I was very fortunate, when I called a couple of weeks ago, to obtain a butcher date for the turkeys yesterday. This time of year, it is packed, and I usually make the appointment for next year when I take them in to be butchered (as I did this year).
Correy came along as navigator, and we combined a couple of other things into the trip. With snow predicted for Friday night, we moved up our departure from home to Thursday, after yoga. One of the added in stops was to take fleeces to Creekside Fiber Mill in Lebanon, Oregon. They do a great job, and I needed to find some off-site storage for some of my fleece. Because we were going there first, the turkeys went in the truck with a barrier between them and the fleece, cooler, etc.
Once all the fleece was in, you couldn’t even tell they were in there!
I treat the animals that I’m going to harvest for meat with a great deal of respect, especially on their last day. There is another processor closer to home (by about an hour), but they a) never called me back, and b) want all of the day’s birds there at 7 am. Those that aren’t processed until late afternoon are pretty darn stressed by the time their turn comes.For that reason, it’s worth it to me to take my birds to the farther of the two. I have a specific appointment time, and usually there’s not much of a wait until the birds are taken in, one or two at a time. I hand them out to the folks who take them in to start the butchering process. The birds know me, they have had a curious ride in this mobile coop with all their buddies, and then they leave, handed out by me. There’s not much stress involved, on their part.
This weeks’ turkey run actually worked out well having them in the truck overnight. I always give them only water the night before, because their system has more or less emptied out by the time they’re butchered, which the processor appreciates. Since I had them on grass for the last week, and had no place to coop them up, taking the trip early helped make the usual possible.
So (drum roll please), weights were as follows: White tom – 39.94 lbs.; White hen – 30.36 lbs.; Bronze tom – 34.34 lbs.; Bronze hen – 24.57 lbs. These are all broad breasted birds, and ideally should have been butchered about 2 ½ months ago, but I didn’t own them then!
I have taken the toms to be smoked and then quartered, the hens are in the freezer.I’ll take the smaller one down to San Diego for Thanksgiving, and the other will be used later, I’m sure.
One of the other things we did was to stay at Michelle's, so that I could give her a spinning lesson in long draw. She had been given some "mystery" bats by a blog pal, who suggested that she spin them that way. She was an avid pupil; between Correy and I, we had her on her way. She was so excited, that she spun up and plied both bats that evening! I made some Zucchini Spice Cake muffins, which were a hit with the McMillins!
Meanwhile, the promised snow started today, and is now (in late afternoon) moving our way. We moved some round bales of hay (with the truck – they weigh 600 lbs) to a more usable location (and away from the prehensile lips of the ponies…).
By the time we’d completed that, the wind had come up and it was just time to head into the house to warm up.This is what’s heading our way:
I got old hay bales around the base of the trailer to help block most of the wind from going under. This should help some to keep it warmer. Last week, I busted the dinette seat out, and set up a small computer desk as a workspace and wire cubes for my clothes. This dramatically opens up the space in my little box, and will also give me room to have my radiant oil heater instead of the loud, only partially effective, ceramic heater.
I knit an ear warmer headband, but it’s being blocked and not completely done – check my fiber blog for details in a day or so.
So, winter is on its way – we have wood, hay and lots of food put in.Bring it on!!
I'm a late 50-something person with widely divergent musical taste, hobbies including fiber arts, dressage and reading, who is in transition between a farm and future retirement - still have chickens and ducks and one horse.