Archive for November, 2008

Chickens, goats, sheep, and sick kids

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Seems like the last week has been busy around the ol’ homestead.

Last Saturday we butchered 100 chickens.  It was a looong day!  We had several other adults helping us as well (the James’ and the Johnson’s and some of the Johnson’s adult kids).  I think it took about 9 hours all together from start to finish.  Which is pretty slow really.  Robert (one of the Johnson’s) commented that we managed to process one bird per person per hour, which is true, but not an accurate reflection of our work.  Truth be told, I think we managed to process about 20 birds in the first two hours, then we took a lunch break for an hour, then we processed another 30 birds over the next three hours, and we processed the last 50 in about two hours.  In other words, we got faster at it.  The last hour was spent re-sealing some of the packaging.  We used a vacuum sealer (which worked very well overall) but some of them didn’t seal right because of liquid getting vacuumed up where the sealing was taking place.

I borrowed a chicken plucker from a guy I work with, which looks like this:

Jako Chicken Plucker

Jako Chicken Plucker

The inside of the barrel part looks like this:

plucker

plucker

The first picture is of the actual model plucker we used, the second just shows what the inside looks like.  The bottom plate spins around and all those little black rubber fingers strip the feathers from the bird.  You put in four birds, turn it on, and 30 seconds later pull out four birds without feathers.  Truly amazing!

Sunday night was the start of the sick kids.  William got up around 2:00am and threw up…and repeated that every 20-30 minutes until around 9:00am.  Ugh.  Not a lot of sleep that night.  My brain was mush, so I ended up taking Monday off to go get easy to digest foods, and to build some fence (which doesn’t take a lot of mental work).

Tuesday was goat delivery day.  Dominic and I drove four goats to Monett, MO for breeding.  Three of them we left there and will pick up in a few weeks.  The other was…er…”serviced”…while we waited.  Goats are NOT shy or hesitant.  Ahem.  Two and a half hour drive each way, and we left after work.  Got home around 11:30pm.  Thankfully, the kids took a break from being sick that night.

Wednesday saw the flu return to our house…Elizabeth was sick all day, and Teresa started getting sick in the evening and continued with that at regular intervals until about 3:00am.  Not a lot of sleep last night either.

Tonight I’ll be re-wiring our stock trailer so that the tail lights and turn signals work.  This is so that we can use it to transport some rams to Amsterdam, MO to swap some rams with the folks at Limpus Shetland Farm.  I may also butcher a sheep/lamb tonight (I just can’t bring myself to call an 18 month old sheep a “lamb”, but technically they are still considered “lamb” until they’re two years old).

Hopefully, nobody else will get sick.  Dominic, Julianna, Allena and I have managed to stay healthy so far, so we’ll just keep our fingers crossed on that one.