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Prepping for the week

January 3, 2010

Every Sunday I cook the Sunday chicken and usually I dig vegetables for the week too.  Just before Christmas my old roaster crapped out and sprung a leak.  I can’t blame it – I purchased it second-hand at an estate sale, along with a sewing machine and some quilt tops.  The vintage quilt tops got squirreled away to a trunk, but the Singer and the roaster have not had such a respite.  The sewing machine has sewn miles of thread for new quilt tops I have made, and the granite roaster pan has turned many a chicken into countless meals.  I seized the opportunity to get a larger roaster this time – I roast the chicken with water for my weekly broth making, and a larger roaster gives me more leeway.  Now instead of two quarts of broth a week, I can get three from the first cooking.

Lovely broth from our pastured poultry

While the chicken was roasting, I went to the garden to dig roots for the week.

a muddy job

Since the actual thaw, it has been apparent that the vegetables in one garden that is cooler had suffered some damage from freezing without snow cover.  I always plant extra, and usually end up not eating them all by spring.  But even with that being said, I still don’t like to lose any… .

a wheelbarrow of goodness

It’s helpful to have stock, any damaged vegetables are readily consumed by the hens, dogs, or Della the milk cow.

washed and waiting for inspection

Once the dirt is washed away, I can inspect for damage from rodents, freezing or digging.  Some go to the kitchen and some to the barn.

winter takes its toll

The celeriac at the top of the photo shows more damage from freezing than the other two, you can see the discoloration on the bulb as well as the dark green stalks.  It will go to the chickens, but I can glean a few stalks for tonights soup.

Red cored chantenay

Some of the carrots have split or have soft spots from freezing, mostly from the main garden.  Della won’t care, so these will go into her root bucket.  The carrots planted in the “new” garden have fared better.  That garden receives a little breeze, it is warmer in the summer, and in the winter too,  even though the gardens are less than a 100 yards apart.  Gives a whole new meaning to micro-climate!

a little flawed but still beautiful

21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2010 12:40 am

    Nice diggin’s!

    We crock-pot our “stewing” birds overnight with an onion and water to within about an inch of the top; the meat slips right off the bones in the morning and we get 2 pint size freezer bags of very tender boned chicken and four or five pint containers of broth per bird. S’very handy.

    • January 4, 2010 11:28 am

      Risa, I have found the broth invaluable for cooking. If I have it on hand, I use it, and not canning it up in a marathon of stock making (like I used to do) insures that I will use it! It’s amazing what a dab of schmaltz and glug of chicken broth will do for braised kale and cabbage 🙂

  2. January 4, 2010 4:44 am

    We are in the middle of the craziest winter. It’s been cold since Halloween, but other than Saturday morning flurries, no snow at all. This week weren’t not supposed to get above freezing all week. (We’re in Tennessee and this is pretty unusual for us.) I’ve been meaning to dig the last of the carrots, but forgetting. I’d best get to it.

    Have to laugh. I read your blog first thing in the morning as I sip my first coffee. I read this sentence wrong, “Just before Christmas my old roaster crapped out and sprung a leak. I can’t blame it – I purchased it second-hand at an estate sale, along with a sewing machine and some quilt tops.” I thought you said rooster. Wow. Your rooster that you bought second-hand at an estate sale sprung a leak?? Yikes!

    I make stock in a gigantic stock pot and get five quarts from a bird. If I didn’t let it cook three days it would be thin and puny, but after 72 hours, it’s rich and gelatinous. I usually do a Sunday chicken as well! Good tradition.

    • January 4, 2010 11:45 am

      Peggy – LOL our old rooster Gregory Peck did crap out too – but he had some help from an owl. We haven’t replaced him – I received all pullets last time I ordered pullets, and since I have no desire to hatch any eggs we have been roosterless for a while. We kinda miss ‘ol Greg though… .

      I have been pushing these broilers to the limit. DH gets the breast meat for a weeks worth of lunches, most weeks we have enchiladas one night, and chicken pot pie another, then any meat left goes into soup. And after all that the carcass goes into a stockpot and gets cooked until the bones are soft enough for the dogs, and I use that broth/stock for their food. Not one single piece gets thrown away. Usually I can get 6 quarts of stock for us and the dogs for a week. We call the last cooking Dog Soup and the it makes their tails wag when they see the pot on the stove – although friends wonder what is actually in the Dog Soup 😀 Even raising the birds ourselves they are expensive!

