Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This-n-that and free books

As I am typing away at my computer working on The Ecofrugal Handbook, which will be published next fall, my goats are starting to show off their pregnant bellies, and I'm getting excited about the babies that will be arriving starting in January. Due to all my traveling this fall with the Homegrown and Handmade book tour, I wasn't here enough to catch everyone in heat in a timely manner, so kids will be making their debuts between January and April.

A couple days ago, we put James the American Guinea Hog back in the walnut grove with Julia and their babies, which means we can expect our next litter of piglets at the end of March. As I suspected, Julia weaned her babies somewhere around three or four months. Most people separate the piglets from mama around two months because they say the sow starts to lose too much weight, but the babies were two months old right when the acorns and hickories started to fall, so Julia actually started gaining weight about that time!

I'm sad that I'm down to one pair each of the silver and gold Sebrights, the bantam chickens that I added to the homestead this past spring. I don't know whether it was coyotes or coons, but whatever it was, the bantams are almost gone. I am thinking about trying to catch them so I can lock them in the barn in hopes of being able to raise some chicks in the spring. They may be small in stature, but they are big in taste. We butchered the extra roosters in the summer when they were around four months old. Each one dressed out right around one pound, so we split them in half and grilled them. Sebright now ties stew hens as my favorite meat from the farm. I didn't realize a grilled chicken could taste that amazing!

If you want to chat about making Christmas gifts or turkey left-overs or anything homegrown or handmade, you can head over to my publisher's book club, and if you join the conversation, you'll be automatically entered to win a copy of my book. The drawing will be on Dec. 13.

If you have been thinking that you would like to give a copy of H&H to a friend or loved one, you can click over to the Homegrown and Handmade blog, leave a comment before Friday midnight, and be entered to win.

4 comments:

LindaG said...

I'm sorry to hear about your bantams, but I appreciate the update about flavor. I know bantams are supposed to be good brooders, but I never thought about eating smaller chickens (though I have tried my hand at cooking Cornish hens).

I bet Julia taught her piglets all about what was good eating, too! :-)

Patty said...

You've really given me something to think about with grilling those bantams. Sounds delicious! I might have to get some more and see if they'll raise chicks for me.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

LindaG - I'm sorry to say that the so-called Cornish hens in the grocery store are neither Cornish nor hens. They're just 4-week-old modern meat chickens. By four weeks, most chickens haven't had a chance to develop much flavor, so if you weren't impressed, you'll probably find real bantams far more flavorful.

Patty - Most bantam hens are known for their broodiness. Since they've never been raised commercially for egg production, they've never been culled for broodiness. Of course, AFTER I got my Sebrights, I read somewhere that they are less broody than other bantam breeds. And now I only have two hens left!

Prairie Cat said...

I liked your update on your animals, and am sorry to hear about your chickens!

Luckily we have not had an issue with predators yet, but now that it is getting colder outside and food less scarce, I am constantly on the look out for anything that might harm my little egg factories.

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