Chicken Math | Real Life Math

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De-boning chicken today! A while back I ran across a deal! $0.34/lb for chicken leg quarters! Can’t beat that. Anyway, I’m needing room in the freezer, so I’m putting 20 lbs of frozen chicken in the roaster at night at 200 degrees. In the morning, I turn it up for a little while just to get them good and done. Then I de-bone them and put them in the freezer again along with their broth.

There’s a real life math problem here for you! Which is the better buy boneless chicken breasts or chicken leg quarters if you look solely at meat yield?

I looked it up and found that leg quarters have an approximately 62% meat yield as compared to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. To figure out what the price of the actual meat is, divide the price by 0.62.  

$0.34/0.62=$0.548/lb. Chicken breasts were on sale that day for $1.99/lb. The breasts usually cost $2.99/lb. Yep, I got a great deal!

What is the last bargian you came across?

Frost Warning Frenzy

What a day! Last night I checked the 10 day forecast on my Weatherbug and it said it’s supposed to get down to 25 degrees Friday night! It was very nice today so my list included:

Feed Chickens – check

Dig potatoes – check – found this monster:

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Paint latices – kinda check

Paint front steps – one coat, ran out of paint

Relocate a fence – check, involved cutting down a forest of 6 foot weeds

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Had to do this to make room for the hoop house green house I’m putting up at the end of the trailer.

Drive posts for hoop greenhouse – 2 out of 8

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Pick Calendula – check

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Found this really odd one with little buds all around the main flower. Wish I could have let it go and see all the little blossoms, but it would never make it through 25 degrees 🙁

Bring in all the stuff I had drying out in the shed – check

Bring in the pot of aloe and moss rose that was on the porch – check

Pick all the rest of the patty pan and spaghetti squash – check

Water all the plants – check

Gather eggs – that was sad, only 3. We’ve been having predator problems. I have seen an oposum. I tightened up the hen house and shut them in, but something is still getting the eggs, probably a snake, either that or the poor things are just to traumatized to produce eggs.

Pull weeds and greens for the chickens since I’m keeping them inside – check

Work on re-tagging and categorizing all 648  posts that I transferred over to this blog – 24 done. Please excuse the mess here. It will probably take me all winter to clean it up 🙁

Dishes

Fill my vitamin planners – almost check. Gotta make more nettle and eggshell capsules

Balance check books – check

Laundry – almost check. Saved the drying for tonight so I could heat the house before bed.

Clean up mini-tramp and bring in – check. I have a very bouncy grandson who keeps jumping on my couch. Hopefully this will curb that problem some 😉

Put up shelves by south window for plants.

Do something with the 2 gallons of milk that were use-by dated today. I bought too much, but who can resist whole milk at $1.89/gallon? – Almost check. Made 3 quarts of yogurt and condensing the rest to can. Might get that done yet tonight 🙂

Vacuuming – NOT

Write a blog post on my new blog – Done 🙂

My grandkids are coming tonight and are going to stay a couple of days 🙂 The Brown one will be a big help, so we will see what we can get done tomorrow 🙂

What have you done today?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

 

Country Snow Challenges

It is going to be a challenge getting to those chickens today! Back in November, we moved them all to the smaller white building in the center so they are all together today to keep each other warm. Grampa Tom made sure they had plenty of food and water yesterday, but we still have to get out to get the eggs. It looks like there’s a big drift along the garage and through the gate into the lot. UGH!

And yes, the electric pole is leaning … against the garage actually … that happened last summer … maybe the summer before? Grampa Tom says it’s not going anywhere. He’s got other priorities …

Other than getting to the chicken shed, we don’t have anywhere we have to be the next few days. Good thing! If this wind doesn’t lie down, we could be snowed in for a few days. Our road commissioner does a great job and we have 4-wheel drive on the truck, so it’s not like the old days.

Grampa Tom and I kinda like being snowed in   The first time I came here was in the winter of ’78- ’79. We had just started dating. There was a huge snow storm that left us both stranded in Keokuk at a friends house. After 3 days, the roads in town and the highways were finally cleared enough for us to get out, but not home. (We both lived in the country.) We went for a drive and Grampa showed me where he lived.

He said, “See that white house over there? That’s my house. There are 11 kids there right now. My folks are in Huston. They had some friends over the night it stormed so bad and their parents weren’t able to come get them.”

