Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harvesting, Canning, Broodies and Roosters!

Been a while since I've updated and apologize for getting caught up in life!  Our 3 babies are getting very large.  They have been in the coop with the big gang for over about a month now.  They are petrified of the big gang!  They sleep in a nest box together and during the day, they stay in the coop on the roost bars while the gang is in the run.  Here's a look at them:

I posted these pics on the chicken boards to see what the folks though their sex was.  More than one person feels that all 3 of them are male!  Mama Grun is 4 for 4!  Geez, I'm not taking her up on her broodiness again!  I was told that they are probably surpressing their 'male' behavior at this point because there is a dominant male in the flock (LILA).  Well, Lila is on his way out at some point this fall.  I have arranged to get a butchering lesson and he is the guinea pig.  I was going to take Rosa with so she can do one and I can do the other, but now that we don't have another hen to replace her with, I will take one of the babies.  The kids and I collectively decided to keep Sid Vicious.  He is part Faverolles and they are mild mannered and usually at the bottom of the pecking order.  He's smaller than the girls, though, so not sure how that will affect his love life!  He is beautiful as well.  Genny must have had a conversation on the bus with one of the girls afew houses down the street.  They got chicks this spring and have been having issues with hawks picking them off.  Genny said they are down to 3.  She said the girl said they would like a rooster to have babies.  I told Genny if that is true they are welcome to one of ours!  They can pick Matilda or Raven and whoever does not get picked will be chicken nuggets. 
Meanwhile, I've been busy trying my hand at canning.  I've done some peach jelly and just today some jalepeno jelly and some apple sauce.  I was highly disappointed with the amount of applesauce I got out of like 9 lbs of apples!  I decided pint jars were just too small so I used quarts and only got 2 jars and a small amount of left overs to eat now.  Apple season has just begun though, so there will definitely be more!  I did not use a single smidge of sugar and spiced it up with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  I was very pleased with the flavor.  We are fortunate to live near a nice orchard.  I buy the 'seconds' and they are super cheap.  The old couple who has owned the orchard forever always is ready to help select varieties for what you are doing with them.  She picked me a big bag of mixed varieties just for my sauce.  They are not organic, because she told me once that there is no way they could not use chemicals and get a decent product.  Farming is hard work no matter how you look at it!  You can pick up nectarines, peaches, apples and pears right now at Hoberts Orchards right in the tiny (don't blink) town of Landis Store, PA.  They usually have apples until January. 
Still waiting for the applesauce jars to seal.....first time I tried quart jars!  If they don't seal I will have to reprocess them.
Another cool fact.  The jars I used for the applesauce were from Kenny's grandmother!  She is in an assited living home now.  She used to be an avid canner and I'm sure there were some tomatoes in these jars at some point from Kenny's late Pap Pap's famous garden.  Wish I could have spent some time with her learning the ropes while she was still in better health!

Keeping the jars and lids warm prior to filling with goodness.  There is a whole science to this! 

Finished Jalepeno Jelly.  I got 12 jelly jars full!  Will be sharing some with my friend who grew some of the peppers!  Some were from our garden and some were from his.  This jelly is yummy warmed and poured over cream cheese as a dip.  I found another recipe where you can use cranberry sauce and mix with the jelly and pour over cream cheese.  The possibilities are endless but all will have heat!
One last thing that has been going on out in the coop........we've got another broody!  Flower has taken to the nest box.  We keep taking the eggs from her.  Was thinking yesterday we could always let her hatch some of the barred rock eggs since we'll know their sex at birth.  The moral of the your chicks sexed and forget about those who want to be mama's!  Apparently there is less than a 50% chance of getting a female chick! 
This clucker is glad the children are in agreement with the eating of said roosters.....I'm glad they have not started crowing or I would be subject to a crow off at 5am!  :)  Cock A Doodle....CRAP!!!