Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Whizbang Chicken Plucker!

We are building our chicken plucker. We need to process chickens this weekend. Feed prices are through the roof. Why we didn't build this thing a month ago I'll never know. Well, maybe because we were pressure washing, scraping, painting, digging, planting, feeding, watering, building and on and on. We have most of the parts, all Kevin needs to do is figure it all out. He's checking out the " Anyone Can Build A Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker " book. Well, almost all of the parts.

He is, at this very moment, at the farm store, which is a half an hour away, getting the bearings that he forgot to get when he went there an hour and a half ago. The reason that he forgot to get the only thing he went there for, was because he saw this really cool sign on clearance and he got it to surprise me! He was so worried that I wouldn't like it but I love it. I have to decide where to put it.

He left the store after he decided to get this for me and was so excited to give it to me that he forgot what he went there gotta love it, at least I'm not the only one with a brain like a sieve.

Here's the beginning. Kevin took an old 55 gallon drum, scrubbed it to death and cut it to the exact size. He then drilled all the corresponding holes, after measuring circumference, dividing by something and adding something and subtracting something. All of which I'm not very good at. I love a man that can divide and figure circumference and all that stuff.

Then he had to put all the plucker fingers into the plucker finger holes.

You think it would be easy, it was not! See all the straining? First he tried using pliers then he just went after it with his hands.

I'm glad I got to be in the house doing women's stuff.

Next was the tub part, I think that was a little easier.

Then building the frame, more measuring, figuring and ciphering, I was in the house.

Look how easy he makes it look, frames all done. Then, he comes in the front door and tells me that he has a job for me...uh oh, and I'm all out of women's stuff to do.

Of course, I have to man the paint brush, no way to get out of that.

Nicely done, I thought to myself as I finished up but then later he comes in and tell me that when he was putting on the second coat he found two spots that I missed, not just spots but whole leg areas. Oops, my bad. I guess that will teach him, never ask a woman to do men's work. I say it was dark or maybe it was the sun in my eyes, actually, come to think of it, it was raining so I will go with the dark excuse.

We stopped at a second hand restaurant equipment store and found these bargains. On the bottom is an old stainless steel topped table from bakery, and on top of it is a stainless steel sink. You can't see the top of the table but it is stainless, bad picture but I didn't feel like moving the sink off of the table so you can just use your imagination. He is going to mount the sink somehow, more calculating and figuring, so I will take more pictures then.

This is my favorite, an old scale. It needs cleaned up a little but it will work fine, as long as we don't have any turkeys that weigh between 17 and 21 pounds.

Sorry guys, your days are numbered.

Not these guys though! Speaking of turkeys, look how cute the babies are! Mama had two under her wings.

One took off when it saw me.

Then Mama did too. She thinks I am a crazy person, always stalking them with my camera. I followed her around the shed and she slowly walked the babies over by Daddy.

You definitely don't want to mess with him.

The next post should be all about processing chickens, yuck! Hopefully my hands won't be too yucky to take pictures, and I am going to, all the gory details. But not of the killing. I want to put up a curtain so I won't have to watch, I'm feeling a little panicky just thinking about it. And I'm serious about the curtain, He will never go for it though.

How am I going to tell him, he will think I am such a wimp but I don't think I can watch. I have avoided taking care of the meat birds as much as possible. This morning I did feed them though, all the time thinking "this may be your last meal". (sob, sniffle) I couldn't look them in the eye.

(As a side note, one time I was stuck on the freeway in bumper to bumper traffic and I was right next to a semi full of chickens, it had those panels with the holes in them that you can see through. It was terrible, the poor chickens kept looking at me. I felt so bad for them cause I knew they were going to their death. I tried so hard to keep away from that truck but the traffic would slow and then speed up and I would be right beside it again. Horrors, it went on for about an hour!)

Oh my. I hope he doesn't read this, he will think I should stop being a farmer. He keeps teasing me that we need to cull some of our layers that aren't producing. Every day I practically run in the house and say "LOOK AT ALL THESE EGGS!" We hatched all kinds of eggs this spring and summer so all day I walk around looking at the chicks and muttering to them "you better hope you're a hen", worried for them. I have a really sweet one that is so friendly but I think it's a rooster but Kevin says we can keep him or maybe her, the jury is still out on that one. Until it crows, we won't know absolutely for sure.

