RIP Buckwheat

I was sad to read that Buckwheat Zydeco died yesterday at age 68.

I have a lovely memory of dancing with my husband one hot August night in 1991 at the Frog Island Music Festival to Buckwheat Zydeco singing Jolie Blon with Terrence Simien and his band, one of those flashbulb memories that you can actually feel, where you are young and newly in love and the music just washes over you in waves of pure joy…

What could we do with $38,000,000,000…

… If we didn’t have to buy Israel a new military?

Schools? Roads? Healthcare? Taking care of our veterans?

Nah.

Reuters
Thu Sep 15, 2016 | 5:22 AM

By Matt Spetalnick | WASHINGTON
The United States will give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in U.S. history, under a landmark agreement signed on Wednesday.

The deal, whose details were reported by Reuters earlier, will allow Washington’s chief Middle East ally to upgrade most of its fighter aircraft, improve its ground forces’ mobility and strengthen its missile defense systems, a senior U.S. official said.

Say, sorry to be so dumb, but can you remind me again why the American taxpayers need to buy the sovereign nation of Israel a new military ?

The eggs are here!

I forgot to mention the good news! One of our pullets has come into lay!

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The first lovely brown egg arrived last week.

I wasn’t actually expecting to get any chicken eggs this year. It’s early for that pullet to have come into lay;  she is four and a half months old, and they often don’t start laying until five to six months. Our nine hens will all be old enough by about the end of October, but we don’t have any artificial lighting in the coop, so their egg production will slow down and stop just about as soon as it gets going, due to the shortening days.  Hens generally need 14 to 16 hours of daylight per day in order to stimulate egg laying.

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Sunday brunch this week was fried egg sandwiches made with our own eggs!

With as insane as the news has been lately, all I want to do is celebrate the little joys, like fresh home grown eggs.

A new edition to our little farm. Also: of sacrifices and walls.


Our rabbitry is set up; this is Willow, a four-month-old New Zealand doe:

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Believe it or not, I got her for free off Craigslist from a lady who had been raising meat rabbits for a while and decided she no longer had time for it and so was just giving away the last of her stock. New Zealands are excellent meat rabbits, though Willow herself will not be eaten. If we acquire a buck and breed her, we will either eat her offspring or sell them for pets.

She lives in a hutch set up in the duck yard. Because Phil put a two-foot hardware cloth skirt around the duck yard,     Willow is able to come out and forage around. She spent the first four months of her life in the little metal outdoor cage that meat rabbits are typically raised in, so she was on sensory overload the first time we let her out to hop around the yard.

In other news, we still have no internet at our house. Between that and having no landline phone and no television, we have effectively walled off the potential in-flow of toxic waste known as the “modern media”. However, I still have my iPhone, so I still peruse NPR for a laugh. Here is my favorite headline from the past week:

Is Cate Blanchett Asking You To Do Enough To Help Refugees?

😂😂😂

Shorter NPR: Have you been sufficiently guilt-tripped into making sacrifices by a rich liberal media celebrity who will never have to suffer the consequences for the demands she makes in an attempt to signal her superior moral status?

Liberals aren’t even attempting to hide the fact anymore that sacrifices are only for the hoi polloi.

For instance, Mark Zuckerberg says:

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people

Mark Zuckerberg does:

Earlier this year, he angered neighbors when he announced plans to build a 6-foot wall on his 700-acre property on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

You get the sacrifices, they get the walls.

 

 

 

Lessons learned from my first season of turkey-raising

 

Most of the blogs I read are homesteading or microfarming sites and for the past month have all had scant posts mainly consisting of “Haaaalp, there are not enough hours in the day!”  Which I can relate to.  I simply cannot get it all done between dawn and dark, no matter how hard I work. On the bright side, my chronic insomnia is at an all time low due to overwhelming exhaustion by the time I collapse into bed.

 

It’s just been one problem after another. Something ate all the blueberries; gotta net the plants.  Something is eating all the blackberries, gotta make a tree-limb-n-twine-lashing fence around them. Something died out in the woods and the dogs keep dragging home greasy bones, a pelvis here, a femur there; gotta find whatever it is and bury it.  Why are the huckleberries dying?  Not enough nitrogen says the internet; time to pee in a bucket, mix in a gallon of pond water, and use it to fertilize them (studies reliably show that human urine, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, is an excellent replacement for chemical fertilizers, and provided you aren’t sick, it’s pretty much sterile, though you might not want to use it when the plant is actively giving fruit that you are harvesting).