  3. January 4, 2010 6:28 am

    Hey Nita, my computer died, so I am just now getting up and running. I love the photos especially in the previous post of the blue birds.

    It is going to be very cold down here in east Texas this week. So I expect I will be making some soup too.

    I wish you a Happy New Year.

    • January 4, 2010 11:46 am

      Finding Pam, ooh I hate that! Ours was sick over Christmas time. Great for a break but, but gee I sure miss all my bookmarks.

      Best Wishes for the coming year!

  4. January 4, 2010 6:51 am

    I read ROOSTER too! 😉

  5. January 4, 2010 8:00 am

    dittos to Peggy, I read rooster too, and crapping out and springing a leak like a carved fountain or something, ah winter, early morning and the mind tricks. Very impressive, the organizational no waste use of all the various vegetable states, now if only the govt. would be this resourceful and less wastefull!

    • January 4, 2010 11:48 am

      Lorena, ah yes, making the government more useful. I don’t think I will live long enough to see that one unfortunately!

  6. January 4, 2010 8:13 am

    Thanks to you, I tried celeriac for the first time yesterday (some cooked, and some shredded into a raw cabbage salad). It’s very tasty! Definitely on the try-to-grow list for 2010. Thanks for the idea!

    • January 4, 2010 11:51 am

      Emily, thanks, celeriac is kind of new here too, I have only been growing it for about 3 years, but it is really taking the place of celery in the winter months and since my husband can’t eat potatoes, I find it is making it’s way into dishes more often. It’s one of those ugly duckling vegetables all through the summer and then fall comes and there it is, sporting those luscious leaves so good in soups, stews and pot pies!

  7. alison permalink
    January 4, 2010 10:13 am

    Wow, that certainly does make me reassess just exactly micro climate means! Is the “new” garden higher up than the other, or does it get more of a breeze because the other is blocked by trees or buildings? Fascinating stuff 🙂

    • January 4, 2010 11:58 am

      Alison, the “new” garden is actually just adjacent to the old garden, but is closer to a pasture which is of course open. The old main garden is right next to the road, and the venerable hedge on the west side that is so important for many reasons, although it lends itself to casting a shadow on the garden so the evening sun does not reach it. Of course the main garden has better soil, the other being a work in progress. And every winter is different too, it was a rare cold snap without snow for us, so I have to take that into consideration too. Never a static moment in gardening – that’s for sure!

  8. January 4, 2010 10:53 am

    Another award winning post!!! 🙂

    I do have a question for you, Nita. Do you know where I can purchase hard-dent NON GMO seed corn? (The corn to make cornbread from or the corn to feed cows with)


  9. January 4, 2010 1:46 pm

    May I say….Its amazing life that you live. You should write a book : ). I enjoyed reading and wondering…why dont more people live like this. Really tranquil and reassuring…that there is some sanity in this world left.

    Wish you a great year of farming!!

    • January 4, 2010 7:08 pm

      Weekendfarmer – thank you so much for the compliments, best wishes to you for a prosperous year also.

  10. Rita permalink
    January 4, 2010 4:56 pm

    Silly question, I just re-read your linked post on the weekly chicken. Do you put the lid on the roaster when you cook the chicken with the water? If so, how does it brown so beautifully?

  11. January 4, 2010 7:14 pm

    Rita, I do leave the cover on, I believe the high 400 degree temp browns the chicken. I don’t do anything to the chicken before putting it in the roaster either wanting my broth to be just broth without seasonings. 🙂

  12. January 5, 2010 8:27 pm

    I’m a broth-maker too – wouldn’t be without my little pints of chicken/turkey/beef/vegetable broth in the cupboard to start meals with. Really adds a complexity of flavor to just about anything. And so nutritious! And frugal!

    I like your hardware cloth-on-buckets rinsing table. That is a great idea. Nice roots! And the critters make everything harvested useful and appreciated: what a marvelous partnership that is.

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