13 October 2009

Bird trouble

Since June we've been getting our meat from a CSA (community-supported agriculture) scheme. The farm is run by Colleen and John Nyman and is a mere 20 miles (32km) from our house. It is much harder to buy free-range meat here than it was in the UK and I'm a lot happier now that I know that the meat we're eating came from animals that have been treated humanely.

When I heard that the Nymans were offering turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas I was thrilled. John told us when he delivered them that they had come from the same supplier as our chickens - they hatched about a week later, I think. It's the first year that the Nymans had reared turkeys and they did rather too good a job - the birds we received were both around the 25lb mark. Yikes!! As you can see, the one we had for Thanksgiving just fitted in my oven (and yes, I did take the bag off before roasting it).

Despite my misgivings about the size, the turkey cooked beautifully, and in much less time than the experts would recommend. I don't know if it's just the convection oven that makes the difference, but this bird was perfectly cooked after three hours at 325°F. If I'd left it for the five hours that it should have had, then it would have been dry and inedible.

All the vegetables for the Thanksgiving feast came from our barnyard, meaning that about 90% of the food we ate came from very local sources. Flour and dairy products were the exceptions. Overall, that is something that I am truly happy to give thanks for.

Our own birds caused me some heartache today. There were only eleven in the run when Mike opened it to let them out into the orchard. I thought I'd counted all twelve back in there last night, but must have missed one. I was very depressed to think that we'd lost a chicken - and of course it would be one of the hens and not a rooster. Two hours later I noticed a hen in the vegetable garden so went out to return her to the orchard. I counted eleven again, but then checked in the barn and there was another hen sitting in one of the nest boxes. The one I found in the vegetable garden did look a bit bedraggled, so must have been out all night (it was raining for much of it). I hope she's learnt her lesson!


Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Thanksgiving, and congratulations on eating so much of your own food, something I dream of one day. So glad you found your little hen too!

Heather said...

Hooray! I love that nearly your entire meal came from locally if not self grown sources. That is quite an accomplishment! I thought about raising some turkeys but changed my mind when I realized they are friendlier than meat chickens. Maybe next year.

themanicgardener said...

This sounds great! Since US Thanksgiving falls late in November, it's a bit harder for us to get stuff straight from the garden to the table for that celebration. (I've frozen some beans this year, though.)

Glad all your silly hens have made it home.