Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Turkeys, cheese, and smiley butter

I know I said I needed to have non-fostering-related posts, but they just.keep.coming! You've been warned.

I can't stop talking about fostering because it's what I'm processing. So just to break things up here's a random update:

Farm - we're anxiously waiting to hear back from a farm lending agency. They said they would hopefully have their decision by the end of the month. And now it's the 28th - so soon? Ren Man was just saying that he can't believe we've been here almost two years. To him it feels like we just got here. But he realized that's because it still feels like we're just getting started. I think once the creamery is in place, we'll feel more established. That big budget jump is frustrating. Fortunately we've figured out a way to make a smaller step before doing the full scale creamery - converting part of a work room we have attached to the house. We still will need to milk in cans which is a lot more manual labor than our (hopefully) eventual pipeline system. But it would mean being officially up and running on the dairy side of things. We have a ton of interest in cheese, butter, and yogurt. It's hard to hold people off but the regulations in our state are very strict and we want to adhere to those first. Thus the required big budget for meeting those requirements. Ren Man is definitely a rule follower and now knows the regs more thoroughly than the inspectors. I'm more of a cowboy in that I'm happy to just do our thing, but I understand Ren Man's fear (and appreciate it!) - see Farmageddon if you need some fear!

We recently got turkeys, I'm thrilled. Last year turkeys sucked for many reasons which in the end lead to us having one surviving turkey. Fortunately it was a heritage breed. So our option was to eat her (it turned out to be a her not a him) for Thanksgiving or Christmas ... or maybe keep her for breeding. We halfheartedly looked for toms and another hen for our turkey. No luck. Months pass. She's hanging out with the ducks, but it's a little silly. We try really hard not to have pets. But it's hard to NOT have pets on a farm, no matter what they say.
Two weeks ago my mother-in-law said a friend of a friend has some slate turkeys that are 8mos old and she wants to sell for $10/piece. (If you don't know: this is ridiculous. The CHICKS cost $10/piece with shipping!) The turkeys were not killed for Thanksgiving for some reason, and they just wanted to get rid of them. So my inlaws were going to take a few for meat - did we want some too and they'd butcher them for us.
"WAIT!" I said, as if the knife was about to make its mark immediately - not like it was 8pm on a Tuesday night and the turkeys were safely tucked in at their original home. "Are there any toms?" I asked, excited.
She said she'd ask. Sure enough. One tom, 6 hens. My father-in-law picked them all up and then decided he didn't want to bother processing them. So a week later we found ourselves with 7 hens (including the bourbon red, who probably needs a name) and a tom.

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