29 August 2014

Slaughtering our 1st rabbit *graphic pictures*

This post is about using animals as meat. If you have a problem with that or the pictures of that technique, you should not read this post. Thanks.

A few nights ago we slaughtered our first rabbit. We had too many bucks and this one was not particularly easy to deal with anyways. So, he went first. He managed to scratch me a few times when I picked him up and that doesn't work for me. I also cut myself trying to slit his fur open, but I digress. Here is his last living picture. Yeah, he was cute. I am going to be tanning his hide to keep for craft projects.

With my trusty DH by my side and in control of the camera we got started. I don't have a specialized spot to slaughter yet so we used a tree with a bungee cord on it. Necessity is after all the mother of invention is it not? It worked out ok until I tried to pull the fur off the meat. It was just too jumpy because of the bungee cord. I really need something that will hold it still for me better.
Here you see the rabbit being held up by the bungee. I had yet to really start, but it is somewhat effective.

I'm making a weird face here, but I was trying to concentrate on what I was doing. Plus, I was working on separating the anus from the rabbit. Not a pleasant job in an of itself, but nobody wants it left attached. 

The fur and skin really just slips off the rabbit. You do of course have to tug at it, but don't worry about it ripping or anything. Make sure you cut the forelegs so that you can get the fur off at the end though. 

Next I split the belly open to remove the offal. That string thing sticking out there is the large intestine, full of fecal matter. And I stopped food for 24 hours previous. But this rabbit was well cared for and fed on a schedule so I wasn't surprised that he was still full of poop.

Here is a few more pictures of that process. I was separating the liver and organ meats that we can use from the intestines that we didn't want to keep. 
And all the while, Krunchee was looking on. I think he was waiting to get his part of the 'kill.' In the wild dogs eat as a pack and the pack leader eats first. That's me, so he thinks that after I'm done I'll leave it to him to finish up. (He did get a few pieces too)

This is the rabbit's liver. For a small animal it is pretty large. I kept this, the heart and the kidneys for later. I froze them for now, until I can get some more organ meats to add to it. The liver is in-between the belly and the heart cavity. 
The other picture is busting into the pericardium to get to the heart and lungs. I gave the lungs to the dogs at this point and before you saw that's gross-dog's in the wild eat raw meat that they kill. This was a treat to them. I'm looking into switching to raw food for them anyways. It's what their bodies were made to eat. Kibble is cooked and harder on their systems. Not to mention, who can really trust what is in them anymore?

This is the finished rabbit meat. He dressed out to 2.2 lbs. I did not weigh him live.
All in all I think we did a pretty good job. 
The rabbit sustained our bodies so that we can continue to live. That is a noble purpose, for the noble rabbit. We thank God for the life that we took and the meat that was provided for us.  As well as the wisdom to be good stewards of what He has given us. 

Thoughts for next time.

We didn't have anything to kill the rabbit with so I used a couple branches of the tree and placed its neck inside and pulled up. It was effective, but my DH was worried that I was hurting the rabbit. I touched his eyeball and confirmed that he was in fact dead. But he seemed to think that I could do this a better way. I would love to have a kill board to use in a designated slaughter space. 
I know that some people use a broomstick, but I've never done that method either and I would worry about torturing the rabbit. That is not necessary to do and I do not think it is humane.  With a kill board it is instantaneous and obvious when the rabbit is dead. 

This blogger makes his own rabbit kill board. I may have to make one of these. (Disclaimer-his pictures are explicit as well. If you choose to follow the link be aware that we are discussing rabbit as a food here.) He even sells rabbit boards in his area. I'm not sure where he is, but I think we will just make one to use on our homestead. (No offense Mike!) 

We are working on making a slaughter area for all the animals that we are going to have here at the Silver Fox Homestead. It is going to need electricity and a water source and some way to hold up these implements. It's in the works for next year. 
Until then, I guess I'm using the tree. 

This is a shot of what I made for dinner out of the rabbit. I fried the legs and made some gravy from the drippings and served it with rice and corn. Very Southern of me, I know. 
My DH was happy with it though. :) And so was I.  He was a little chewy to fry so next time we will be making a stew from what is left of him. 

