Life Goes On - Home on the Range Blog at - 312534

Home on the Range

Life Goes On 
Oct. 9, 2013 4:56 pm 
Updated: Oct. 17, 2013 8:21 am

There is frost on the lawn this morning and a chill in the air. I step out to feed the animals. The sheep move out single-file, with the Maremmas leading the way, checking for hazards. I open the gate and watch EmmaLou and Sushi run across the back pasture bucking and playing happily, while the Maremmas race back and forth between them in a game of LGD tag. Tails are wagging furiously with joy and exuberance and I laugh at their antics.

Mister nickers at me, waiting impatiently for his morning hay. He’s alone again as Wimpy is out with the cavvy so I don’t have to hand feed him. Mister would be there too, but for his advanced age and the fact that he doesn’t get along well in a herd situation. He had his tail chewed off and was marked up pretty badly from kicks and bites when just a couple of horses were turned into the pasture with him, so it will have to be a solitary life for him, this winter again.

The veggies droop with frostbite, the last flowers hold out bravely in their fight to survive, but they too will lose the battle soon. Still I appreciate their cheerful colors and their tenacity. 

My youngest son and his family stayed another week. They bagged 2 deer and cut one up for our freezer which was a greatly appreciated gift as we forgot, once again, to put in for tags. Abby and her little sister get along famously so things went smoothly, even if Kinley wasn't too keen on me, not really knowing us as we live so far away and our time together is so short.

Abby picked the last of the flowers to put on the table for me.

They helped to cheer me up when the inevitable time came.

My little people are all gone and with them, the sounds of laughter and giggles.

While they were here, Thomas' heart began to fail him, as is the fate of turkeys of his ilk. He was a hybrid bird, who gained weight so rapidly that his legs and heart couldn't sustain him. HIs color got bad, his legs began to swell and his breathing became labored so we took the cue and humanely destroyed him. Being as how I had a relationship with him, I could not look on when the deed was initially done. My youngest son picked him up (which he was quite used to as I used to carry him under my arm so it didn't scare him at all for someone to do so). Randyman helped to turn him upside-down and he did like chickens or turkeys tend to do and sort of became dazed/dizzy/catatonic. My friend and daughter in law looked on as they dispatched him and were amazed at how 'humane' it was. They both said he never seemed fearful or in pain. I've done a lot of chickens so I know this to be true. It's just hard to dispatch an old friend, even when it is the kindest thing to do for them.

 R.I. P. Thomas. As one reader on AR hilariously stated, "In this case, it stands for "Roast In Pan".

 I know he doesn't mind. He had a great life and he's out of pain now. For those of you who think it's easy or cruel of us to raise our own meat, allow me to say, it's never easy to kill anything, but this is the purpose for which he existed and his journey through life was sweet, his death untraumatic and painless as possible, and my family is provided with healthy meat, free of all the nasties that come with commercially raised critters and we are satisfied knowing they were well cared for and loved and lived in healthy, happy, sanitary conditions.

He was too big for the enormous tub we bought to scald him in, and too big for the plucker. It dawned on me that the people I had interviewed about these things had 'heritage turkeys' which are much smaller. We finally got the job done and got him processed and put him in a large sink of ice water to chill. He didn't fit so I put a wet cloth over his breast to keep him hydrated. He weighed 46 lb. dressed out. I parted him out a couple of days later and was amazed. I got 5 1/2 qts of dark meat to can off of his legs. The thighs weighed almost 4 lb each. 

This is one thigh, which took up the entire cutting board.

A half breast was 10 lb. 

This is an 18" cutting board. Enormous, I tell you!

 I cut the breast meat into  (4) 5 lb roasts and sent one back to California with Cody and his family. They subsequently roasted it and sent us a pic. He said it was the best turkey they ever had.

The kids' other 'grammy' told me she talked to Abby by phone and was told "I rode Mister and we killed Thomas!"

I asked if she could top THAT for Camp Granma!

 It seems unnaturally quiet now, but I suppose it is best as all three of us are down with a virus. Chills, coughing, runny noses and ears that hurt. Last year it hung on for almost 3 months due to my suppressed immune system. I hope that won’t be the case this time although there is no reason to hope otherwise.

