blood and I've learned to keep a better grip on those powerful wings for next time. We dipped the birds in a big pot of boiling water then hung them on the clothesline to pluck out all the feathers.

So many things I learned! For one thing, it's not necessary to pluck the difficult wing tip feathers cause you cut the wing off at the first joint later anyway. Also, that dead chicken smell really hangs around, I'm so thankful I don't work in a chicken factory. We brought the plucked birds over to Grams house and begged her instruction, she was so hilarious. Of course, we didn't know to singe the hairs off the body with a bit of burning newspaper first. Then, the first cut went above the asshole ("it's not a vent, it's an asshole!") and the breast bone had to be lifted to make room for digging in and pulling the guts out. Unpleasent indeed! I was super paranoind about busting the bile sac open, small green bean shaped thing. It would wreck the whole bird if I did. Tim and I managed to pull all the guts out, after Grams showing us how on the first bird. Then the asshole was cut out, the neck trimmed, the esophagus and other tubing removed, the lungs scraped off the back bone (paper towel in hand is great for the really slippery parts), the oil gland on the top of the tail removed, the big crop taken out up by the neck. Oh yeah, that's another things I learned, to starve the chicken before killing it so the crop isn't so full of food. Grams said she's the best gizzard cleaner in all of Alberta and showed us her expertice. It was truely educational.

The whole experience confirmed in my mind that you should throw out the book and beg, plead, or badger someone into showing you how. It really is the only way. That's why I love being a woof host. There are so many things we've had to learn the hard way, it is such a joy for me to show other people the shortcuts we've learned and share the wonderful farming life that we live. I wish I had been smart enough to do some woofing myself before starting my farm adventure. It's something I still hope to do someday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring has sprung and it's pouring

How does the saying go.... "it never rains but it pours" or " when it rains it pours" I'll look it up someday. In anycase, whether or not I have the saying right, my life is in the midst of the proverbial downpour.

Starting with the toilet, ahhhh yes, the toilet, modern necessity and trouble-maker, our toilet has been giving us grief since the tip of a lazer sword was secretly flushed down, leading first to vigorous plunging, then snaking, at which point the felon materialized. A small matter, if left at that, however, the vigorous plunging is now being blamed for seperating the sewage pipes below the trailer causing a major raw sewage washout. Probably 5 days of ewww de toilette from 5 adults and 2 children dispersing itself under our trailer.

The kitchen sink drain also seperated near the boys playroom, I thought the smell was coming from pissy pants that I had yet to discover.

On top of that, dh lost his job and is away looking for more work (we're actually happy, though still stressed), Papa next door broke his ankle, and I'm trying to prepare myself emotionally for a 5 week seperation from the loves of my life when the boys go to Sweden with their grandma.

Yes, I'm venting, but it's such a perfect venue. My favourite part of today was watching the baby goats push each other off the big playground tire, life isn't that bad.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I can't believe it!!! Triplets were born today, just after a big snowstorm with 5 cm of snow. We had Champagne outside and Lucas came running in the house to say that Champagne had her babies. We bundled the babies up, still wet and covered in goo, and rushed them into the barn where warm straw was waiting for them. I could sit and watch Champagne mothering them all day. They talk to eat other constantly and the babies flop around seeking her teats and usually finding a leg or an elbow. Champagne did an impressive job of licking them all clean and dry. She keeps fluffing up the straw to keep them warm and nuzzling, licking and always talking. It's so beautiful. We've just put the other 2 goats in with her and I have to go check them soon to make sure Billy is not stressing the new mommy.

I've already named them, Tickle (with the airplane ears), Revel (black and white with LaMancha ears), and Charm (brown and white). I stayed long enough to make sure they all got a good guzzle of clostrum, but Champagne was trying to push me out. I'm trying not to be too nosy but they are just so darn helpless looking. ALL GIRLS! Hooray! They're keepers!

Random Pictures, wwoofing and kids

Just some pictures, I don't have much to say today.
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