This time of year can get chaotic with all of the new arrivals on the farm. Between the dozen lambs, 100 meat chickens that have been here for a month or so, 100 turkeys coming this week, 100 meat chicks coming next week, and an unknown number of turkey poults, chicks, and ducklings recently hatched by broody moms, there will soon be more babies here than we will know what to do with!
We have several broody birds right now, most notably a turkey and a muscovy co-nesting under our front porch. Just over a week ago, they hatched seven sweet little turkey poults. They are mostly black, but we have one pretty little blue bird as well. These will grow up and either be added to our flock, or become delicious holiday dinners. Heritage birds are different than broad breasted in many ways. One of which is that they grow slower, and develop more even muscling. If you are a fan of dark meat, heritage is what you want to eat. They still have quite a bit of breast meat, but it isn’t as huge as what you’d find in the store.
Over the last couple days, the porch moms and the barn muscovy have hatched over 15 ducklings. We don’t even remember the actual number! Every morning, one of our additional chores is checking in the nest for more little puffy babies. It was really cool that they started hatching the majority of their clutches on the same day!
This is such a fun and exciting part of farming that we didn’t really expect to enjoy so much. All of the moms have easy access to food and water, so this extended broody period is not an issue for them. The next time we catch them off their nests, we will be candling the eggs and making sure we don’t have to worry about any exploding.
This whole year has gone a little wild for us, like many others. We called our processor a couple days ago to book processing for our first batch of chickens, and we are excited to announce they will be available on July 4th, 2020! This was definitely an intentional decision on our part, and we hope you will consider purchasing some fresh, never frozen chicken for your socially distant 4th of July celebrations.
We will have them available whole, halved, or 8 piece. We will not be separating them into parts. Whole chickens are $4.50/lb, halved and 8 piece are $5.00/lb. Whole birds are great as a “beer can chicken”. Halves are awesome for the smoker or the grill. And the 8 piece is perfect for frying, grilling, oven roasting, or just about anything!
In addition to the birds, we will have feet, necks, hearts, gizzards, and livers back in stock!
This post has been rolling around my brain for some time. But there have been many other things rolling around up there, and it’s been hard to string together coherent sentences. Finally, I have found myself at a point in Coronatine where I feel like I can adequately describe what we have planned for this year! And it’s a lot!
Up first, we will be raising MORE pastured chicken! We have 100 chicks arriving this week, and an additional 100 arriving in May. We are modifying how we will be raising them ever so slightly, so they will have more space to roam and find tasty snacks. This will result in more flavorful meat, and happier, healthier birds. We will do at least one more batch of 100 birds before the end of the season, possibly two.
We will also be raising more duck! We have a muscovy hen setting a nest in the barn, and we are pretty sure there is one under one of the coops (the same one who set a nest under there back at the end of summer 2019). We will raise these ducklings in the barn to start, and then move them outside with the rest of the flock once feathered. This gives them the best start on our farm. Because of our mixed flock, little babies can’t really keep up with mom amongst all the turkeys and geese and other bigger birds. The girls will join the ranks of the layers, and the boys will be destined for the freezer. We will also be getting some pekins to raise for meat.
In July, we will welcome 100 turkey poults. These will be a broad breasted breed, which is the same as what we raised last year. We are also hoping to have a handful of heritage turkeys to put on the table. Our friend Alyssa, from Tall Grass Farm, is incubating some turkey eggs for us, and so far they are developing well. We will have a post soon about how to order turkey for this year. It will be similar to last year, but with a few modifications based on things we’ve learned from our driveway mini market. They will be processed a little bit before Thanksgiving, and frozen so they can be served for other holidays as well.
It’s lambing season, and as of when I’m sitting down to write this, two of eight ewes have lambed. Janus gave us a sweet, beautiful ewe lamb. Tanka gave us a pair of robust 4 horn rams, one a gorgeous dark lilac, and one a lively black. And both those boys have the prettiest blue eyes. We will hopefully have lamb available before the winter holidays. It will depend on if the lambs grow fast enough to make it profitable to send them to the butcher at that point in time. We are planning on giving them minimal grain, and allowing them to grow on the rich pasture that grows here.
Finally, the thing SO MANY people have been asking about: PORK! We will be working with our friends at Ham Sweet Farm and starting with some American Guinea Hogs. For at least this first year, we will be raising them as feeders, and not breeding them. These are a delicious lard breed that is known for rich red meat, and melt in your mouth lard. Depending on their growth, we are hoping to process some before the winter holidays, and perhaps grow a couple of them out longer to allow for the most flavor to develop. We will be working with a couple local produce farms, getting their scraps regularly to enrich the diet of the pigs, as well as the rest of our animals.
