Musing of a Locavore; Rantings of a Madman

If it traveled more than 100 miles to my plate, chances are I don't want to eat it :(

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Dead at Last -

Posted by Boyd Craven III on February 4, 2013 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

 Well I did it, I finally have something published.  I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Wow what a long break!!!

Posted by Boyd Craven III on September 9, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I started this blog with the intention of keeping up with everything but haven't done a very good job of it.  Work has kept me busy since last year.  I've gotten a promotion but it's come with its negatives also.  Less time for my gardening and projects.


I even shrank my garden from last year.  I had added a lot of compost and manure last fall and rototilled it all in, so my yields were better this year.


We hired somebody with a large tracter to clear out about 1 1/2 to 2 acres.  I've been mowing it, and come to find out, it's alfalfa growing back where scrub brush was.. Thats encouraging!

Now in more fun news,  I've already setup my ground blind and am preparing to fill my freezer with venison.


Happy St. Paddies Day!!! -- Blueberries!!

Posted by Boyd Craven III on March 17, 2011 at 12:01 PM Comments comments (0)

Not that I am promoting a holiday were the pagans were killed and run off their land, but in the spirit of spring, green beer and warming soil!  Today I decided to celebrate the day by continuing cleaning the yard up of winter debris, dragging brush to be burned this weekend, cleaning out the rabbit manure that has been accumulating.. and planting.. ;)


Yup.  Planting.  Dug a hole in the ground about 18" around and almost 2' deep.  I filled the hole in with 4 spades of rabbit manure to 1 spade of peat moss mixed up.  Then I placed the main plant on top of this wonderful mix and filled in around it with the rest and topped with the soil I used to dig the hole.  Make sure you water well afterwords to collapse any air pockets in the soil but don't over do it at this point.. We are still in danger of a good hard cold snap.


I planted 3 today in about an hours time, and when I get a chance I will be spreading wood chips around the plants to help hold in the moisture.  Mine were planted in somewhat of a high spot, and I had cleared out the area around it of wild blackberries and various weeds till it was almost bare grass..  I planted two varities, chipewa high bush and can't think of the other one.. blue crop high bush?  Each plant is supposed to go 6-8 foot across and 8-10 feet high.


Lets see how this will work!  I doubt I'll have to fertilize much this year ... And I used up some of the manure that accumulated over the winter months.

Happy Valentines Day - Spring Fever?

Posted by Boyd Craven III on February 14, 2011 at 1:53 PM Comments comments (2)

Today is valentines day and our house smells like the fresh cut lillies I got for my wife, the sun is shining brightly outside, all the snow and ice is melting and life is good :)  On my way out to feed and water the rabbits I noticed something else, spring is in the air.  I can smell it.  A flock of ducks, a gander of geese and many birds flying overhead should have alerted me, but what all brought it home was how my rabbits are starting to shed their heavier winter coat.  Soon all the grass will be showing, it'll be time to move the hutches to the spring, summer trail, and get our breeders up and going again!


I have a liter due tonight or tommorow, and 2-3 cages worth of grow outs to process.. and I can't wait to get the BCS fired up to not only till up the new garden area, but to start chipping up all the saplings I've been cutting down.  I know its almost time for me to walk out the door to work, but somehow days like today always make me happy.

No Power Situation Part 1..

Posted by Boyd Craven III on February 12, 2011 at 1:22 PM Comments comments (3)

So what is everyone's plans for winter when there's no power?  There is the issue of cooking and heating, water, toilet etc...


For us, we have Kerosene heaters and fuel stored as a heat backup, and soon to the new house, we want to add a wood/coal cook stove.  A pellet stove is also on the want list, but unless I figure out how to hook it to solar it doesn't work for a no power situation.


Of course I have the usual battery flashlights, but I also have kerosene lamps for light.  The kerosene I buy doesn't have a lot of smell to it once it burns so all I need to do is make sure there is enough fresh air so we don't suffocate ourselves if we need to use this :)


For heating water, and cooking I have a propane burner, as well as my grill, and lots of extra tanks.  If the power is out long enough, we will have to get water in 5 gal buckets (after our storage is gone) and ways of purifying it.  Tablets, and bleach depending on what you are using it for.  If you need to flush the toilet?  I'll leave that up to you.