Meanwhile, I wash my hands  a LOT so I can continue canning food for the winter. I’m still getting around so this is the time. Beef dip for sandwiches and pulled pork went on the shelves this morning and 6 quarts of chili ( ) are in the canner as I write. There were 7, but Randyman got a taste and begged a jar for lunch so it was pulled back out. It was surely tasty stuff, with a little green onion, cheese and sour cream on top. I had some leftover cornbread with it and it made me a happy camper, even if I am sick.

Lamb stew, burrito meat and meatballs are still on the list for this week and I have to keep soaping for Christmas orders. There is actually quite a lot of soap on the shelves but many are ‘summer scents’ such as Fiesta, Lemongrass, and florals. There are a couple of new fragrances I will be soaping (Vanilla Bean, Jasmine and Caramel Custard) to see how they sell. 

Plans for next year’s garden are already in the works. The basil is in the greenhouse along with the rosemary as I use a LOT of both in my cooking and neither do well in this cold climate. I will have to try yet another variety of tomato to use for canning. Having extra hands here will help to gather the calendula petals for use in both soap and healing oils. One of my little people had perpetually chapped cheeks and nothing helped. Her mommy tried a little of my infused Calendula Oil and the results were nothing short of dramatic. In 1 day, her cheeks were normal, so all my petals went south with them, as she is one of my VIP ‘customers’, of course.

Big plans for the future. For now, I will settle back with a bowl of lamb stew and dumplings, hug on Potamus and relive the precious moments God gave me with my family as I await their eventual return.

Oct. 10, 2013 1:05 am
As always... a wonderful slice of life Kim :) Thanks for the update.
Oct. 10, 2013 3:16 am
Nothing like grandchildren, right, petey? My DGD lives half a continent away, and it's hard to be without her. Thanks for sharing.
Oct. 10, 2013 9:13 am
Hi, petey!!! Thomas was one special guy..
Oct. 10, 2013 10:01 am
Hi Petey!!!!! Gee, its good to hear from you. I am sorry that you're sick. Be well soon. I will say an extra special prayer for you each evening.
Oct. 10, 2013 12:38 pm
Thomas is much appreciated! MIssing the kids but looking forward to next summer already. They want us to raise poultry for them too now.
Oct. 10, 2013 1:46 pm
Hi thank you for this lovely update on the farm. Love it. Feel better soon.
Oct. 10, 2013 2:54 pm
I'm always pleased when I read on The Buzz that you've updated your blog. I certainly enjoy hearing your farm/ranch/relative/animal stories :)
Oct. 10, 2013 6:26 pm
Thanks Paula and Nadine :)
Oct. 10, 2013 8:14 pm
Hi, Petey! I hope you will get well soon, now that all the excitement has died down & you can rest more. (doesn't sound like you will, though!) Where can I see your soaps for sale? Or do you have too many customers already? Sorry about Thomas, I bet you'll miss him. I can't believe how big he was!
Oct. 11, 2013 9:54 am
Hi there Scootersandi. Thank you for the well wishes, I'm still fighting this cold! This is my soap page, if you click the email link you can contact me and I can take your order.
Oct. 11, 2013 9:32 pm
Petey, love your blog - I am amazed at everything you do!
Oct. 12, 2013 5:38 am
Petey your garden photo is amazing. It looks like the perfect spot. I am always happy to read your blogs. Sorry to hear that you are all sick. I hope it won't last so long this year. You are amazing.
Oct. 13, 2013 8:54 am
Wow, what was the size of the gizzard? Did you prepare that too? My husband loves the gizzard.
Oct. 14, 2013 7:42 am
Thanks all. Goldens, the gizzard was enormous! EVERYTHING was enormous. His darn crop was the size of my hand and it was empty! We aren't gizzard fans so I didn't keep it, the dogs got it, but it would have made a meal LOL
Oct. 17, 2013 8:21 am
I know it must sound silly, but I am sitting here with tears running down my face due to Thomas demise. I have never heard of a turkey getting that big!!! Glad you had such a wonderful visit with you children. Also glad you are up to getting all the canning, etc. done for the winter.Looking forward to your next blog.
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
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Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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