"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Unkilled meat. Seriously, what the ????

I just had to reproduce this here...
This person could actually breed and that scares the living bejabbers out of me!
Now I have nothing against killing animals for meat, obviously, but to consume meat or wear wool or leather while remaining ignorant of its origin is a sin. Worse still are those people who deliberately avoid facing the reality of their food yet are still willing to eat it. I am not asking everyone to actually have to slaughter the animal they wish to eat but I do believe they should be cognisant of the process whereby their food was made.
Factory farming, chemical fertilizers, battery cages, farrowing crates. Would any of these things exist if the public as a whole were forced to confront them?

Meat chicks

We are working to have a varied diet at hand, within seasonal limits. I like to be able to go to the freezer and be able to choose from a range of meats just as I like to be able to go to the veggie garden to eat a different selection of veggies most nights. Granted there must be a seasonal variation with vegetables and this is a good thing too as it whets the appetite for variety from the garden and brightens the diet. But where meat is concerned it is a chore indeed to eat a whole beef before a change in diet. To avoid this we try to keep production going and slaughter regularly to keep the freezer stocked with a variety of meats. At any one time I should be able to choose from beef, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, chevon or mutton.
So I intend to raise a batch of fifty meat chooks each year. I was originally intending to breed my own but it is much easier, and cheaper, to just buy the chicks wholesale. They are a meat bird natural crossbreed (We do not permit GMO on the Cloud farm!) and are raised on pure organic food. So what if they take a little longer to mature than the chemically fattened victims from the factory? Our birds taste better and grow at least as large.
They arrive by air freight as day old chicks. Day olds, for those who don't know, can be mailed about the place with impunity as long as they remain warm enough -for when they hatch the chicks still have a yolk sack in their stomach. This supplies them with everything they need for about forty eight hours. To try this with week old birds would almost certainly kill the lot.
So I drove down the mountain to Cairns and picked up a chirping box of chicks.
There I was confronted by a young girl of ten or so and her mother. The young lady was enchanted by the cute little chick but horrified that I intended to eat them. I enquired if the young lady ate chicken and she assured me she did. I then reminded her that all chickens started out as cute little chicks just like these, likewise the wool she wore came from a sheep that was once a lamb and the leather of her shoes came from a cow that was once a calf.
I suppose I am a bit of a bastard really...
Anyway, the chicks are currently in the brooder under a light to keep warm until they are old enough to go out to the fatteners pen. They sure are eating, drinking and growing well.

Mucky days

Well winter is here. We have actually been experiencing some absolutely beautiful blue-sky crisp weather. Cold nights and those clear cold days that are so good to work in. I turned over the veggie garden and dug in a couple of tonnes of compost. Then built a temporary iron fence to keep the bandicoots out- they are dreadful diggers in garden beds and will wreak havoc on seedlings. I managed to get in a couple of rows of winter peas and some carrots before the weather turned.
 Now it looks like the blue skies are gone for a while as the "winter muckies" close in. Good weather for germinating winter seedlings or toasting in front of the fire. I have been doing both.
Today the wind is blowing a gale and visibility ranges from fifty metres to one in a flash. The cold rain comes in horizontal gusts making a good Drizabone (oilskin coat for the non Aussie/Kiwi readers) essential.
Oh yes, the Cloud farm winter ensemble this year features a wide brim Akubra with a tasteful hint of chook feathers and poop on the crown where I hit my head under the roosting perch, A full length brown Drizabone riders coat with mud stained and tattered hem line and matching gumboots in red mud. Finish the whole outfit with a tatty grey jumper and old jeans with red mud on the knees. A perfect and stylish ensemble for those early morning milking's or when stumbling through a muddy chook pen. Not surprisingly it is much the same outfit as featured in last years catalogue.
Don't get me wrong, although it is cold and muddy, I actually love this weather and this time of year. I love the nights beside the fire and sleeping warm under blankets and doona. Drinking wine and eating cheese. Spending a day working outdoors without dripping sweat all over. It is a time of real productivity and fun.
As I mentioned a few post ago, we have slaughtered the beef steer. He turned out really well and I intend to follow this method of raising and slaughtering in future. The steer was raised to almost three years and slaughtered at "the end of the grass" which is a way of saying he was fat from the summer flush of good grazing and had not yet begun to lose condition as the cold weather came on. The beef was then hung to age for two weeks to fully mature it. This improves the texture and flavour no end. We then cut the beef into useable cuts over two days. Steak, roast, silverside, mincing, chops and cutlets, T bone and blade, rendering fat and finally dog bones.
I cut and the child bride packed. The meat is bagged in meal sized portions and then paper wrapped for the freezer. According to the lady wife, pumpkins make excellent paper weights.