What does everyone else use in that sort of situation?  I know my petro fuels won't last forever and am working towards the cook stove setup for heat/cooking but I am working with what I have.  

Meat Rabbits

Posted by Boyd Craven III on November 7, 2010 at 7:07 AM Comments comments (6)

About meat rabbits.. What a nutritious and delicious choice for ethical meat.  I have always had a hard time going to the grocery store and buying meat from god knows where :/  and you have no idea what they put into the meat, what conditions the animals were raised in, and what the sanitary conditions of the cafo lot, slaughter house, packaging plant were and no idea how many different chemicals were used to bring you this 1/4 pounder with cheese...


So back to rabbits.  We've found in Michigan that so far it's better to breed our does from mid spring to early winter, seperate does from kits at about 4-6 weeks (for rebreeding) and grow out the kits for another 2-3 weeks before processing.  Did I mention rabbits were proliferic?  We have one doe who produced 6-7 kits her last liter.  I was thinking THAT IS IT?  My dad has some does at his house that drop 8-10 every time, and most of my does here drop 7-8 almost consistantly which is fine by me.  Too many and somebody is always left out.  Now that our breeding stock is up to size we'll be able to foster out the 2-3 extra's to the doe who has 5-6 in her pen.


How does it taste?  Well, as a test my father and I seperately made Jerky out of the rabbit meat and we fed folks from that.  My ma loved it, as did my aunts and cousins he gave samples to.  My kids?  I had 3 lbs of jerky on a friday and by saturday night when I went to get a piece for the neighbor to try we had 2 sticks left!


I guess they got over their fear of trying to eat Mr. Fuzzy.  Last night I made a stew of sorts... You know I love to cook right?


I don't do so well with measuring ingredients but cook by taste!

 


1 4lb rabbit carcas cleaned

6 quarts of water in large pan

1 large white onion quartered only

1 tablespoon minced garlic

 

Set to boil for about an hour to hour fifteen minutes

 

Pull carcass out and let cool enough to pick off the meat and dispose of bones where dogs won't eat them... put meat back in pot

 

Then I added 2 boxes of Chicken Rice (cheap variety) that usually cooks up like spanish rice. Fried the rice mix in butter, added that and spices right to boiling pot.

2 handfuls of white rice

7 large carrots

2 bell peppers

pinch of basil, seasoning salt, oregano

tablespoon canning salt

 


and cook till rice and veggies are done... all in all about 2 hours. Makes a very thick stew with rice. Kids had friends over and were giving them evil grins. I figured the stinkers didn't tell their friends they were eating rabbit so I let them know. Not only did they not care, they had seconds.

 


In all, it fed 10 of us with some leftovers.


BCS Update!

Posted by Boyd Craven III on November 7, 2010 at 7:02 AM Comments comments (2)

My dad found a BCS 715 with a 24" tiller attachment and chipper/shredder for sale in the state!  We hopped in his Aveo to go take a look at it.  Now this little aveo is the bomb.. stick shift, gets great gas milage and the backseat folds down for cargo space... but I digress here..


Our trip took us down I75 to south east michigan where a kindly owner was ready to give us a quick demonstration.  His office was a few miles away from his house so we were in business lickety split.  2nd pull without priming the BCS and it was running like a champ.  We settled on a price, paid and learned that you can in fact fit one of these, the chipper/shredder AND the rototiller in the back of the aveo.


I bet we loaded a thousand pounds into the truck er...... little yellow car forever nicknamed lemon drop...

Garden & Farm Equipment

Posted by Boyd Craven III on October 27, 2010 at 4:09 PM Comments comments (5)

Yesterday I wasn't feeling all that well, but one thing I do remember is my father stopping in and telling me to check out BCS tractors.  Sort of a walk behind Tractor.  At first I was confused.  Looked like a big motor on 2 wheels.. then I saw the versatility of the unit and started checking it out some more!


