Gee but its great to be back home
Home is where I want to be, yeah.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend....
The lyrics from that old Simon & Garfunkle song were going through my mind today as I was heading back home from Albany (see yesterday’s blog for details).
I used to have that song on a cassette tape. But back in the mid 1980s Marlene and I contributed all our rock music tapes to a Halloween-night church bonfire. It was a small mountain of worldly music that went up in smoke that night.
Compost Temperature Update
I got home early this afternoon, gave Marlene a hug and a kiss and, shortly thereafter, went out to check the temperature of my compost pile. I made it four days ago, before I went away. The temperature of the pile was 65 degrees when I put it together. This afternoon it ranged from 100 to 110 degrees, depending on where I stuck the 20"-probe of my handy-dandy compost thermometer.
According to the thermometer package, 100 to 130 degrees is the “active zone.” It’s a good temperature for rapid composting action. If it climbs up to 130 to 160 degrees, it’ll be in the “hot zone.” When/if it gets to the “hot zone” I’ll be the “envy of backyard composters everywhere!” That’s what the package says.
I don’t care much about being the envy of backyard composters. But if this all works, I’ll give some more details and maybe my experience can be an inspiration to others who want to successfully compost (no, I will not be writing a book about how to compost).
When I got home today Marlene informed me that James and a couple friends were helping a nearby farmer repair his hay wagons. Then she told me he was out until 10:00 last night helping another farmer replace the bearings on a piece of farm equipment. The farmer told Marlene he wants to adopt James because he is such a good helper.
Butchering Chickens Gets a Lot of Attention
In my previous blog I told you about how my blog, How to Butcher a Chicken got a favorable mention in a Slate magazine article about urban farming. Well, today I checked my site meter for that blog and was astounded. As of 8:00 this evening, 2,516 people had visited the blog and there had been 11,072 page views. Prior to yesterday I was averaging around 110 page views a day. That is absolutly remarkable. I’ve never had so many visitors at any blog I’ve written. Now, if every one of those people decided to buy a copy of my plucker plan book....
My Most Popular Blog Essay
The most visited Deliberate Agrarian essay I’ve ever written, by far, is this one: Backyard Poultry processing With My 11-Year-Old Son. Today I got this comment in response to the essay:
I’m all for “urban” farming, and being more in touch with our food production, but there’s something very disturbing about an 11-year-old cheerfully singing bible songs while slitting the throats of small animals. Why should you be proud that your son enjoys this step? This seems so wrong. Shouldn’t there be some degree of reverence and respect paid to these animals who are giving their lives for you to enjoy a meal?
My response to that was as follows:
Reverence? If you mean by reverence some sort of spiritual regard or worshipful attitude towards chickens, my answer would be absolutely not! My family does not worship the creation. We do not thank the bird for giving us its life. We worship the Creator. We thank God for the chickens He has given to us. Taking a chicken's life is not a sacred thing to us. It is just a matter of harvesting a crop.
As for "respect" for the chicken, yes, we very much respect the birds. Part of of our God-given responsibility as caretakers of these creatures is to treat them with respect and give them a good life.
As a matter of fact, that's why we raise our own poultry--because we want to eat meat from birds that we know have been raised in a healthy environment with good food and a respectful degree of compassion. Our chickens get fresh air, sunshine, bugs and fresh grass to graze, a balanced feed ration, clean water, and a lot of "personal" attention each day. They have a good life.
And when their life comes to an end, we treat them respectfully by killing them without a lot of trauma. How many chickens die with someone talking to them and singing Bible songs? That's a bad thing? I think not.
As for cheerfully slitting the bird's throats, the point is not that my son enjoys the task. What he enjoys is being a useful part of a distasteful (none of us LIKES butchering chickens) but necessary job here on our homestead.
And, yes, I am extremely pleased that my son is such a willing and responsible helper in this work.
Are you suggesting that we should assume a somber attitude while processing poultry in the backyard? Well, what 11-year-old boy would want to be a part of that? We can have fun at this. There is no wrong in that.
I suspect that you have not butchered many chickens in your life. If you did, you would be better able to relate to what I'm saying. After you've "processed" your first hundred, it's no big deal.
That response to my essay is the tip of a sizeable discussion about killing chickens at the Slate Magazine Article. I did not read all the discussion but I read some entertaining commentary there about how “evil” chickens are, and that killing them is as justifiable as killing Nazi war criminals.
New Plucker Movies on YouTube
With that fast wireless internet in my Albany hotel room I was able to check out YouTube for any new Whizbang Plucker movies. There are a couple and they’re pretty good. Here are links:
Whizbang Plucker Movie #1
Whizbang Plucker Movie #2
Ian Paisley Sermons
I stayed in a hotel room for three nights and didn’t once turn the television on. My laptop computer with fast internet allowed for plenty of constructive perusing. I stopped by Sermonaudio.com and downloaded a bunch of sermons for later listening. Two of the sermons were by Dr. Ian Paisley. The name was familiar but I had no idea who Ian Paisley was when I downloaded his sermons. If I lived in Ireland, I would have known who this man was.
Today on the drive home from Albany, my coworkers in the front seat listened to rock music on the radio while I listened to Ian Paisley preach these two sermons:
The French Reformer John Calvin
The Scottish Reformer John Knox
I must say that Mr. Paisley has a way of delivering a sermon that holds my attention and is glorifying to the Lord. In the sermons about Calvin and Knox, Paisley portrays both men as evangelists. Paisley himself is, among other things, an evangelist.
Ian Paisley’s Wikipedia biography (click on his name above) is most interesting. He is a controversial person. Has anyone else out there listened to this man’s sermons?
No Bread This Year
A lot of people at the Skaneateles Farm Market are going to be missing Marlene’s home-baked bread this summer. She has decided, after eight years of baking for the market, to take a year off. We have a lot going on around here with our older parents and busy kids. And she plans to focus more on canning and freezing food from the garden. Marlene will miss the market (and the extra money), but can get back into it any time. I, for one, am glad to see she is taking a break.
I still intend to blog a how-to about a very nifty way to cook whole grains. And I’m thinking about maybe writing a blog essay about how to solve all the problems of Industrial Agriculture. ;-)