In addition to all of this, we are going to hopefully have our yarn back from the mill in the next couple months. And we have the wool from this year’s shearing in the barn, waiting to be processed. Plus, we have our usual eggs and meat happening. If you want to buy into all this goodness, we have our Farm Share CSA available here.
Finding inspiration from a bunch of other blogs, we decided to work on an “Uberlist” for Frontière Farm House. These are mostly my (Nicole) goals, with some that are for both of us to accomplish together. I am hoping that by sharing them with all of you, I will keep myself more accountable, and follow through on them. I may not update about the progress on each one, especially the more personal ones, but I will do my best to keep everyone updated on the ones that are farming related
My four categories are Self, Farm, Fiber, and Home. Those are four areas that I would like to see more personal growth this year. I will give more information on why we chose a goal, or what exactly it means, when we start updating. So, without further adieu, here is our 2020 Uberlist:
SELF get a drivers license
FARM blog 2x/mo for the farm
FIBER share another free knitting pattern
SELF/FIBER/HOME get her office functional
HOME put up closet door curtains in her office
HOME get his office functional
FARM get all the rest of the business licensing squared away for selling other meats
FARM get lamb in the freezer
FARM get another meat consignor
FIBER keep one Jacob fleece to play with
FIBER start playing with a spinning wheel
FIBER knit something for me with OUR YARN!!!
FIBER knit something for Bob with OUR YARN!!!
FIBER get other fleeces processed in a timely manner
FIBER make dryer balls
HOME get all the freezers organized
HOME get rid of upright freezer and replace with chest freezer
SELF go on at least one good walk with Luna weekly
FARM get to ??? posts on Instagram
FARM continue Tomorrow At The Market posts every week
FIBER finish up as many unfinished knits as I possibly can
FIBER frog any unfinished knitting projects that don’t spark joy/lost their needles/etc
FIBER knit enough items to do shows in the fall/winter
FIBER do at least two non-farmers market shows
FIBER consign knitted stuff somewhere
HOME get garage park-able
HOME get saws back to Todd
HOME organize spare barn stall
HOME/FARM get shelving in barn organized
SELF get eyes examine
SELF get teeth cleaned
SELF get tea cupboard under control
SELF drink tea at least once a week
SELF make cold brew coffee at least a handful of times in the warm months
FARM sell gravity wagon
FARM sell hoop house OR put it up
FARM get birds in movable layer coops
FARM re-seed south pasture
FARM/HOME build raised beds for personal gardening
FARM/HOME grow herbs on front porch in pots
FARM build new shelters for fuzzy beasts
HOME clean all the crap out of the attic
HOME insulate the attic
HOME fix moldy spot in ceiling from leaky roof
HOME finish painting the spots we never finished
HOME acquire baseboards and install them
HOME get all the art framed/mounted
HOME get all the art on the walls
HOME investigate new trash collector options
FARM get round pen cleaned up
HOME get two stupid trees in front of house cut down
HOME get junk pile at end of driveway cleaned up
HOME use gravel to repair driveway
HOME get new mailbox
FARM raise 20+ meat ducks
FARM raise 80+ meat turkeys
FARM raise 200+ meat chickens
FARM raise 5+ meat geese
SELF earn $1000+ through Amazon Affiliate marketing
FARM do another CustomInk campaign
FARM order another batch of StickerMule stickers
FARM figure out how to package and sell smoking wood bundles
FIBER attend two or more fiber festivals
FIBER vend/co-vend at one or more fiber festivals
FARM add at least three videos to YouTube
HOME get garbage disposal wired in
HOME get outlet on kitchen island fixed
HOME get kitchen wood shelf cleaned off and organized
SELF go on a date once a month and pay attention to each other instead of our phones
SELF see a therapist at least 4 times
FARM run some sort of giveaway on Facebook
HOME get thresholds installed throughout house
HOME get that stupid piece of trim attached to the kitchen island thing
HOME get dining table cleared off consistently
HOME/SELF eat dinner at the dining table 2x monthly
HOME/FIBER empty out current yarn storage
HOME sell/donate all the current yarn storage I don’t need
HOME make 1+ bread pudding a month while we are overwhelmed with eggs
FARM find a business to work with regularly to collect food scraps for the chickens
FARM/HOME organize all the egg cartons
HOME get vent grate for dining room
HOME get hutch into office if it fits/works with layout
FIBER knit at least five items with scraps
FARM get all the animal’s profiles up on the website
SELF get a tattoo
SELF go on a mini vacation (at least one night away from home)
FARM plant garlic
FARM/HOME harvest raspberries from patch/property perimeter
HOME/SELF make something with those raspberries
HOME can tomato sauce
HOME can apple stuff
HOME make five+ batches of sauerkraut
FARM investigate camelid acquisition
FARM have Doctor Walker out to the farm at least twice for general herd health