For me, seeing is believing and since I've never seen one before I hit up youtube.  One of the first videos I run across is a BCS tilling a new field by a lady. 


Ok, please don't take this the wrong way, but I am a bit bigger.. And she was able to handle it, even in the rougher spots of her garden where it gets bogged down towards the end of the video.  So I wanted to know beyond a snow blower, rototiller, small brush hog what else could it do?


We are wanting to transform 5 of our acres into a self sustaining farmstead, as well as having enough of a market garden to sell at the local Farmer's Markets.  Diversity in planting, staggered planting schedule for maximum harvests are what I am shooting for.  Obviously the experiment to do this by hand has progressed veryyyyyyy slowwwwwwllllly.  I barely have walking trails cut through half of the property.  And since doing it by hand isn't feasable, mechanical help is needed.


A large tractor and implements seemed like the logical place to start, but by doing things this summer by hand, I think something like the Ford 8N I was looking at isn't practical.  Sure it would be handy for the few open flat areas but we have hills, a swampy area and a creek not to mention numerous numerous mature oak and maple trees that we want to keep.


Then there's the Orchard we want to try for.. We are wanting to put in at least 20-30 fruit trees and an area I can plant clover and wild flowers for a bee project......


ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRbggggggggggggggggggggggg.... too much to do.. But these BCS tractors seemed to fit the bill.  


I love to read up and analyze things before I move on something.. And since I don't know anyone with personal knowledge I cruised some of the message boards and found the website of a dealer in Kentucky that not only works on, sells, but knows what other equipment and implements go with it.  Me and my dad are thinking .. Road Trip...


http://earthtoolsbcs.com/


Me and dad are going to be comparing schedules but this place has a ton of info on these..


Hoping to add a BCS to our pen soon.






Stir Fry anyone?

Posted by Boyd Craven III on October 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM Comments comments (0)

Howdy out there.  If you haven't figured out by now, I like to eat.  And to that end, I cook what I like.  Last night wasn't my turn to cook, but I did :)


3 chicken breasts, 2 cups of rice, 5 bell peppers, 2 red peppers, 2 onions, hand full broccoli, hand full cauliflower, garlic powder, lawrey's seasoning salt, 2 cans of light beer and about 10 cups of water, soy and Worcestershire sauce.


Set the water to boil then add 2 cups of rice stiring often.


For the stir fry, cube chicken breast, slice and dice the veggies and toss them into a large skillet and immediately crack 2 beers.


First one pour into the stir fry mix, second pour into your mouth.


Add seasonings to taste, put rice on plate, pour stir fry over top of rice... done :)

Quick and Easy Venison Stew ..

Posted by Boyd Craven III on October 18, 2010 at 9:49 AM Comments comments (0)

A week ago today I downed a small buck with my bow.  First couple days we ate some steak, and I finally dug out my slow cooker.


My dad had set aside the neck roast and told me that the meat there makes great stew.  So I took one packet of beef stew seasoning you can get from the grocer for about a dollar, and sprinkled that into the slow cooker with the neck roast (bones intact) and filled to top with water.  I set slow cooker to cook on high for 4 hours and went about my day.


Noon-ish when I came back in from out back the meat and seasonings were working out quite nicely.  The meat wasn't falling off the bone yet so I chopped one large purple onion coarsely and put it back on high for 2 hours.


By this time the meat was falling off.  I pulled out all the bones and meat, separating all.  Then with a big skillet I pan fried the meat with some olive oil, garlic powder and Lawry's Seasoning salt.  I cooked it till it started firming back up again.  I put all the meat back into the pot and spent the next two hours trying to keep my dog from eating the bones.  Dumb mutt :)


Then I chopped a small bunch of celery, 6 large carrots and put it all back into the slow cooker for two more hours.  At the end I tasted and thought it bland so I added some minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  The wife and kids loved it, and although I had made a huge pot of it, it was gone the next day.  


If I had more room in the pot I was thinking some new red potato's would have been good..


Maybe next time?


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