I was horrified and asked how far it was to the house. He said about a half mile so I suggested we walk over there and check on them. We got over the fence and found ourselves in waist-deep snow, but we figured it wouldn’t be so deep once we got out in the field. We were wrong. It was waist-deep all the way across. Took us 2 hours and the temperature dove 20 degrees as we waded across. It was another 3 days before we were able to leave. The kids were alright. I shouldn’t have been so concerned. They were all teen and pre-teen country kids who knew how to take care of themselves, We were all of 20 years old and not any more capable, but I’m glad we did it. Made for some wonderful memories!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Silex River Hills Farmer’s Market Poultry Expo

Yesterday, Grampa Tom drug me out of bed at 5am (in spite of severe weather warnings) to drive down to Silex for their Spring Poultry Expo. We didn’t know if anyone would be there, but we went anyway. We were not the only ones who braved the rain. Plenty of producers showed up as well as quite a few buyers like us. They have a poultry expo twice a year. Sometimes we go set up ourselves, but we almost always show up at least to hang out and spend way to much money. Grampa Tom was telling our son that I had fun spending all of his money. My son told him it was his fault for waking me up at 5 am. He ought to know better than to wake me up that early and expect me to actually make good decisions!
Several years ago, Grampa Tom went to a small farm conference in Columbia, MO. While he was there, he met Kelly Klober and they hit it off. Kelly is an old farm boy who raises heritage breeds of livestock the old fashioned way. He has become a good friend and mentor. He is one of the leaders of the River Hills Farmer’s Market in Silex and that is why we go there. This is Kelly with his bullhorn. He’s low tech –  another reason Grampa Tom loves him.
Kelly is a writer. One of the things they auctioned off at the end of the expo was a copy of Kelly’s book Talking Chicken. Naturally, Grampa Tom had to have one. You can get one here: http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Chicken-Kelly-Klober/dp/B004IAAJOA
Kelly even autographed it. Grampa Tom is very pleased with his new treasure. 


We also have an autographed copy of Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living. I wore out my first copy. It’s pretty much a Bible for those of us who want to do things the old fashioned way. We saw Carla at the Small Farm Today Show in Columbia a few years back. She had an updated version and autographed it. We felt very blessed to have the chance to meet her and get her autograph. She passed away not long after we met her. Such a huge source of wisdom! You can get Carla’s book here:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=encyclopedia+of+country+living+by+carla+emery&sprefix=encyclopedia+of+country+living%2Cstripbooks%2C492  
So now we have a real library of famous autographed works.
There was a raffle. Grampa Tom bought 10 tickets. They had a drawing every 30 minutes. The first drawing after we got there was for this $20 gift certificate from Metzer Farms. Grampa Tom won. Then an hour later, he won again! That prize was the bag of chicken feed in the picture below. Kelly came by and told Grampa if he won again, there were people there threatening to rub him out!

We bought a few bedding plants. We got several types of tomatoes and some different mints. The cage there is pretty neat. It has a wooden tray that it sits in that is designed to catch the poo of whatever you put in there. It cost a mere $5. We intended to buy just a few chicks, but ended up only using it for plants, no poo 😉 
 
We also bought some hatching eggs to put in our incubator. We didn’t hatch any eggs last year, but since our grandkids are going to be around so much this year, we decided to get our incubator out. I cleaned it out this morning. We will need to let it run for a day or two before we load it just to make sure everything is running well. I’ll blog more about that later. The blue eggs on the left are Araucana eggs. The dark brown eggs on the right are Cuckoo Marans. 

And then there’s the real reason we spent way to much money. Kelly offered us this box of 75 Welsummer chicks for only $150. 75 birds were just to many to put in the little cage we bought. It’s really all Kelly’s fault. We’ve been wanting some of these birds for such a long time. They are hard to get and that was a really great price. They lay a dark brown chocolate egg like the Cuckoo Marans, but we think they are a prettier bird. We’ve never aggressively pursued them because they aren’t really good layers. To make money off of them you have to breed them to sell chicks and hatching eggs. We’ve hung back because we don’t really have space to create a separate area for them. Now we will have to do it. That’s basically how we do things. We weren’t ready to have kids either!

Kelly told me that Welsummer male and female chicks are marked differently. The dark stripe down the middle of the back is broken on the males, but solid on the females. If you look closely, you can see the difference on these birds. It looks like we got more females than males. That’s a good thing!

Well, I’ve got a lot more pictures to show you of stuff we didn’t buy, but I can’t get them to load so I’ll have to make another post of it.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue 

Lots and Lots of Chickens!