27 August 2014

Homestead Planning and new rabbits.

Hello Friends,

Today I want to go over what are planning for next year. This year has been a little slow for us and we didn't have the money to go too many ventures up and going. Just getting the house in order took time and money for us. But it is coming a long nicely.  I know that normally winter is for planning, but I wanted to discuss the animals that we are hoping to have next year.

I've been looking into the chickens and goats more lately. I found that most if not all of my neighbors have chickens. I can hear them crowing all during the day. I can hear cows from down the street and sometimes I hear and see a horse or two. I really love living in the country. The air is pure and most days the sky is clear and blue. Today is a little overcast, but that's ok.

My nearest neighbors (You can just see their house in the picture of my garden) have silver laced wyandotte chickens and they sell those at Runnings in town. Now I have to decide if I want to order the goldens or just get the silvers. The goldens must be ordered online. Althuogh, I've been looking more and more at a dual purpose heritage breed. Such as the Dominique. They aren't beautifully colored like some, but they have great personalities, tolerate the cold and lay the large brown eggs. I'm almost talking myself into it here. LOL. Plus, they have hawking pattern so I could free range them without too much worry.

I also found a grain elevator in another town closer to me that sells chickens for cheaper than Runnings. So, Runnings is out of the running for Chickens in the spring. HA HA HA.Even though I may have to order them online to get the Dominiques.

Also, DH and I have been discussing enlarging my garden for next year. We did get some produce from the garden this year and it is still going into the fall. However we want to be able to get more for the amount of work that I am putting into it. We have a strange shape planned for next year, but it may be ok. We have trees in the way and he doesn't want to remove them yet. I do because they are just box elder trees and will eventually block the shade. For now, I have acquiesced to his request of not chopping any more trees down this year. (Personally, I think he and I are both tired of clearing and burning trees and shrubs.) This is a picture of what we currently have. It's from the back of the house looking toward our dirt road so you can see the little box elder trees we're debating about.

We have the rabbits and that is going well. I am planning to slaughter one in a week or so and will probably do a post on that as well. I'm planning a slaughter station/house for sometime next year after we get chickens as well. Rabbits do not require much at all. My doe should be kindling this week sometime and I am excited to see how many she has and what colors we can get. I'm really hoping for a chocolate dutch bunny. (Sounds a lot like a piece of candy doesn't it?) I am actually expecting blue and black though.
My silver Fox Rabbits are going to be coming home with me in about a week as well and I'm excited about that. The lady sent me a few pictures and here they are in their old home. I'll get new ones of course, but they are still small in these.
This is the senior doe. She will kindle first for me I hope. 

This is a junior doe and she will not come into her breeding until after the ones that the sr doe has are ready to butcher. She should do nicely for me. Plus she is young enough to get used to my schedule. 

This is a blue baby boy. He's bigger now, obviously, but wasn't he cute? This is an example of the blue color that I am going to be trying to breed. 

The buck on the left (or maybe it is the back) is going to be our buck. I am still on a waiting list to get another buck from a different breeder to have some more genetic diversity. You can see the difference between the black and the blue in this picture.

I've been thinking about trying to look into sustainable feeding practices for the rabbits I currently have. I'm not sure how this would work out in the winter time, but I don't like depending on a big box store for food for my food. If you know what I mean here. I hope to get to this and tell you more about it later.  

We have been planning a chicken coop for the spring and will probably get a run attached to it after we obtain the chicks. I have thought about ducks, but with chickens I'm not entirely sure yet. What would the point be really? I want to be able to grow all our own meat for the year and I am still trying to figure out how much we need and what varieties we want. We do not eat a lot of pork, because DH doesn't care for it too much. But, being a southern girl I like it at times and I would like to butcher at least 1 hog a year. That would give us enough pork for the whole year I think. My Mom and step father usually do at least 2-3 a year, but they eat more meat than we do. I can make 1lb of sausage last for 6 meals for 2 people. So, maybe just a few feeder pigs every few years or so would work out for us. But then, that's not sustainable is it? And that is something that I am striving towards as well.

