Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving food, and thanksgiving surprises.

The obligatory first photo of cute baby bunnies. This is them a couple days ago, a much nicer photo than the ones I got today due to the better camera and better skill level of the Lady of the House. So, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, we had a fairly good time, other than a couple surprises.

The first surprise had nothing to do with homesteading per se. It had to do with being a homeowner, and specifically the owner of a house where the previous owner was a poor do it yourselfer. Turns out he'd done plumbing with garden hose and electrical tape. So Thanksgiving morning was when we discovered the leak under the sink, and attendant flooding of the drywall and ceiling in the basement. It's not as bad as it could have been if we'd found it later, but we're going to have some serious work to do in the kitchen to deal with the mold, and I've been doing demolition on the ceiling in the basement to let all the water out and deal with the soaked drywall. Normally there's something satisfying about chopping holes in walls with an axe, not as much when it's your house and you're scared of finding black mold as you hack through the ceiling. Again, the good news, it isn't as bad as we thought, so we are very thankful for that! I didn't get pictures of that because demolished ceiling isn't that interesting.

 On the babies front, most of the babies are doing alright. They aren't growing nearly as fast as their summer half siblings. I'm convinced that it is due to the temperature. Not just, it's cold so they are having to use energy to keep warm. Also it's cold and water bottles freeze overnight unavoidably which means Dawn isn't always as hydrated as she'd like which means of course less milk. We've been trying to find ways to reduce that particular problem since the heated water bottle isn't working out as we'd like it to. So far our best solutions have been the crocks we haven't been able to afford yet, extra water bottles with the same problem, and filling the bottles with very warm water when we put them out in the morning, and refreshing them just before bed. It has helped, but we still come out to ice blocks.
The up shot of this is that one of the babies seems to be failing to thrive. He's a bit skin and bones and has been wavering up and down around the same weight for almost a week now. For a while he was losing weight and we were worried about losing him. Now that he can eat on his own, I'm hoping he'll do better. I actually saw him and one of his siblings do a flying leap in to the food dish this morning, much to Dawn's annoyance.
The other news about the babies, they have become very active and interactive as you can see in the photos Right. There are always different personalities and different energy levels, but overall they are starting to be fairly active and interested in people. Not saying they don't occasionally get offended at being picked up, but at least they aren't scared of us.
 This beautiful doe was Thanksgiving dinner, and a good solid meal with the other bits of Thanksgiving dinner for all six of us that were there. I didn't get a chance to weigh her due to it being a busy day with the leak discovery. So I butchered her out around 10, an hour after I'd intended to get to that. I'd decided to try something a bit different for the Thanksgiving recipe this time. Still a roast in the turkey roaster because that works damn well, but with a bit of a twist.

I took the basics of my mothers cranberry sauce recipe as the base. 1 lb of fresh cranberries and 1 orange. I then pulled the orange apart and mixed those in with the cranberries. I also tore up the orange peel to mix in with all of that. I also mixed in 2 table spoons of honey, and some cinnamon, cloves, and rosemary for flavor. I spread those same spices on the inside of the rabbit, and stuffed the cavity you can see with the fruit and spice mixture. What wouldn't fit got spread around the rabbit in the roasting pan. To take the place of savory spices and olive oil to keep moisture in I used a rub of honey and spices with dill added in on top that wasn't on the inside. Other than that, it was a normal roast rabbit recipe.
Overall it worked out quite well, the rabbit was moist and had a good flavor. However the citrus and sharpness was a bit harsher than I'd meant it to be. I wasn't entirely thrilled with the recipe. That is until the Lady of the House made me some leftovers with it last night. It turns out this particular recipe tastes GREAT 3 or 4 days later when the flavors have had a chance to soak in and spread out a bit more. I'm wondering if this would be something that is ideal for slower cooking than we prepared for on Thanksgiving.

So, all in all, Thanksgiving had a lot we were thankful for, though some of the good luck wouldn't reveal itself at the time. Our goal next year is to have almost nothing on the table we didn't grow ourselves. We'll see how much of that we can mange over the next year.


  1. Sorry about your plumbing! That's why I won't do anything but the most basic plumbing myself: the cost of screwing up is too high. Same with electrical; too risky. And I know this because the last house I rented was built before 3-prong outlets were standard. I guess some renters complained about not being able to plug in their TV or computer or whatever, so someone opened up the plugs, got a bit of copper wire, and grounded neutral to ground to fake a ground. But it didn't always work, so occasionally, when you plugged something in, it would breifly ground through you. (They were also too cheap to hire roofers, so they got and ex-roofer and some guy. Shockingly, the roof leaked the first time it rained.)

    On a totally different note, these kits (pups?) look a lot less sleek than the others, like they have muttonchops or something. Is that a paternal trait, or just because of the cold?

    1. Yeah, we're definitely learning the costs of DIYness when you aren't fully qualified to do the work. The Lady of the House joked that hell for a do it your selfer would be living with the results of your bad work for ever. I will do limited electrical work, but I won't do anything with plumbing. I know so little about it that I just prefer to go to a professional.

      As for the mutton chops, we aren't sure. We'll probably find out in the Spring when she has another litter, probably by Dorado again. I suspect it's some of column A, and some of column B. Dorado does look much less sleek of face than Dawn or Umbra, and it has been chilly leading to way fluffier babies.