FARM/SELF write at least one article to be published elsewhere
HOME sell lawn sweeper
HOME clean all the windowsills/windows
FARM get gate wheels under gates that need it
FARM put welded wire on gates that need it
FARM figure out pasture rotation and stick with it
SELF join Jodi in some creative endeavor
SELF get personal email inbox under control
FARM/FIBER register the farm with JSBA
FARM register original three sheep
FARM register this year’s offspring
HOME clean out lazy Susan and re-organize it
SELF attend ??? DCFC matches
SELF intentionally hang out with a friend at least 10 times
SELF bake bread at least once
SELF ride a horse
HOME fill all the holes in the baseboards and trim
HOME fully organize master closet
FIBER make 5+ things on the weaving looms
HOME repair/replace downspouts as needed
FARM get Facebook page to 2000 likes
FARM get Instagram to 1700 follows
SELF take Luna to a pool/lake at least once
SELF read 10+ books
FARM/SELF milk a sheep/goat/cow by hand
FARM/SELF make soap/candles/something similar at least once
These goals may be removed, replaced, or modified at any time. If a goal will no longer assist in moving us forward, we will make adjustments as needed.
As you can see with goal number 2, we plan on blogging more in 2020. I already have a loose idea of what I want to share more of, and I am working on a posting calendar. We look forward to sharing this progress with all of you! And I would love to see your goals for 2020, please leave a link in the comments!
November weather can be so gloomy, and is almost always so cold. We love keeping the house nice and warm by cooking foods that require long periods of time on the stove or in the oven. One of our favorites is making broth, and then turning that broth into soup.
We recently had a few dozen older laying hens and some extra roosters processed. These older birds have had a couple years to develop darker meat and extra flavor. They also have the prettiest, richest yellow fat I’ve ever seen on a bird.
Once the birds are this age, the meat gets tougher and stringier, and they are better suited to low and slow cooking, or pressure cooking. The meat can be shredded and used in many ways. The carcass is then amazing to turn into some delicious broth.
To help with your broth making endeavors we are now selling Bone Broth Bundles! These bundles are 10+ pounds of stewing hens, necks, feet, giblets, and whatever other parts and pieces we get back from our processor. We are selling them for a flat price of $35 per bundle. You will definitely be getting more than 10 lb of delicious pasture raised goodies, which will make FIVE GALLONS of bone broth, or chicken stock, or whatever you want to call it. If you use the bones twice, you will have even more!
This is what ten pounds of broth ingredients looks like. Your bundle may not be exactly the same. Some of them will have necks, some will have gizzards, others will have frames. They will all have at least one whole chicken, perfect for shredding into some tasty chicken noodle soup.
To make your broth, throw your stewing hens, necks, feet, giblets, and other parts into the biggest stock pot you own. You need it to hold about 10 cups of water per pound of bones and meat. Add a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar per pound of bones to help break down the bones and extract as much goodness as possible. Add veggies and herbs if you’d like. Carrots, onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, chives, or whatever you have handy that works well in broth. Make sure it’s all completely covered in water. Bring it up to a boil for a few minutes, and then lower the heat and let it simmer for as long as you can stand. I like to start mine super early in the morning, and let it go until almost bed time.
Now comes time for straining. We find it easiest to start fishing out the bigger bones with tongs. Then scoop the broth and strain it through a mesh strainer. This gets the smallest bits of bones and veggies out. Some people like to put it through cheesecloth or something, but that takes out some of the tasty stuff. It does give you a clearer broth, so it’s really up to you. Depending on how long you simmered the broth for, you will have anywhere from a 4 cups to 8 cups of finished product. Taste it. If it has a strong enough flavor, throw it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. If you want to have it longer, it can be easily frozen. If it doesn’t taste strong enough, you can simmer it longer to reduce it and concentrate those flavors
Making broth is SO easy, and SO much better for you that what you buy in cartons at the store. These Bone Broth Bundles will help you make around 5 gallons of broth, more if you cook the bones twice. The broth will be thick and delicious and full of nutrients. It’s perfect for using soup, like our Smoked Butternut Squash, Apple and Pork Soup, or making gravy, or just sipping out of a mug to keep yourself warm on these chilly days.
If you are interested in one of these bundles, contact us! We will have them available as often as possible. Please share photos of your broth making days with us!