And on and on.  So much work, so little yield yet.  Do you realize those wild-eyed preppers are right, we’ll all die if the electric grid goes down because none of us knows how to produce our own food successfully?  I never really believed it until this summer when I’ve worked so damn hard just to keep everything from out-and-out dying, let alone yielding anything edible.

 

But let’s talk about those turkeys.

 

We started out at the end of April with two adorable Broad-Breasted Whites and two Broad-Breasted Bronzes.  We thought we’d process them at five months, right around the beginning of October, but they just grew so incredibly fast.  Earlier this month one of the bronzes went lame…

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so we took it to Munsell’s Poultry Processing; he dressed out at just shy of 15 pounds and into the freezer he went.  Bronzes have dark spots on their flesh and don’t look as lovely when roasted whole…

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Note the dark spots on his flesh

…so I was really looking forward to seeing how the Whites turned out.

 

Several days ago I loaded up the three remaining mondo-ginormous turkeys and hauled them to Munsell’s…

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…but when I went to pick them up, the girl told me that the USDA inspector had condemned two of my birds after they were opened up due to septicemia.  One white was deemed acceptable:

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I was so shocked I could hardly speak. I keep a very clean coop if I do say so myself, frequently cleaning feeders and waterers with disinfectant and letting the birds out to free range all day.  How could my birds not be healthy?  They’d looked and acted just fine.

 

The ladies who slaughtered them came out to chat with me and said it just happens sometimes. One of them told me she raises turkeys herself and sometimes the inspector condemns them.  They told me they process around 500 head of fowl per day and on average the inspector condemns about 20 birds.

 

Still, I fretted about it all evening and tried to find information online about how to prevent this from happening again, but I could not find much information aimed at the small-time backyard turkey producer. What I found was publications generated by the poultry industry, which I started to read with interest.  Last year, around 1% of turkeys were condemned after slaughter, which is significantly better than my 50% condemned rate, though it’s not really comparable since I had only four birds. But guess who has much higher rates of condemned birds?  Antibiotic-free producers!   Ahhh, that makes a lot of sense…my birds had septicemia, which is usually caused by E.Coli infection, and guess what we never, ever give any of our poultry?  Antibiotics.

 

So I’ve learned some things for next time.  To summarize:

 

  • Broad-Breasted turkeys, which are the industry standard, are specifically bred for extremely rapid growth with an excellent feed-to-meat conversion ratio.  This rapid growth stresses the birds, however, which means…

 

  • They are prone to infection.  If they are given antibiotics regularly, losses will be lessened, but…

 

  • If you are committed to raising them antibiotic-free, expect to lose significantly more birds, either due to mortality or due to being condemned at the time of slaughter.  Make sure to buy twice as many poults as you want finished turkeys.

 

So next year, maybe we’ll try a slower-growing heritage breed of turkey.  They take longer to reach a decent dressing-out weight and the feed conversion is a lot less efficient (which I don’t care about, since we only raise a few birds and we free-range them for part of their feed). We are leaning toward raising either Midget Whites, which are reported to taste very good and be easy to raise…

…or Bourbon Reds, which dress out rather larger:

In case you are planning to raise turkeys, here are the sources of information I found helpful regarding septicemia (be aware that these publications are produced by the poultry industry and have a pro-antibiotic slant to them):

Specialists explore new options for managing flock health while defending judicious antibiotic use

Antibiotic-free poultry production: Is it sustainable?

