Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Lady of the House's Birthday (Oh, and snow)

So, today is the Lady of the House's birthday. Unfortunately it's a gray gross weather day, so if folks could send her cheerful messages it'd be greatly appreciated. I know she makes my life a lot more livable, and this homestead wouldn't exist without her.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A reminder to myself: Why chickens?

 One of the realities of life is that you always have to balance things. Money versus time, cost/benefit, ethics/necessity, etc. With rabbits it was easy to see the benefits, and how things would work, what we were getting and how it would pay off ethically and monetarily. It's a bit difficult in our situation for me to see how chickens will have that same pay off given how much it is costing in time, effort, and money to get started.  So below the cut, let's talk about why chickens.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Out of meat.

There are a lot of things going on right now with food politics, and our life in general. Topics range from the Ag Gag bills that are going around to the Monsanto case being seen in the supreme court, and of particular interest to us bills proposing that rabbits be banned from being eaten since they are a popular pet. Right now though, our focus is preparing to butcher this round of babies.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meet Halley and Comet, and help us make a decision.

A lot of things are going on lately, and I'm not really going to try to cover all of them in this post. First things first though, last Friday we managed to breed Twilight and Dawn in the easiest breedings we've had yet. Second, we are keeping a pair of the babies from the winter litter for breeding over the summer. Meet Halley and Comet, we haven't decided which is which yet. Deciding what how we are going to handle the two has actually led to a bit of a debate between the Lady of the House and me about how we should do things.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate--Edible Happiness at What Price?

Chocolate--Edible Happiness at What Price?

Chocolate and Valentine’s day go hand in hand, whether you receive it from a lover or are raiding the bargain bin on February 15th.  Being that our most popular post is last year’s The Costs of a Rose where we destroyed many people’s love of giving flowers, this year we’re gonna follow tradition and focus on the other common token of love: chocolate.

After last year's post I would have thought these would be better than real roses...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Big storm, small problems

 The snow has come and, well, not gone. It has officially passed the three days guests are welcome. Above you can see the cars at the end of the snow fall. As a note, they were %100 cleared off a bit over half way through the storm just before midnight when we went to bed. That said, the Lady of the House and I are in a totally different situation than we were last winter. Last winter after storms like this I was out hand shoveling, and soon we were walking up and down an ice slide.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rabbit ginger recipe, and preparing for the snow storm

For those of you not in the New England area, you may not know that a major storm is approaching. Right now our primary concern is preparation for the impending storm. How much snow we will get is up for grabs, but we are going to assume it will be on the upper end of two to three feet.
What does that mean for us? Well, mostly it means get ready to shovel and snow blow. The snow blower has a full tank, and we are getting a full extra gallon of gas just to be certain. We are considering buying another extra gas tank to fill up just to be safe. We are going to fill up our sand buckets this evening so we have that available, and load up the inside wood rack with the wood outside that is most exposed to weather so the less exposed wood isn't going to be in danger of getting soaked. I'm hoping to be able to go in to work tomorrow, but that looks unlikely to be honest depending on the snow amounts.
Above is a photo I'd wanted to share from the gifting of the box to the babies. This is one of the babies rubbing its chin on the box, claiming it. Rabbits, like cats have scent glands in their cheeks and like marking things. That was moments before the box destruction began.
One of the things we have been doing a lot lately is experimenting with various things. Some of them are really good, but not terribly exciting and covered all over the internet, like wheat berries. Great breakfast food if you can get them, and very nutritious. More interesting is recipe experimentation, and as usual we are awful about remembering to take photos of the food before we eat it, so instead,here is a picture of a rabbit staring at the camera in confusion.

Recipe: Rabbit ginger
1 Fryer weight rabbit butchered out

3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons clear alcohol. We used hard cider, you could also use sake or other similar alcohol.
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger.
Other spices to taste.
I used:
2 generous pinches tarragon
1 generous pinch chipotle

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a medium mixing bowl thoroughly. A whisk works best, but a fork would also do the trick. Once they are thoroughly mixed, place the pieces of rabbit in the bowl and coat them fully with the mixture. Ideally the mixture will nearly completely cover the rabbit as it sits in the bowl. Place the bowl with the marinade and the covered rabbit in the fridge for 30 minutes. During this time I'd recommend starting rice if you will be using it as the starch.

After 30 or more minutes heat a medium sauce pan so it is hot, but not oil smoking hot and coat the pan with the oil of your choice. You probably won't need more than a tablespoon. Once the pan is hot and coated take out the rabbit, and brown each piece on both sides in the pan. When you do this just take the rabbit piece by piece, and put it down. As you brown it you should also be caramelizing the marinade on it. Don't cook it, just brown each piece and remove it, placing it on a plate to the side. Don't crowd the pieces in the pan, or they won't probably brown.

Once all of the pieces are browned and set aside put 3 tablespoons of water in the remaining marinade, and place all of the rabbit and the marinade in the medium sauce pan over low medium heat to finish cooking the rabbit. This should take 15 - 20 minutes if you cook it slowly, basically simmering it. Check the thickest piece of rabbit to make sure it is cooked fully before serving.

I recommend serving with rice, broccoli, and maybe some sweet potato. This is the best rabbit recipe I've come up with yet. Obviously it takes heavily from terriyaki and ginger chicken recipes, so if you have anything similar you've tried that you know works well, pass it on!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Coop planning part 3, cost cutting

In day to day life it is somewhat difficult to think how soon the coop will need to be built and go into action, but there are reminders. Up where we live there is still plenty of snow actually on the ground, and seeing the dirt below it is unusual. When we come down to the valley though I am reminded that while winter isn't over for sure, spring is around the corner. Snow is gone less than 10 miles from our house, and soon it will be mud season.