Monday, December 19, 2011

Sustainable Farmer Joel Salatin

We had the privilege of hearing Joel Salatin speak a few weeks ago. What a Farmer! We have almost all of his books in which he is not only knowledgeable and successful with farming methods but also witty and clear in how he passes it on to us. We love his books and his speaking.

As usual, we came away from this farm conference with a list of inspired ideas to talk through. One of the top new thoughts was checking into a small sawmill to utilize all the wood available around here (so much is just burned up!). Its been fun to search the internet and throw out the topic for conversation. One party came back to my husband a few days later and asked, "Does she know how dangerous they are?!"

Hmmm. Now that's food for thought. Which is exactly why I spend many weeks just collecting facts and whatnot before even deciding if its a good idea or not. Haven't crossed the sawmill off the list, but neither is it at the top anymore.

Another farm option that is not new but for some reason has been simmering on the back burner too long is hogs. We had two last year but have not replaced them. I think that may very well happen in 2012. More than two and they will be busy rooting around in the woods cleaning up the forest floor and aerating the soil as they grub for food. Perhaps what was lacking was a clear vision of where and why. Joel gave us the correct vision and the right time.

We sold Bubba the ram and two bred ewes. Remaining is two original bred ewes and 4 spring lambs. Bob's new adventure is to butcher the lambs himself. I suppose we'll do one at a time with a small crew of smart friends. There is so much help available in both print and people. Plus, did you know you can learn how to butcher on you-tube? All that along with our experience and equipment from the broiler chickens, I think Bob will do a great job.

Speaking of the broiler chickens and all that....we processed the few turkeys that the summer fox did not get. One would think that if the chicken thing went nice and smooth, the turkey thing couldn't be too hard? Right? WRONG! Wow. They are definitely a bird of a different feather. A few facts that made it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure not to be repeated: way bigger, heavier, outdoor temps colder, waterhose freezing, pin feathers unremoveable, bags too small, etc. The end result was a bird that didn't look very nice -- not like the broiler chickens. So we are eating them ourselves because that end result is still the same: DELICIOUS! Lots of good dark meat as well as white. Just roast it, take the skin off and slice and its the same great flavor one expects from a free range heirloom turkey.

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