As we near the end of the warmer months, we are wrapping up our pastured meat bird production for the year. There is one batch of chickens left to head to the processor, a couple dozen turkeys, and some retiring laying hens. We frequently get asked if we will sell just chicken breasts, or just legs, or quartered or halved birds. The answer is almost always “No.” We have a few reasons for this, and I promise none of them are to be annoying!
The number one reason is that we just don’t raise enough birds to be able to get a substantial number done in any of those types of cuts. It’s also really difficult to predict how many of each type folks would want. The easiest option is to keep them all whole, and then our customers can break them down themselves.
Another reason we don’t get them broken down is that we don’t want to frustrate our processors! We bring in roughly 60 birds at a time, and to say we want five birds done this way, and 10 birds done like that, and 22 with this special treatment gets complicated and annoying for the people doing the work. We don’t have many options for processors in our area, so we do our best to keep them happy.
In addition to keeping things simple, we want to keep costs down. We have to pay an extra $1 or more per bird to get them quartered or cut into 8 pieces. We raise the prices on any birds we get cut up, which makes it more expensive for the customer. Getting the birds broken down also leaves some pieces behind. When they are turned into eight pieces, it leaves the “frame” which is essentially the cavity that you’d stuff if you were making a roasted bird. This has some weight to it, which the customer isn’t buying, so we lose money there. It costs us the same amount to raise a bird that will be left whole or cut up.
Finally, we want you to use the whole bird. These birds worked hard to gain weight and taste delicious. The best way to honor them is to use them to the fullest extent. A whole bird can make several meals for a family. Roast or grill it and eat what you want. Make sandwiches with the leftover meat. Put the rest of the yummy morsels of meat into soup. And finally make broth with what’s left of the carcass. If you don’t get the whole bird, you aren’t going to be able to make that many meals out of them!
Breaking down a whole chicken isn’t super complicated. Our friend Jamie from J. Waldron Butchers recently did a tutorial on how to part out a chicken. It’s very in-depth, and will help you turn your bird from us into any chicken cuts you need!
We hope this helps you understand more on why we do things the way we do. We appreciate each and every one of our customers, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor. Thank you for supporting us this past year, and in previous years. It means the world to us
We raise our animals as livestock, but we still enjoy spoiling them with tasty treats now and then. Recently, we were asked to review Bugs for Birds! and our flock was more than happy to oblige.
First thing’s first: Do you know how hard it is to photograph a bunch of birds? I swear this is 80% luck, 15% skills, and 5% avoiding all the beaks and bills. For every photo I share on the blog, Instagram, Facebook page, or elsewhere, I have probably taken an additional 15. I am picky when it comes to the photos I share. When I have fistfuls of treats, this makes it more difficult, because everyone wants to be all up in my business even more than usual. These snacks were no different. The birds seemed especially aggressive once they all got a taste for them.
First off, I started with the whole bag, hoping to get this awesome photo of the birds surrounding it. Something Instagrammable, you know? And then the turkeys did what turkeys seem to do best… acted dumber than I thought possible. “What’s this? Can I eat it?” to literally everything. And the cute logo didn’t stand a chance.
So I quickly gave up on that idea. Thought I should put them in a feed pan. Maybe I’d get something nice of a few of them pecking from outside the bowl… That was a big nope. They actually ended up flipping this onto themselves, and freaked out. I left the pan there for a minute while I put the bag down on the outside of the fence. By the time I got back, the two birds that were trapped under it had eaten every last crumb!
Fine, I will just throw them on the ground and let the birds go to town. Well, you can barely see them in the grass. And I didn’t want to waste these treats. They’re too precious! That concern was pretty much pointless as the birds scratched and pecked to find every last morsel of these weird little bug larvae.
Finally, I settled on dumping some out on the dirt. The turkeys went ballistic, and squeezed out most of the chickens. This was fine, because I could make a second pile for the rest of the birds. We wanted to make sure the layers got some, as these little snacks have a TON of calcium and protein to help produce delicious, healthy eggs. They also have added probiotics which help keep birds healthy. And clearly, the birds loved them, considering I was concerned I would lose some fingers at certain points.
Overall, we really liked these treats. They come in compostable packaging, ship quickly, are affordable, and the birds love them. If you have pet chickens, a flock of layers, or any other birds, these are a great way to spoil them and give them extra nutrition. You can learn more about Bugs for Birds on their Facebook page. If you order some, be sure to let us know what your birds think!
The four pound bag of Bugs for Birds! BSFL was provided to us in exchange for a review. This is our honest opinion of the product, and we were not compensated beyond the cost of the product. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through that link, we make a small percentage of the sale which helps us keep a roof over our heads. Thank you for supporting a small farm.