Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It was a perfect agricultural day

What a day.

When we decided that I would stay at home with our new baby we also made the choice to go down to one vehicle.  It's been no trouble at all to share a car with my husband.  When you think about it didn't most people live like that until recently?  It's fine, and if there's something the baby and I need to get done we just drop my husband off at work and pick him up later.  Yesterday the thing we needed to do was pick up the ducks we had dropped off at the processing place last night.

I wondered what to do with the rest of the day.  A car! A full tank of gas! We could go anywhere!  I decided to take us to a little re-sale place in the heart of an Amish community very close to us. It's the same community where I impulse-bought those chickens at the auction.

Last year I had bought a armload of vintage feed sacks there for a song and have been selling them on-line since then.  What the heck.  We drove out, they were closed for the day but we did see a sign "Barn Sale" hand lettered on a piece of cardboard. On a Wednesday? Sure, we'll take a look. It was an Amish family who had set up a little sale in their garage.  They had a lot of nice useful things we really didn't need, some bunnies for sale, squash and homemade donuts. I am going to stereotype here but the best doughnuts on this earth are made by the Amish.  They must actually fry them in lard is the only thing I can think of, but wow.  They are never a bad idea. We bought some Bavarian doughnuts and a beautiful box of winter squash.  Total = $5.25.   Sorry, about that.  $7.

Edit: This was the price breakdown:
Box of squash shown in car pic ( 2 delicata, 3 acorn type, 1 large red one) = $4
HUGE Pennsylvania crookneck Dutch squash = $1
Donughts x 2 = $2

Some new squashes on the porch.

We ran some other errands after that, including a trip to the feed mill for layer mash and cracked corn. 100 lbs. of feed total = $13.00.  While I was paying the Amish teenager running the cash box I glanced down and saw some advertising thermometers. I've actually been looking for a nice one for a really long time to put on the side of the chicken coop.  Ever since that winter we had when I was out there breaking ice in -15 degree cold I tend to wonder just how damn cold or hot it is outside.

"These are neat", I said. "How much are they?" "Oh, those? They're free.  You can have one." Really?  Thank you friend, it made my day.

We picked up the ducks. For $11 two ducks went from on the webbed foot to freezer-ready with no work on my part.  I am very lucky to have a place near me that will take care of the poultry for me.  Processing one or two here and there isn't a big deal but it's nice to hire the job out sometimes and they always do a really nice job.

Technically, I went out there with 4 ducks and came home today with 2.  The other 2? Yeah... my runner duck hens... well.. I really like my ducks. A lot.  I had made the decision to get them butchered because I like ducks for meat and they (adding to the gene pool) produce a very, very small duck.  Also we had enough duck eggs every day.  Like each duck lays every single day, all summer.  They're messy.  They're a pain and a lot of work.  Too many eggs, too many ducks.... so when I loaded up the extra drakes I took them along too. Sadly.  Then I got there and felt even worse... then I looked in the box where the daughter duck was trying to hide under the mama hen duck.  "goddamn it". I said out loud. "shit, ok, fine.  I'm sorry."  Now I was talking to myself in the parking lot.  I had to go in and explain that I was only dropping 2 off instead of 4 and why.  "Don't worry, you're not the first." The lady working there said.  So I was greeted with a bit of good-natured teasing when I came back.

The drakes?  No guilt over them.  Too many males is not a good equation for any kind of livestock.    I'm actually toying with the idea of smoking one of them, or maybe making sausage.

Look at the trunk of the car.  What a bounty.

We came home and immediately went out to the chicken yard where little man watched as I hung the thermometer.

I made mushroom risotto as a side with dinner tonight and I think little man and I are going to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow baked into one of those small yellow squashes.  Are they delicata?  They look like it and are very smooth and glossy.  I'll save the seeds and we'll see what grows next spring.  


  1. Next wekk my husband and I will take some heifers to the sale barn in Arthur Illinois, the nearest Amish area to us (2 hours south) I also love to shop there and can find the best things in their general store called "Yoders". And just for the record, it's not stereotyping if it's true. They do make the best donuts, they really do.

    1. Aren't they the best Donna? Around here they also make fry pies which is like a handheld pie, deep fried and glazed. They sell these masterpieces for like 75c.

  2. I love squash so much, not got many this year, lots of my seed rotted and then I didn't get round to putting my second batch in.
    Be warned on reusing the seed, unless you know it was either isolated or the flowers were tied then it's likely to be a cross and won't grow true to the squash you took it out of. It'll be a first generation cross, your own F1, but you won't know what it'll be like. Squash plants are very promiscuous and will cross with each other very easily, normally flowers need to be tied shut to prevent this and then squashes marked for seed saving.
    I'd be inclined to buy seed and grow something that you know will be nice, it's a lot of effort to grow anything and then it might be disappointing! That said new vareities are only discovered by crosses, but it is hard to then get them to grow true the year after as they tend to revert back to one of their original parents (I'm a bit obsessed with learning about seed saving - to the point of being quite boring!)
    you';ll have to let us know what the ducks are like, I love roast duck, I shot some wild ones a few years ago and they were delicious, I can understand why you don';t like the processing, I've never seen so many feathers as came off a couple of birds - a job to be done outside that's for sure! Biggest thing I've ever processed was a whole cow this year, but that's another story!

    1. You're absolutely correct about the seed crossing. There's always room along a fence somewhere and I really like to see what happens with these. It's fun to see what grows.
      If you're interested in cooking duck - and especially if you hunt - I really reccommend you check out Hank Shaw's book Duck, Duck Goose or his beautiful website. He really breaks down the how's and why's of cooking these birds. I think I'm going to write a post about it.

    2. I'll look out for it and look forward to your blog post. I do hunt but not nearly as much as I'd like. One day I'll have time for it, but writting about it has lost me quite a few blog followers in the past!

  3. Also were all those squash only $5.95? That's mental if they were! How do they even grow them for that!

  4. $5. The have lots of help Kev. Big families!