The Weekly Digs #122

by Becky

Meat in the Freezer

We butchered our chickens this weekend! My sister Amy and her family, along with some of my other nieces and nephews and my own kids and Cameron all helped. We now have 74 chickens all ready for the freezer.

We chill them in ice water for 24 hours then bag them whole or part them out. Then freeze. It was way more fun than last time because instead of standing at the evisceration table all alone the whole time, I got to chat with my sister. 

We also learned something new. Since we have pigs and pigs are omnivores, I had researched and read that it was ok to give the pigs the chicken offal, as long as it was cooked.

So after butchering all these chickens, we tossed the entrails in a bucket of boiling water to cook. The smell was awful and I was so grossed out by the end I vowed it wasn’t worth the extra work to use the entire chicken even if the pigs could eat it. 

My sister Amy, who doesn’t get grossed out easily and has done lots of butchering, even had her own grossed out moment. She tossed the heads in the boiling water to cook and then I was reading from a quick Google search that the cooked heads aren’t good to give to the pigs because of the bones possibly getting lodged in their throats. 

So about half way through we decided to take out the heads so we could toss them far, far, away in the woods somewhere. As Amy was taking out a head, her face told me something was very wrong.  I couldn’t figure out what would cause a face like that and I said, “What’s wrong?!” 

She took a long time to speak again while I wondered what was going on, and she said, “An eyeball popped out!” She said even that was too much for her.

Well, that is the very last time I will ever cook chicken guts and probably Amy too. Amy regularly gives her dogs chicken offal in raw form which was why it seemed a good idea. But cooking it was more than I could handle. 

After I recover for a week or two, I might be able to eat some of the chickens we butchered 🙂

In the Garden

We have started the bulk of the tomato harvest. Now that I have my chickens out of the garden, I am noticing another pest, tomato fruit worms. There are so many this year! For every tomato I pick, I have to toss one tomato in the compost or give it to the pigs because it was eaten by worms. I am picking off the worms I see but it’s hardly making a dent.

Purple basil- such a beauty! I grabbed all this to make Greek Salad

I think with time, this problem will level itself out. Most of the time, when I have a pest one year usually by the next year or two years later it will be gone. It’s hard to be patient!

  • All my cucumbers and melons I planted are sprouting
  • I transplanted all my cabbages and covered them with a row cover to keep out cabbage moths
  • We are actively harvesting squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, arugula, basil, other herbs, and carrots. We still use things I’ve already harvested like garlic, onions, potatoes, and cabbage in weekly meals too.
Carrot harvest- about 18 pounds

Preserving

I dried several pounds of summer squash and also a little bit of holy basil. I plan on using the holy basil in herbal tea during winter. It is supposed to be helpful for depression and anxiety. Winter definitely makes those things worse. I’m hoping it will be helpful! Sorry no pictures of the preserved food! We have been busy with family and I forgot!

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