Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The end of another season around the corner

It has been a little while since I have posted. Things have been so crazy here. We have gotten 6 cows now! Our sows are having more babies and we finished the new barn for the pigs and cows. It is also harvesting and canning season. Here is a little of what we have been doing on the crazy rapidly growing homestead! Some of these pictures will be graphic with afterbirth.

Petunia just had her 13 piglets! The one I am pointing at is just fine. He was tuckered out after being the first born and got his fill of milk! He needed a nap. :)

Here they are at 2 weeks old.

Here they are at 4 weeks old. (This week) They grow pretty fast!

Here is Daisy, our heifer, enjoying her new pasture and new home.

Here are the 4 jersey bull calves we have gotten. The largest, with the orange collar is Daisy future husband, Humpfrey. The others are Chuck, Rib Eye, and Porterhouse....we call him Porter for short. Yes, we did name most of them after beef! Well we do that on purpose so the kids always know they are being raised to be eaten. 

Here is our other bull  calf, a Holstein, T-bone.

Here is my lovely machine making applesauce! I LOVE this contraption! Best Christmas/Birthday present ever! LOL

Some of our eggs. We do barter with local farmers and one approached us and wanted to buy a weaned piglet off of us. He offered 12 laying hens and a male and female Pheasant. We got 2 Easter Eggers in that mix and they lay blue eggs. These are my favorite eggs! I think it is amazing the God made chickens that naturally lay colored eggs. There are other Easter Eggers that lay pink and green too! I told Mr. Smith I want to get more of them! They are so neat and such a beautiful bird. Very well mannered as well. These are supposed to be some of the best eggs for you as well! :)

Here is chicken stock being made.
1 whole chicken carcass. (the bones left over after the meat is taken off after butchering)
2 stalks of celery with leaves, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
10 whole black peppercorns
2 quarts cold water

Put in a stock pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours.
I put the spices in a coffee filter and tie it closed. It helps to strain out everything when done simmering.

Here is what it looks like after you strain it. I let it cool overnight, so that is a little fat that congealed floating at the top.

Then I put it into jars and pressure canned it. You can only pressure can it! You cannot hot water bath can it. 10lbs of pressure for 20 minutes with pints and 25 minutes with quarts. Now since we are a larger family I use the quarts and it is equal to 3 1/2 cups. My husband saves all the chicken bones for me after butchering and I do all the stock I can in one day. I will also be making a few into chicken noodle soup to can and save for over the winter for a quick meal with some grilled cheese! Nothing is better then homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese on a really cold snowy day....reminds you a little of the fall when we do most of our butchering so we don't have so many animals to feed over the winter. It gets expensive!

Oh, our corn field. We really went all out with our corn field this year and I am so glad we did. We got so much more corn! This is my youngest son(Smith kid #5) running through the corn in his cloth cow diaper! It was so cute!

Here is my middle daughter (Smith kid #4) helping us pick corn. The kids are so good with helping and enjoy some of the work! Love this smile!

Here was one of many harvests from the corn field. we had 5 altogether like this. A whole tote full! This was our final harvest as we were ripping the stalks out to prepare the field for some Fall crops. That's why the corn is smaller and some are missing spots of kernels. Still so tasty!

Here is my little trick to the fastest and safest way to dekernel corn on the cob. Take a bunt cake pan and put the cob in the middle and just shave on down! Here you can see me starting that final harvest out with the first cob. We froze the really good cobs that were large and full. The rest was canned.

Here is our new canning room. Not done yet, but it is a start and now even more full of cans! We are trying to stay away from the freezer and freezing our harvests. We are trying to use less power and do things a little more old fashioned. This is our grocery store! Peaches, pickles, marinara, spaghetti sauce, corn, green beans, green beans with potatoes, applesauce, peach cobbler filling, apple pie filling, apple diced pieces, ketchup, bbq sauce, strawberry jam and refried beans. Soon the stock will be in as well. Now everything I just named is not in this picture...but is in the canning room as of yesterday. I was not able to run the stock that was just canned over there. It is late and I need to get some sleep for another busy busy day! 

Piggy is due in a week and we are currently looking into a new boar. We are looking into expanding our feeder pigs so we can have more meat and sell more to bring more money onto the farm. We are also expanding our chicken flock so we can sell more eggs and we can have more meat. In a few months Daisy's husband shall be large enough to get her pregnant and we shall be rolling in the milk! LOL ok not literally, that would be a little weird. ;) So many more things happening and lots more to tell coming up! Stay tuned!

Mrs. Smith