Even though we only ended up with two out of the four turkeys in the freezer, it was a good learning experience for our first attempt.  I’ll leave you with a few other tips I learned:

  1. Turkeys are friendly toward humans but somewhat aggressive toward each other and other varieties of birds.  Use Blue Kote to deal with pecking injuries. Given them half a head of cabbage suspended on a rope in the brooder so they have something to peck at while they’re little so they don’t get in the habit of pecking one another.
  2. Turkeys and chickens cannot be raised together due to the risk of the turkeys contracting Histomonas meleagridis from the chickens, which causes Blackhead disease.
  3. You MUST feed the turkeys separately if you are raising them in the same area as other poultry such as ducks and geese.  Turkeys are total pigs and will eat all their own food and then go eat the other birds’ food.  The Broad-Breasteds (BBs) will overeat if given free access to all the feed they want; we allowed ours to overeat and gain weight too quickly.  Here is a feeding chart (assuming free ranging in between feeding times):

4.Turkeys are excellent free-rangers and want to be out and about all day from an early age.  Plan for this.

5. It can be hard to find feed for turkeys. You need to start them out on 26-28% protein; we found a game bird feed that worked for this.  You can lower the protein to 20-24% later and then finish them out on 16% to get a nice layer of fat on them before slaughter.  Withhold food for at least 15 hours before slaughter so that the crop and intestines will be mostly empty.

6. They need a much larger coop than you think if you are raising BBs.  Our coop quickly grew too crowded.

7. Unbelievably, they seem to like to get in water.  Maybe ours were just imitating the ducks and geese, but they would actually get in the pond to cool off on hot days.  One saw my husband on the other side of the pond and swam all the way across to him! I wish we’d gotten a picture of that absurd sight.  Anyway, if you don’t have a pond, your jakes and jennies (but NOT poults) might appreciate access to a kiddie pool full of fresh water when it’s hot out.

Two Muslim men in France reportedly murder Catholic priest. Motive is no doubt unclear.

Since the American main stream media seems to be under-reporting this rather significant news story out of France this morning, I think bloggers should pick up the slack:

Two knife-wielding attackers who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” slit the throat of an 84-year-old priest and critically wounded at least one other person during a Tuesday morning terror attack on a Catholic church near the Normandy city of Rouen, officials said.

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Feminism claims another poor girl’s life.

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Feminism has been a mixed bag for economically privileged women, but it has been a straight up disaster for poor women.   However, feminism is simply a tool that has been used by a global elite to line their own pockets via usurious “fiat dollars” that banks are allowed to create out of thin air and lend out to us.  How to get us to borrow, spend, borrow, borrow, and spend some more?  Destroy marriage and childbearing, and women will seek to fill the hole that remains with stuff, career, travel, and a vapid Sex-in-the-City lifestyle.

The destruction of traditional culture goes hand-in-hand with the destruction of the family unit.  The progressive globalists pulling feminism’s strings don’t really give a shit about women.  If they did, they wouldn’t have been egging this poor stupid Pakistani girl on, knowing what her eventual fate would be:

What is the real story here? CNN wants to spin an epic tale of an average woman standing up to patriarchal oppressors against all odds. CNN wants to turn her into a martyr and a heroine. But she is neither of those things, and CNN’s tale is false on its face.

The real story is a sordid one. It is a story of a number of news organizations and NGOs following Anglo-Saxon ideologies of feminism and progressivism, funded and directed from abroad, working on a long-term project to undercut traditional Pakistani society and remake it in the images of Harvard and Oxford Utopia. It is a story of a lower-class Pakistani woman without a husband who got sucked into the pointless spiral of selfies, clicks, and likes that is Western social media, and was then selected and fueled down that path by those same news organizations and NGOs in order to further their political goals.

When she met her inevitable fate in Muslim Punjab, they eulogized her and blamed the patriarchy. And yet, before Qandeel Baloch was having phone calls with journalists at major left-of-center newspapers, she was not likely fearing for her life, nor twerking half-naked for millions to watch on YouTube. Qandeel Baloch was not empowered, she was a political pawn for organizations that did not care whether she lived or died.

Notice that none of the female journalists encouraging her to pose half-nude on the internet were themselves doing anything so pointlessly stupid.  They were happy to whisper lies about empowerment in the girl’s ear, telling her she was strong and independent when in reality she was just reveling in the attention, as most girls would.  Did they care that she would be almost certainly be killed?  Apparently not.  Her death has been ever so useful for their narrative and the news organizations’ site traffic though.  She served her purpose for them, poor stupid girl, and she won’t be the last.

Feminism is the lie that progressive globalists feed gullible girls to celebrate their own debasement and destruction.