I'm excited to have geese in the spring as well. I'm thinking of forgoing the turkey for goose. I like the flavor of goose better anyways, and it's not so dry. (Unless my DH relays his need for turkey I doubt we will have any. Although if he does I can just shoot some wild ones around here.) Have you seen a goose egg? I could scramble one and have breakfast for DH and me both. I doubt we will get too many of them, but it will be a nice change once in awhile.

Bees are on the list for us. I have requested a bee hive be built in the "man cave/shop" and he has agreed that we need them and a bat house to eat the mosquitos. We live on land with a swampy area so we really feel that it would help us to not get carried off or get the malaria either.

We have entertained the idea of raising tillapia in the shop/man cave as well, but do not know how much space that would require and what the heating requirements on that are gong to be either. When the temperature gets down to -40 I don't want my fish to freeze, even if they are inside. They need to be at least 60F at all times. I found a resource that says that you can breed them inside in a 55 gallon tank. Which I would have to put in my basement. but to grow them out you need a larger tank. And that is the point that I get stuck on. Maybe sometime in the future I can build a larger barn and have it heated as well.

We have decided on Kinder Goats and I am thinking 1-2 years on that investment. Milk and meat plus a free comedy show everyday!

So in having these animals I will get all this. Plus, fertilizer for the garden.

  • Chickens- meat and eggs
  • Geese-meat and occasionally eggs
  • Rabbits- meat and fur
  • Goats-meat and milk and possibly leather later
  • Pigs (just a few and not every year)-meat
  • Bees-Honey and wax (and mead) 
  • Cows- still thinking about doing a beef steer every few years or so.

20 August 2014

Project 333 First attempt

I'm beginning to get frustrated with all the clothes that I have that don't match or that are for an office that I no longer work in anymore.  So I have decided to attempt to minimize my wardrobe. Before you think "Whoa! She's going to throw all her clothes out." I'm not, I want to look put together, even though I'm only going out to the store, to church or maybe even on a date with my DH.  This will help me to obtain that goal. Also, I have closets and boxes FULL of clothes that I don't wear anymore and I have been faced with the laundry, upkeep and care of all those clothes (plus, my DH's clothes) and I would like to do something else now. My time is more valuable than that.

Ergo, I am getting my wardrobe in order.  I didn't realize how tiring clothing can be and has been! I've been trying to decide and pack up my clothing for  5 hours and I'm still not done. I've got 5 shopping bags full of clothing to go out of the closet for good! I've also got 6 medium boxes of stuff that I want to keep, but I am not going to wear it for awhile or it just didn't match into what I wanted to do. I am going to go through it all after this term is over. I know that I'm jumping into the summer in the middle. Since it ends in September and starts over in fall, I have decided to just do the abbreviated time that is left as a trial run. Then I will amend what I have with what I have learned about my wardrobe and myself.

So it may ended up being a Project 241 for awhile.  I had a lot of trouble weeding out some of my things and making matching coordinates. I don't like to wear only solids. I am a printy-texture kinda girl. Plus, my wardrobe was so mis-matched that not everything goes together well. Although I starting thinking up ideas in my head for outfits and some of these are going to be ways I have never worn my clothes before.

If you are curious about this project you can check it out at the website for project 333. I also got inspiration from this blog. Her style is not cookie cutter and I like how she mixed up her pieces. I need to throw in my nerdy life style stuff too. It's not like I have to go to an office right?

I'm thinking of buying ONE shirt to bring this together a bit more. (Joker Shirt, it's just so me! I am trying not to buy it, maybe I'll get it for my birthday?It's on my amazon wish list.) I'm getting rid of so many things. I'm selling some of my Fluevogs(shoes) and as I said a lot of my clothes are headed out. Some of my Fluevogs will be staying, but I do not wear them as much as I used to when I worked at the office, so they have to go. Although I will be keeping my favorites. :D I would like to get the green ones that match my purple purse.