I am so tired of typing, my neck is killing me so that's it for now, need to go out and take more "plucker in the making pictures" anyway. (Plus, the pizza just got here! Yeah!)


UPDATE: It works!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flower Explosion, Farm Stuff and a Birthday Party!

What started out as a pretty little Moonflower (one of my all time favorites so I bought one for Kevin for his birthday last year) has turned into a monster!

Check the size of it here in this picture. The Butterfly Bush behind it looks really big in comparison. Now look at it, the Butterfly Bush doesn't stand a chance! I had to trim back three or four feet just so we could get up the steps. The picture does not do it justice. The flowers are beautiful. It has taken over the whole garden. We are going to encourage it to grow more and scatter the seeds all over. It is a really good way to discourage the weeds. Kevin split open the thick leaves to show his dad the base of the plant and look below what is hiding in there.
Our beautiful Polish Crested chicken!
She is hiding her head because she thinks I can't see her. He moved the chicken to try and shoo her away but she has about 20 eggs under her and we have no idea how long she has been sitting on them. We will let her go and see if any hatch. I hope they do, it will be really fun to watch them. We have three of this breed and two of them are so broody. The other broody one has been sitting in a nesting box all summer, to no avail because I take the eggs every day.

Here is our other flower explosion. What started out as a few day lily starts has turned into huge plants. I like the background so much better! A chicken house instead of a pool. I'm going to cut the flower tops off soon. I'd rather be able to see the rock and the trellis instead of the flowers. Kevin wanted me to wait because there are still so many buds but it looks too messy to me. I'll put a before and after when I do it.
Here is the trellis I want a clear view of. It has a passion vine on it that we transplanted a few weeks ago and it is getting ready to bloom already. They are such fast growers. I hope it has time to fill in a little. I have been waiting since last year to transplant this. I finally found a really reasonably priced trellis, only about $20.00 so we finally transplanted it.Here are my sweet water lilys. Not a very good picture though, the camera wanted to focus on the cattails and not the lilys. When I was in Sugarcreek (Amish Country) a couple weeks ago I picked up three Amurs for our pond. (Grass eating carp if you didn't know) I was really worried about them eating my lilys but the lady at the fish hatchery said that the lilys are probably not hardy and won't make it through the winter anyway. They look nothing like anything we had in our lake when we were growing up so she may be right.

When we in Sugarcreek I found this really well made napkin holder. There is an Amish family that makes these and the kids sign and date them. Really cute don't ya think?

I also found this awesome buzzard to put by my pond.

Pretty creepy don't ya think. I love him!

While online looking for ways to water the food eating, water drinking demons that they call meat birds, Kevin found this amazing Bell Waterer. He ran a garden hose from our pond and it works great. It's a low pressure kind of thing that uses gravity to get water.
You can see the hose coming down the bank from the pond. We had to get the birds away from the house cause they are pretty stinky and ruin grass pretty fast. We really should move them a couple times a day but it's too much, working 10 hours a day. We do move them more on the weekends though. Here is my garden, all of it! Only one plant survived, all the rest were scratched up by the escapee chickens. I didn't have very much to start with though. There is a tomato with two leaves left on it but I'm sure it's days are numbered. I only have this one extra fence section.We had a birthday party for the youngest yesterday, 10 years old! Lots of Hannah Montana and pink stuff. We found this ice cream maker and I made frozen custard. Loved it!

I'm such a loser, I had to wrap her presents in used gift bags (they looked new though) and had to turn Christmas paper inside out for the big one. I covered it all up in a bunch of bows, girls love bows! We got her a Ladderball game (aka Hillybilly Golf) and Kevin, me, the youngest and her big brother played it all day today. She was at her Grandpa Mikes for the Fourth of July and played it there and loved it. She said she rocked at it. That was great but she and I were on a team and let's just say that neither of us rocked at it. The guys beat us two games to one. We will get our revenge though.

If any ones feeling bad about the heat take a look at this and be happy!

Til next time,
stay cool!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Goose Warning!

The Culprit

The Accomplice

The Crime Scene

The Crime
A closer look.

