Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goose Eggs and Rabbit Meat.

Don't let that sweet face fool you...she's dangerous.

That's my daughter Joelee. Yesterday she gave me yet another gray hair. I was making some hot tea with a blanket around my shoulders, and she was playing in the blanket. As she was swinging back and forth behind me she was getting more and more wild. All at once she flung herself headfirst into the metal cabinet to my rear. I picked her up (and she quit crying immediately in perfect Joe fashion--this kid is as tough as they come), and I gave her to my mother-in-law so I could finish our tea. Not two minutes later I walked over to check on her (being that I found a giant dent in the metal cabinet), and it looked like she was growing a second forehead. I've never seen a goose-egg like that. Thank goodness it went down in a hurry, and Joe is just left with a bruise over her left eye. Oh the things about motherhood that nobody tells you about.

I've gotten almost all of our garden seed in the mail. Four varieties of dry beans, green beans, peas, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, and carrots. I got a $25 coupon for spending $25 from one of the seed companies, so I bought myself a cherry tree too. This is going to be a big garden year, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm hoping to start more seed than I need so I can sell some of the seedlings and make some of the money I've got invested back. This garden is hopefully going to produce enough to freeze and can and use fresh to feed my family this coming year.

On new year's day, we butchered my first batch of rabbits. I got a buck and doe last summer for free and their first litter (9 kits) were all sold to other people, and the second litter (8 kits) I kept all for myself. Believe it or not they were all bucks. There were two blacks, and five grays, and one very odd colored buck that was a creamy colored with dark points and red eyes. I decided I'd like to keep him and buy a few new does next spring to breed him to, and that the other seven kits would be butchered for my family to eat.

I'd heard so many things about rabbit meat, and I wasn't going to be making any judgement until I tried it myself. I'd butchered chickens before (which for the time and effort didn't really give me much meat), I've raised cattle most of my life, and I'd even raised rabbits quite a few years, but never for meat. People told me the meat was stringy, greasy, gamey, fatty, etc. I now had almost thirty pounds of rabbit meat neatly packed in ziploc bags ready to go in my freezer and I wasn't even sure if it was edible. Believe me, it is delicious. I'm really not sure what causes such a balking factor with rabbit meat for people. It's easily supplied (a rabbit's gestation is only a month, and it takes about four months of grazing to raise a kit to butcher size and you get about five pounds of meat), it is very lean and healthy (where people thought it was fatty or greasy I'm unsure), and it tastes and has the texture of white meat chicken. It was a very pleasant surprise.

There is something very empowering being able to feed your family with food that you've grown. Food that you've cared for and tended to. You know they were raised in a way you approve of and you know exactly what was put into them. No hormones or antibiotics just grass and sunshine and the occassional apple or carrot that they eat from your hand. Same goes with the garden. You cultivate the soil, drop in a seed, and weed, water, and toil, and ta-dah a few months later you're harvesting a bounty of delicious, fresh, healthy food that far outweighs the time and sweat you put into it.

Have I mentioned I'm really ready for spring?

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