Friday, October 12, 2012

Rooster culling

I took seven of the roosters to the processor last weekend.  They were quite a bit easier to catch that I was afraid they would be.  Of course, I just sneaked into the coops at 7AM and grabbed them and stuck them in the dog crate, so maybe that was cheating.  I'll have to learn to process them myself eventually, but we had guests last weekend and there was just no way I could manage that, too.  Anyway, I got them back and parted them out (breasts, drumsticks/thighs, wings, and everything else).  The "everything else" category got tossed into the pot and I made 5 quarts of chicken stock, now in the fridge (I couldn't can it because the pressure canner wasn't cooperating - I'll use it up too fast for it to matter anyway).  So this week we had Chinese chicken wings - which were yummy, and pesto and Parmesan chicken breasts, which are a favorite of the kids.  The Pirate was rather upset about the demise of Paprikash the Rooster, and didn't want to eat any of the chicken, but did anyway and admitted it was good.  We had a  bit of a discussion about how mommy's ten years as a vegetarian are not an example she should follow.  We also had Chicken thighs cooked in the crockpot with a jar of Curried Apple Chutney that didn't seal.  That's one of my favorites.  I still have a bag of breasts and a bag of drumsticks/thighs left.  The breasts are frozen in the marinade for Honey-Pecan Chicken, which El Jefe really likes.

I admit that I miss having the roosters around.  We still have five, but they are nowhere near as noisy as twelve.  And I particularly miss Frick (-asee) and Frack, the two buff rock roosters, because they were pretty, and funny to watch, since they always hung out together.  Also, the big blue Andalusian (black color phase) was just gorgeous in the sun (all iridescent blues and purples).   He was never friendly, but he sure was beautiful.  Yes, I am apparently a complete sap.  I'm still enjoying eating them all, however.  They taste oddly like pheasant, and nothing like storebought chicken.  I don't know if that is the free-range effect, or just the fact that none of them were Frankenchicken crosses bred solely for their meat.  Or maybe it was just that they were 18 weeks old at processing instead of 8, I have no idea.  They just taste better.

HA! I have sweet potatoes! And other food for the winter!

The evil burrowing creature did not get all the sweet potatoes - I actually got a few pounds.  Only three of them were of any real size - the rest might generously be referred to as "fingerlings" but I am going to cook them all this week anyway.  I also dug up the rest of the potatoes, which will last us a bit longer.  All three types are delicious (one red, one russet, one Yukon Gold (my fave)).

Also, my lovely neighbor let me (and the girls) glean the last of her tomatoes and so I did get a batch of  chili sauce canned, around 1:15AM last night.  This is in addition to the honeyed orange tomato butter and the orange tomato chutney and the tomato-apple chutney and the salsa I made a few weeks ago from her tomatoes.  Also, since it's been so long since I posted, I realized that I didn't mention that the university DID decide to have a fruit sale after all, though it was far more veggies than fruits - I came home with the largest head of cauliflower I have ever seen, and enough apples for a batch of curried apple chutney, and 6 heads of cabbage I cannot do anything with until the ten pounds of cukes in the brining pot actually finish so I can pickle them - come to think of it I should check them today (I have to dump in more salt every Friday).  That sentence was a run-on into looney canner land.  The cauliflower was so large that I made 5 different cauliflower recipes with it over the course of the week it lasted us, in addition to just tearing off bits and munching them raw whenever I felt like it.  Even the Pirate liked the some of the cauliflower recipes. 

We've also been trying green bean recipes.  I can no longer say that I utterly despise green beans - I actually found two recipes I like, and I discovered that fresh beans picked and eaten while standing in the garden are decent.  Nowhere near as good as peas, but they'll do.  The girls have decided they like picking and eating the carrots in the garden, too.  This is good, because those carrots are NOT to my taste.  I have gotten another few icicle radishes, though, and I still love those.

Best of all, the figs are beginning to ripen.  We've eaten about a dozen, and taken a few next door.  I hope that having the plastic on the hoop house will be sufficient heat for the rest to ripen, because they are delicious.  It would be fabulous if I could get enough to try some of the canning recipes that call for figs - fig jam particularly.  Num num.

Still, for all this canning, I am realizing that we will need a LOT MORE garden space next year.  There were many, many veggies we didn't grow, or grow enough of, to supply us til next year.  Then the question becomes where will I store all this stuff I can?!?!  And that doesn't  include the meat issue- which is that there isn't enough room in the freezer, so some of that has to be canned, too.  At least I fixed the pressure canner this week.  As the Pirate has been going around saying..."Yea Me!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Communion for Preppers

El Jefe here. If you're one of the few, the brave, the "it showed up on Facebook and looked so weird I had to see what El Jefe was doing hijacking XaLynn's account this month" crowd, I need to make you aware of that major hole in your emergency preps. You may have a bunch of bottled water and some filters. You probably have 1000 rounds of ammo for each firearm in your arsenal. Canned goods-check. Emergency medical supplies, including a platoon-rated field hospital shrunk down to fit in a plastic sandwich baggie: got three. Radiation detection gear and potassium iodide- no worries. Gas mask. Tomahawk, Buck Hoodlum knife, and an assortment of moras. Tactical pants.

But you're almost certainly missing a major critical item -- prepackaged, long-shelf-life communion supplies.

Prepper wafer & wine

In my opinion, no Christian prepper can really claim to be ready for bad times until they have this and a stack of economy bibles (in a modern English translation:  E.g., NKJV Economy Bible) to distribute to friends and wandering 'zombie hordes'. (For the non-initiated, that's code-speak for the lost and clueless).

Please understand what I'm saying. I believe, out of all the sacraments, that communion is the most important in the life of a Christian. The commitment and public communion with Christ in some senses defines the Christian faith. We partake in communion because it gives us the opportunity both to  publicly declare our faith in Christ as the savior of all mankind generally and to privately unite with Christ as our personal savior.

So when I talk about the prepper's communion, I'm talking about the recognition that our life in Christ is just as, and even more, critically important as any amount of physical food, water, vitamins, batteries, ammunition, etc. that we might have on hand in the event of TEOTWAKI. I doubt I'm going to buy the prepper wafer/wine sealpak combo, but looking at it really made me think about the focus of the current awareness (in some circles "fad") about preparing for future disasters. Thinking about our preps, and recognizing that those preparations for the future in some sense represent where we (or you) have placed your faith, did we make room for God in between the ammo, heritage tomato seeds, and the canned goods?