Monday, August 6, 2012
Goals for the week
We're a LONG way from being self-sufficient around here, but both my husband and I want to become increasingly able to provide for ourselves with what we grow, raise, catch, or somehow russle up. So this week my goal is to not buy any meat or fruit, using just what we have around here.
Earlier this year we raised and "harvested" chickens for meat. "Meat birds," as I call them, or "Fryers" as my great-grandma used to call them, are a special breed of bird that is much meatier than your average laying hen. They grow up fast, too, so don't cost very much money to feed during the time you are raising them. I'm sure all my vegan and vegetarian friends are considering removing me from their blog reader list... sorry! We aren't vegetarians around here, and in an effort to raise hormone-free, organic meat that doesn't cost a fortune, this is the solution I came up with. No, I don't love killing the birds, but we feel good about the fact that they have a very nice life while they are with us. Lots of sunshine and fresh air, real food (leaves, grass, snails, you know: the yummy stuff chickens are supposed to eat) and lots of attention from the kids. Despite my warnings to them not to get attached to the meat birds, my kids couldn't help but sit around with those big white chickens and play with them. I was surprised that the kids didn't get upset on "harvest day." They have seen us slaughter chickens before, but I thought that since they had played with these ones they would be sad. However, the kids knew that the birds were destined for the freezer since day one, so they were ok with the whole process. They even get more excited when they know we are eating "one of our chickens" rather than a store-bought one. Plus, they taste better. Much, MUCH better.
SO. This week we will be eating chicken, as well as a couple trout that have been waiting in the freezer since my husband's last fishing trip. As for fruit, blackberries are just coming into their prime. Aside from a few straggly vines creeping into my garden, there is a huge patch of blackberry bushes just up the road. I'm looking forward to walking up there with the boys and our buckets - it's one of my favorite end-of-summer traditions. We also have one tree full of little cherry-sized yellow plums. I'm hoping we have enough to make jam, in addition to whatever my three-year-old fruit monster consumes this week.
Of course, we also have eggs. I always make at least one egg-based dinner per week since that is one thing we always have more than enough of. Probably an egg and kale frittata or something... we'll see. There is some bounty from the garden. To be truthful, I have been disappointed with my garden this year. The zucchini haven't been nearly as productive as they were last year, and my tomatoes aren't ripening. I simply didn't plant enough seeds to grow as many vegetables as we eat. But, there are collard greens and a bit of kale, plus the occasional zucchini. It certainly won't get us through the week in terms of veggies, but we'll do what we can. Either way, we are much more self-sufficient than we were last year, and progress is good. I'd love to hear what you are growing!