Yesterday we worked at emptying the garden. The cold mornings that make the cookstove feel so good in the mornings have also meant the end of most of what was left in the garden. We left some of the cold hardy plants: brussell sprouts, swiss chard, turnips, and broccoli. The broccoli had gone to seed, for the most part, which means these lovely yellow flowers. It was a fascinating diversion to watch the bees at work–both wasps and honeybees were busy harvesting and pollinating.
Some of my harvests got put up a bit differently. The turkeys stripped the broccoli and brussell sprouts and decimated the cabbage left in the field. They are growing beautifully and will be a nice size for Thanksgiving. Keith has most of them sold, but there are a few left if fresh, grass fed turkey is of interest to you. Some of them have taken to roosting on the board fence at night. Keith plans to clip their wings today as the mess they leave behind is becoming a problem. They are fun to watch out in the field–their white color makes them easy to keep track of!
Whole animal butchery is, thankfully, becoming more common. It seems a more respectful treatment of the animal’s gift to us to use all of it. We’ve been working on some videos (see that page) showing how to cut a chicken so a person can buy a whole bird and know how to make use of the entire bird. Hogs are getting more press, though, with two different charcuterie classes in the Traverse City area. Knowing how to butcher an animal and render it into preserved parts is an art that is making a comeback in the professional chef world and the home cook world. We’ve been making our own hams, bacons, and smoked chicken for many years. While we have decided we like our own recipes, there are many techniques to learn. Education is a constant activity!