The summer is coming to a quick close for us. The harvests have been early, the nights are cooling, leaves are dropping, and the chickens are going to bed earlier each evening. Hunting season is half over and three bucks have been shot so far. Our freezers will be full of venison and the latest cow that is coming back from the butcher this week.
There is a lot of confusion, misconception, and just plain lack of knowledge about the animal slaughtering and butchering business...for good reason. There are federal, state and local rules and obfuscation seems to be the name of the game. It has taken us several years to understand some of the ins and outs of the process but it still makes little sense. We are only allowed to sell meat at market or off the farm if it has been USDA slaughtered AND butchered. But not all meat. We are not allowed to sell venison or wild pigs, any "wild" harvested meats, ever, because they can't be sent to a USDA facility. On the other hand we can sell up to 2,500 chickens processed on the farm (not a USDA facility). And chickens, in our opinion, are one of the most dangerous meats. We believe that will be the same when we start selling squab. Yaks are labeled an "exotic" meat (we assume that the beef industry keeps it from the "domestic" animal category for financial reasons), and is able to be processed at a USDA facility as long as the butcher has a special permit to do exotics. We haven't finished researching this because we haven't a need yet, so we don't know if the slaughter house needs a special permit as well. Needless to say, not all slaughterhouses/butcher shops have this permit so lord knows how far we'll have to go to have our yaks processed for sale.
The closest slaughter house for us is in Petaluma - a long two-hour drive for an animal. We had to train our pigs to use the trailer then we drove very slowly in the wee morning hours to the facility otherwise they become sick and tense and the meat is damaged. For a charge, the slaughter house then transfers the carcass to a butcher shop of our choice as long as it's on their list. The final packages need to be picked up by us. In the case of the recent cow, that's 13 boxes of meat for which we have to find freezer space. All USDA slaughterhouses supposedly have a USDA agent living on the premises overseeing all the processing. Based on some of the stories we have heard, we wonder what those agents are really doing and what our tax dollars are paying for.
Not over the top hot. Dry.
Clement markets good. Boonville mostly great. Mendocino great. On-farm sales good.
Aquaponics: Shadecloth over greenhouse may be too dense. Some plants love it; others need more sun. Will adjust what we plant and where. Watercress gone to seed. Sand boxes doing well. Harvesting tomatoes and cukes. Radishes do well. Onions are bulbing.
The King pigeons continue to lay eggs. Will build another house for them next to present one.
Almost sold out of beef. Took vaca to butcher mid-month. Will be returned early next month.
Pork also nearly sold out. Out of sausage and smoking the last pork belly for bacon. Sells instantly. Our two pigs growing fast. Will probably take to butcher in November.
Need to photo overabundance of young roosters for refund from supplier. There’s a 90% hen guarantee! Lost one of new chicks. Otherwise all well.
Bobcat predation continues. Traps not working. Have lost 14 chickens so far.
Sold two more older chickens to C.
Solar dispute continues.
J&V move into new house.
Kitchen boss, Sarah, visited family in Alaska for 2wks. Korrie helped with prep and we kept up.
Talking about what to do with Guest House…Rent? AirBNB? Nothing?
In ground/producing –kale, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, celery, beets, Walla Walla onions, red and white keeper onions, dandelion, Mexican mint marigold, husk cherry, anise hyssop, tomato, squash, eggplant, cucumber, Armenian cucumber, melons, broccoli, cabbage, lemon grass, rhubarb.
In aquaponics/producing/experimenting – mint, garlic, chive, scallion, watercress, celery, strawberry, raspberry, marionberry, ginger, turmeric, lemon, pepper, orange, tomato, onion, rhubarb, broccoli, lemon grass, radish, cucumber.
Total VAPs for July: 764
Wild Plum Jam w/ Vanilla, Mulberry Jam, Pickled Winter Squash, Bread and Butter Pickles, Marionberry Jam, Beet Marmalade, Fig Jam w/ Brandy, Santa Rosa Plum Jam, Ginger Garlic Pickles, Pickled Onion w/ Fennel, Dill Pickles, Pickled Eggs, Pickled Beets, French Plum Jam w/ Ginger, Blackberry Jam, French Plum Jam, French Plum Jam w/ Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean, Green Tomato Jam, Blackberry Vanilla Jam, Cowboy Candy, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, French Plum Jam w/ Brandy, Dilly Beans
Capers, bachelor buttons, society garlic, roses, dahlias, nicotiana, comfrey, fennel, hydrangea, gladiola, geraniums, geranium, passion flower, Mexican mint marigold, yarrow, chrysanthemum, acanthus, hibiscus, trumpet vine, oleander.
Fruit & Vegetable
In general harvests this year poor, plants look dry although well watered, and heat, though less than last year by far, affecting plants more. Why? Result of 4 years drought? Heat beginning earlier in day; lasting later? Soil exhaustion? burning? (We compost and cover crop vigorously so think problems stem from weather somehow.)
Trapped 3 bobcats this season and lost 14 chickens. Killer still on loose.
Several rattlesnake kills around houses at 501 so far. None at 601 although N nearly stepped on one in Pink Barn. Both were rattled!