Welcome to this update from the northern Michigan Home of the Happy Hen, where pastured poultry still abound, the eggs are farm fresh and beautiful, the goat milk is fresh, and the kids can get happily dirty.

Last weekend we spent Saturday afternoon watching a fellow launch pumpkins across a hay field.  Joe & Sam have been interested in catapults and treboches since last spring, so they reveled in watching the 3 this fellow had built.  The largest one had a 2500 lb. loadstone, requiring a 100:1 ratio minimum for its load.  A 25 lb. pumpkin is a big one, but we watched him successfully launch 2 of them.  It inspired a joke. Q: What do you get when you throw a pumpkin in the air?     A: A big squash.

Another great new idea: smoked boneless, skinless breast.  We’ve taste tested our share of the legs/thighs and wings, and thought, “why not?”  Wow.  The breast meat is a lot easier to make sandwiches out of, and I’m going to make squash soup tonight using that for the meat.  It’s juicy and flavorful.  We cut the brine time a bit this batch, so all the meats were less salty but just as full of spice and smoke.  If you haven’t tried our smoked chicken yet, you better stop by or order some delivered soon.  We will make more, but it’s tough to keep ahead of 6 kids who love good food!

The shop now has a roof!  The whole building is really looking good.  The guys have to finish the outside a bit yet and then they’ll start inside.  When Mark checked this coming week’s weather report, he was really glad for the closed in addition.  Scalding and plucking chickens is hard enough work without snow blowing or icy rain dripping down the back of your neck.  He’s going to get a rail hung inside there, too, so when you come by with your deer to be processed, we’ll have room for everyone!  Even if you don’t get a deer, feel free to stop by and see the changes.