Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guess How Many

Here are Tigger and Una in pictures taken yesterday. Tigger starts her fourth month this Friday, Una starts her fourth month in about two weeks or so. What does everyone think? Tigger has had triplets I think the last four years or so in a row. Una had a single, then twins, then a single last year. My prediction is quads for Tigger (I really do think she's bigger than last year) and twins for Una. Post your predictions in the comment section.

Oh, also - Tigger, two doelings, two bucklings, Una, twin doelings. Last year was a buck year for me, three bucklings and one doeling, so I'm due for a doe year!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Organic Chicken

I subscribe to and follow the postings of Dr. Mercola at Yes, he can be a little annoying and too commercial, but I still think he's on the right track with most things. I also like that he changes his mind when new information comes out.

Well, not long ago he had a post where he said that organic meats are actually more important than organic produce. I grow most of my own vegetables. We eat fresh from the garden, or from the freezer and root cellar twelve months a year. So, the vast majority of our produce is organic. And, I've found an organic grass-fed beef provider that I am thrilled with, Nick's Organic Beef, but I haven't found chicken that I like so, I've just been purchasing the regular chicken from Whole Foods. It's hormone and antibiotic free, but not pastured or organic. The cut up organic chicken at Whole Foods is very expensive. So, yesterday at the store I decided to try something different. I purchased three organic, pastured whole chickens. They were $2.69 a pound. Yes, pricey, but way less than the skinless boneless nonorganic breasts.

The smallest of the three I put in the freezer to grill whole. I cut the other two whole chickens up into pieces. I now have two packages of skinless, boneless breasts, one package of leg quarters, one package of wings for buffalo wings, and two carcasses in a pot on the stove for making soup. I should get about five meals out of the two chickens. That comes to less than $4.00 per meal for pastured organic chicken. Works for me!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Updates: Mice, Pregnancy, Goat Nutrition and some Recipes

Mouse Update: 54 mice killed in the barn since it was finished in the Fall of 2008.

Pregnancy Update: Tigger is looking very, very pregnant and she's not into her fourth month! She always has triplets, but maybe this year quads?!?! Una looks a little bit pregnant, not really much bigger than her normal tummy. She is about 10 days or so behind Tigger and is not likely to have more than twins. I'll be happy with one as long as it's a doeling and as long as Una comes through healthy and well. She had a difficult kidding in 2009.

Goat Nutrition Update: I've been working hard on my feeding program for 2010. I started with my two does in the Fall of 2008 and basically duplicated what the breeder had been doing. I did want to feed as organic and natural as I could, so I've made some changes. Last year's milk production, especially from Una, was less than I expected. I think some of that was my fault, due to ignorance. There are so many things that work together to unable each doe to live up to her full milking potential. This year I want to be very careful of my calcium to phosphorus ratio, using alfalfa and whole oats in proper proportions. I'll be providing kelp mixed with copper and selenium rich herbs, baking soda, and celtic sea salt (rich in minerals) free choice.

I'm right now trying to decide if an additional standard goat mineral supplement is necessary. I have received different opinions from experts, so I'm just not sure yet. I don't like the idea of giving my goats artificially produced vitamins and minerals, but I certainly will if it proves necessary.

Low Carb Ground Beef Vegetable Soup
1-2 organic garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 organic onion, chopped
3-4 cups chopped low starch organic vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and/or carrots)
1 can diced organic tomatoes (or 28-32 oz. fresh tomatoes)
about 3 cups water
about 3 t. Better Than Boullion
1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef
2 T organic butter, if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, garlic, and onion in soup kettle. Pour off grease if necessary. Add all other ingredients and allow to simmer for an hour or two. Taste to adjust salt and pepper. I like to serve this with a big block of cheddar cheese. YUM!

I made this recipe this afternoon. I used zucchini and tomatoes from the freezer, and carrots and cabbage from the root cellar.

For lunch today we had this:

Low Carb Chicken Fajitas
Olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut in strips
Fajita seasoning*, to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1-2 cups shredded cheese, Monterey Jack or whatever you have on hand

Brown the chicken breast in the olive oil in a large skillet. When the chicken is no longer pink, add the onion and peppers on top. Sprinkle on the fajita seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender crisp. Taste for seasonings. Turn off the heat, sprinkle cheese all over the mixture and cover for a minute or two until the cheese melts. Serve with salsa.

I used a red and green bell pepper from my freezer, and homemade mozzarella cheese. I served it with carrot salad made with carrots from the root cellar and mayonnaise made from our chicken eggs.

*Fajita Seasoning
4 T chili powder
2 T cumin
2 t. oregano
2 t. garlic powder or garlic salt

Mix all of the above together and use in place of Fajita seasoning in any recipe. You'll need to add salt and pepper to taste. I keep this mixed up and ready to use in my spice rack.