Well, our egg shortage problem should be over soon. Today we bought 1000, one year old chickens. That’s a lot of chickens! We can’t keep them all, but we have already found homes for about 300 of them. We would like to sell 150 – 200 more. We have culled out most of our older hens that weren’t producing well. These birds are Production Reds, a cross between Leg Horns and Rhode Island Reds. The are about a year old and were laying at a 90% rate before they were moved. 
We were advertising to find some young hens to buy. A man from Iowa called. He was selling 1000 chickens for an Amish farmer. They came out of a cage free operation so they will have to make some adjustments. They will probably slow down or even stop laying for a while. Hopefully it won’t be to long. Grampa Tom has been busy picking up eggs all over the place today. It will take them a while to figure out where to lay and how to forage. 

We have already started feeding them hay, but we aren’t actively pushing them out on the pasture yet. There’s not a lot of grass out there yet and if they stay close they will be less like likely to lay out at the edges of the pasture! The one thing I don’t like about them is that their beaks are clipped. But almost all confinement birds have clipped beaks. I’m looking at this as a sort of “rescue”. Poor things! 

Once they get into the their spring laying flush, we will have way to many eggs. Last year we gave our excess eggs to the food pantry in Nauvoo. Hopefully we will be able to help 2 or 3 food pantries this year.
God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Mushrooms and Wings


We went mushroom hunting today. All we found was this lone mushroom and a stem … Grampa found them. I’m not known for my mushroom hunting prowess, but Grampa usually finds a few. I don’t know if we were to early or to late. Whenever I’ve been mushroom hunting, I’ve managed to find lots of toad stools and other non-edible mushrooms, but today we didn’t see much of them either. For those of you that don’t know, this is a morel mushroom. They are very easy to distinguish from other mushrooms so that makes them very popular here. You don’t have to worry about accidentally cooking up a poisonous one!

We also gave all the chickens a haircut this week. We have 168 producing hens and 3 roosters. Yeah, I know, we tried to get rid of all the roosters, but then we were given some chickens with a couple of roosters and one of the pullet chicks turned out to be a boy. It is hard to sex those things when they are little. We decided it would probably be a good idea to keep a few roosters around just in case something happened that would keep us from being able to get chicks through mail order.

 

Apparently some animal rights groups think chicks shipped through the mail are starved in the process. Not true at all. Just before a chick hatches, the stomach muscles form around the yoke sack. This gives the baby chick a good three days worth of food and water. God created them this way because chickens tend to hatch over a period of 3 days. This way, the mother doesn’t have to leave the nest until they are all hatched. She can keep the early hatchers there until everyone is ready to go out and find food. Chicks are shipped priority and generally arrive to their destination within 2 days, most of the time overnight. They do not starve!

 

Anyway …. rant over … here’s the mess from our barber work. We cut one wing so they can’t fly over the fence and into the garden. It’s like a haircut. It doesn’t hurt the chickens, just keeps them at ground level. Some of you may think that chicken’s can’t fly. They actually do a little. They only go up around 5 or 6 feet, but they do fly.

My census job ended yesterday. It was supposed to last 14 weeks. They lied. There was no more work for anyone as of today. Oh well! It was fun while it lasted. The farmer’s markets will be in full force in a couple of weeks. I’m planning to spend the summer baking and making noodles unless something else comes up.

We will have chives, lemon balm, radishes, eggs, noodles, some dried herbs and peppers from last year and banana bread to take to the farmer’s market in Burlington this week – maybe some green onions and lettuce, but they are a little on the small side as of today. We’ll see.

 

I sold all but 5 of my blown goose eggs. Would have sold them too, but I had hidden them and Grampa didn’t see them when the last lady came to buy. Oh well, I need a few to decorate myself. I also have a bunch of blown guinea eggs. They are smaller than chicken eggs. You’d think they’d break easier, but those things are tough little critters. They should be really good for crafts.

 

I was looking at my herb garden today. I have some cilantro and basil coming up! I took my chicken guard off it a couple of weeks ago so I was wondering if they would devour the seedlings as they sprouted. So far the chickens don’t seem to enthused about cilantro or basil. That’s OK with me!

On a side note … the birds are building a new nest in my stove vent. I guess we just have to keep chasing them out.

Well, as usual, the fonts on this post seem all messed up. I really need to take some time and figure out what I’m doing to them, but that’s low on the priority list. You all will just have to put up with me.

God Bless You All!