Lots of gardening stuff this month, but I think it's safe to say that's what most of us homesteader's have on the brain this time of year. I'm trying the new embedded code from Pinterest this time instead of downloading and uploading every photo and then linking individually to each one. Please let me know if it doesn't work out for you! (*UPDATE: If you are reading this post through an email feed, you will need to click through for the Pinterest links. For some reason they're not showing up there. I'm sorry for the inconvenience and will go back to the old way next month. Thank you for understanding!)
Hope you all find something useful and educational here!
I know all too well how vital having a good dusting spot is for your chickens unless you want them to trash your flower beds!
Now that busy spring days are here, it's taking me longer than I had hoped to get this series posted, but I did finally get the 3rd installment on the evisceration process uploaded and posted to the Homestead Hog Butchering page.
Last year, we reserved three of the Freedom Ranger broilers to see how long they would survive, whether or not they would lay eggs, and perhaps whether or not we could breed our own meat chickens. I would never expect a cross to grow as fast as a ranger broiler, but that's alright... I'm not afraid of an older bird.
My favorites and yours from off the Pinboards and around the web...
A little potager inspiration for your front yard... not for mine. I'd have to cut down all the trees first. And at this point I'd rather starve than lose even that small buffer from the road noise. (Not to mention privacy!) This is so much more beautiful than a lawn though!
Since we don't have the equipment for scalding and scraping the skin, we removed it. I'll be honest, I'm not too sure what advantage that scalding and scraping has these days. I'm under the impression that the skin aided in meat preservation and since ours is in a freezer, there would be not benefit to going through that process. I don't know, maybe they ate it.
If you don't plan to eat the skin or preserve the flesh in it, the only benefits I can think of is that by leaving the skin on no fat could be inadvertently wasted (and we did leave on more fat on the hide than I would have cared to, but it was given to the hens to pick at and that is at least some consolation) and that the cuts wouldn't be as slippery on the table while processing the meat.
I might be wrong though and if I'd be grateful for the enlightenment if it's necessary.
One way I read of to retain as much fat on the carcass as possible was to pull the hide off the mid-section. A large rock was tied inside the back of the hanging hide, attached to the tractor, and then the bucket was lifted. He was able to get it started on the first hog and if you watch the video, you can see how nice and smooth the fat looks over the back. That's because it was all there. It wasn't as easy as it sounds and took up way too much of the time. It didn't work as well with the second hog. Her fat was ripping off with the skin, if the skin was coming off at all. Eventually, the attempt was abandoned. It's funny how we'll spend more time and effort trying to make something easier and quicker than we would have had we just done the job the "long" and "hard" way in the first place.
Two things I didn't mention in the video. They might be common sense, but I'll mention them just in case. Make sure that once you get the knife under the skin, you cut up and away from the body so as not to puncture the meat or guts. And second, make sure the knife you'll be skinning with is super sharp and you pull the hide away with one hand while skinning with the other, keeping the knife as close to the skin as possible to help keep that fat on the pig.
I hope someone will find this helpful, but please remember as I mention in the video notes, we're far from experts and are just learning ourselves.
Since the first time since the new year, I really felt like taking some pictures.
I guess I recovered from last year. Either that or the sun came out twice and that was enough to motivate me. I don't think I'll go back to a photo a day with a weekly post, but if I keep this up, perhaps I'll do a monthly post.