I looked at what a lot of people do for their project and most people do a lot of suits. That's great, but again I'm not an office worker anymore. So, I based mine around fun things that I like and jeans. (Did I mention that I don't have to go to an office anymore? LOL)

I did not include workout wear (although I did weed through it), under clothes,sunglasses, socks and my winter coat (although I hope I don't need it until after October is over. :) As I plan on amending this later I may include some of these things at a later date.
Here is what I chose and under that is the photos of each one. I took my own because I didn't want to search for stock photos and some of these I made, so there was no other way to show those.
Speaking of things that I've made, I have more trouble letting go of those things that I've made for myself. If I bought it from a store or something it doesn't have much meaning to me, but if I spent my time and energy on it I want to hang on to that. So, I will be addressing that issue later.
*Note* The pictures are not in the same order as the list. Most are self explanatory though.
  1. Dark color Jeans
  2. Light color Jeans (not pictured, but we know what jeans look like.)
  3. Khakis (ankle length) 
  4. Khaki Shorts (lightweight)
  5. Cut-off Jean Shorts
  6. Double Button Jean Shorts 
  7. Teal Lace Skirt (Part of a set)
  8. Reversible Green Paisley Skirt (Olive on one side and Olive, purple and pink paisley on inside)
  9. Black Linen Skirt
  10. Dark Pink Dress
  11. Denim Jumper
  12. Purple Wrap Dress with Pink Trim
  13. Teal Lace Sleeveless Blouse (Part of a set)
  14. White Button up top 
  15. White V-Neck T-Shirt 
  16. 'Marie Curie' Graphic Tee
  17. 'Joker' Graphic Tee (Thinking about ordering this)
  18. Dark Pink Button up Blouse
  19. Purple and Pink Flower Blouse
  20. 'Zombie Love' Long Sleeve Tee
  21. Black long sleeve shirt
  22. Ariel Print Sleeveless Blouse 
  23. Teal Peplum Top
  24. Pink sleeves
  25. Harlequin Pink, Gray and Black Cardigan 
  26. Black w/ Pink Roses and Teal Leaves Cardigan
  27. Peace Leather Belt
  28. Purple Belt
  29. Black and White Scarf 
  30. 'Brightman' Fluevogs Olive and Tan
  31. Black 'Malibrans' Fluevogs
  32. Leather Flip Flops
  33. White Keds
  34. Brown Cowgirl Boots
  35. Purple Fluevog Purse 
  36. Leather Backpack
  37. Purple lace tank top
  38. Purple Cotton tank
  39. Pink cotton tank 
  40. White Lace tank
  41. Black Hoodie

Here are all the items I have chosen so far. I'm thinking of not including the undershirts in my challenge this time. I don't want to feel like I have nothing to wear and no layers. It gets darn cold in Minnesota you know. This is for end of summer to September. I want to try it out for less than a month and then try to adjust it a little bit for the fall. I love colors and I don't like to wear much black. Or scarves, even though I included one here.  I included them in the numbers though. And I still only have 41.

Add caption

Has matching skirt. 

I love this retro blouse. 

I'm a Nerd. 

I may eventually get another white Tee that is better and doesn't have the logo on the bottom of the shirt. I stole this from my DH. 

This has a matching 'belt' that I had to mend. It's not in the picture, but it will be in the closet. 

Again, I'm a Nerd. 

Not sure if scarves are my thing. I'm going to try it. I own 3 and I never wear them. Should I just take it out before I start this?

I made this. It wraps around the body. Super comfy and I think it's super cute. 

This is hanging frumpy, but it's not when it's on me. 

This is reversible, so I took the picture with the skirt up to show both sides. 

All shorts will be phased out for fall and add something else, or maybe not.

Marie Curie-One of my namesakes. Love her.

These look better on my feet, but I think I'll replace them next year. 

I have another pair of jeans just like this that are light colored. I did not get a picture of them. 

I do have some winter scarves that I wear on occasion, but they are not fashion statements as much as they are to stay warm in the harsh weather.
I will be updating my fall wardrobe soon and adding pictures of me in what I choose to wear.

Thanks for reading! I can only hope this goes well!