A much closer look.

What used to be a young, promising nectarine tree is now a barkless, soon to be dead nectarine tree. The fruit you saw on the tree in the crime scene will never get ripe and I will never get to eat it.

These two amigos must have had a lot of fun stripping the bark from that tree. Every bit that they could reach, all the way around! You can see it all over the ground at the base of the tree. They didn't even eat it. They did it just for amusement. Look at Buddy, doesn't he look guilty. (His bump on his head is so funny, Kevin says we should have named him Knothead, we missed our chance.)
Here's the three musketeers. This one turkey, his name is Mister because he used to hang around with Missy. Well, he ended up being a Misses so now we have to come up with something else. I looked at her one day and said....hmmmmmm......I'm thinking........ she looks like a Maryjane so that is what her name is, except when we still call her Mister because that is what we are used to calling her.

This turkey is one of the two we raised with Flipper. The other one ended up with a messed up leg due to a bad ligament or something so I'm afraid her days are numbered. It's so hard cause she can't walk and kind of flops herself around, so what do you do. Her eyes are bright and she's healthy but just can't walk.

See look at her, isn't she cute? She kind of lays off to the side, crooked like, cause of her leg being backward.

At first we tried to fix it but it caused her so much anxiety we took the wrapping off. We can't possibly afford to take her to the vet. A very smart lady, who grew up on a farm and has been raising livestock her whole life, (she is almost 80 years old.) gave me the best advice ever. She said that we should concentrate on spending our money on healthy animals to enable them to have a better life and to let the unhealthy ones go.

It's hard though because we got so attached to this one. But the reason that we got so attached to her was because she couldn't walk fast and get away from us and we could pick her up and pet her all the time. She was supposed to be part of our breeding program we are starting with Narragansett turkeys but we can't have one with a possible genetic defect. I guess some turkeys can have weak ligaments that cause their legs to be bad.

I just ran out and took these pictures of her. I picked her up and carried her to the food and water area and she does not like to picked up at all anymore. (I try to help her and she fights me, turkeys can be so ungrateful.) If and probably when Kevin butchers her I don't think I want to eat her. It would creep me out to see a turkey in a pan with it's leg all backward. I would rather have no recognizable markings on my food. Enough said about that, too sad.

My Peach Tree

The bark area of my peach tree as of yesterday.

I'm not so dumb.

Here is Red, waiting for me to pick her up. One of my new young chickens that I hatched in the incubator is really friendly. She doesn't run away, I can pick her right up. I am convinced it is Red's baby. I tried to take a picture of her but as you can see from the picture below she scurried away from me. It may not have been her cause there are about five that all look the same. All of our Dominick's baby's look the same, maybe a little lighter, a little darker but very similar. (Really bad picture, I will go out again and try to get a good one, if my camera cooperates)

Camera worked but I forgot my memory card, still in the reader. Went back in and got it, camera wouldn't work, smacked my camera and it worked, honest I really did smack it and it really did start working.
See, some a little darker and some a little lighter. They are either Ameracana, Buff Orpington or Rhode Island Red, all crossed with Dominick who is A Barred Rock.


Dominick Jr. (she might be a girl though)

A few posts ago I mentioned that my camera was breaking. It has been working really good lately but when I went out to take the last few pictures here is what the last one looked like. Weird, huh. That is what happens when it breaks, I can never tell when it's going to happen, it just gets all blurry, actually not really blurry but purplish and streaky. I could have said it was a beautiful picture of our sunset or a it was a thunderstorm cloud, who would have known.

If anyone sees this perpetrator near their fruit trees, call the cops quick, before it's too late.

What should I cook for dinner...hmmm. I think pizza sounds good. I will have to call the pizza shop.. Hopefully Kevin will go for pizza. We sold two turkeys today for $20.00 so maybe. He's out brush hogging so I will have to go find him and ask.

See ya,
PS. Hi Eileen!

I was feeding grapes to Maryjane/Mister and thought I'd videotape it and show it to you. She loves grapes, will do anything to get some, even come into the house. We tried to give her other stuff but she prefers the grapes. She did like the blackberries I offered her come to think of it. I made a few jars of jelly Wednesday and she shared a few.