Things to Ponder for a Harvester

Sometimes I would not wish on my worst enemy what goes through my head, every time I start my car, buy something, drink a coffee, purchase food. Just how much is enough, what is acceptable for sustainable living, is it even possible?

I look around my house, I see all the plastic, all the resources all the Stuff that has gone into making what I own or possess and its not forever, the legacy is but the use could be a day, year, lifetime but then what.

I did go fishing for enjoyment, I try to quell my fears for the planet so i can just enjoy something without all the questions of sustainability running through my mind, so Yep, I used my diesel car to get my fiberglass boat, fill it with unleaded petrol, buy some bait! then drive for an hour and a half to go fishing for the day, taking my tin of tune and drinks. hmmm – whats so bad- oil is in my diesel, petrol, boat, they all exhaust carbon monoxide and Co2, I got some bait, that in itself is unsustainable, blue bait should be left in the ocean to feed the food chain. Not to mention fishing line, plastic in my rod and reel, where do i start and stop. Do I stay home and be miserable knowing the planet is going down the gurgler anyway or add to its demise or I am just way to serious?.

All was not lost, I brought food home for my family

Flake

Squid

What I have been doing and yep, still filled with emotions is cutting wood, not cutting down trees, but cutting up fallen timber to heat my home and heat my water, wood that is shelter and food for critters of the earth. This only matters without population at billions and having a major effect on the planetary system, maybe I should not sweat the small stuff, we will go extinct as all other earth creatures before us.

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Butchers Journal

Good times were had recently, 3 Sambar deer hinds from the farm, not only are we controlling introduced animals, but providing meat for many families and friends. Taking ownership over the meat that you consume should be high on your priority for a sustainable life.

Sambar deer were introduced into Australia in the 1860s, near kinglake Victoria. Since then they have increased in huge numbers, some say to well over 1 million in the wilds of Victoria, with such huge numbers, hunting alone cannot control the numbers, and farmers are generally too busy farming to deal with pest species. Deer in Victoria are a protected game species, which is an old law but actually provides a lot of revenue for the government to employ officers to protect the species and make sure hunters are doing the right thing.

https://austdeer.com.au/deer-in-australia/sambar-deer-rusa-unicolor/

Many farmers are more worried about hunters rather than the deer species. Mostly they are worried about their own stock being shot or wayward bullets wizzing past their homes. Having a farm to hunt on is a privilege and should be respected. It can form a really great relationship, hunters controlling pest animals on farms when farmers dont have the time and resources and in payment, hunters can take many, many kilos of meat home to share amongst their family, friends and neighbors. This precious meat is from an animal that has grown up without fences, paddocks and penned up, till one day without fear they are shot dead, this death is very quick and painless.

Put this up against the kind of farming that is taking place across the globe, animals that dont see sunlight, that are not cared for, that are penned up and fattened, not knowing freedom, in strak contrast are free roaming deer, that have a life that is carefree till death. Most hunters care very deeply about the animals that they hunt, as do I.

I hunt with respect for the animal that will provide for me and my family. In death its still respected, using all the animal and not wasting it.

I cut deer up completely differently to a beef, pigs or sheep. They are somewhere in between, the structure of the animals is the same but they are more like beef than sheep.

Start with gutting the animal in the field, hang over night in coolroom preferably, but not essential in winter

Whole carcass and two boned sambar in cool room

Pull the front leg back and cut down along the body of the animal

shoulders taken off the carcass

By breaking it down into 3 main primals, its easier to remove the hair and to break it down. This barrel now has most of the hair removed from the front legs. Then its easy to follow the spine and remove the backstrap.

hanging barrel

Boning part 2

boning the backstrap ( scotch, porterhouse and T bone)

The shoulders are tricky and really the most difficult part of the process, removing the shoulder blade and humerous bone are possibly the hardest part. This meat is tender and loves to be slow cooked, roast or casserole.

Shoulder


Boned and rolled shoulder ( the best roast)

When these are hung you may choose to H-bone them or cut them into 2 seperate and bone them out on the bench, I will post videos of this process.

hind legs, cut off at the rump (


Almost boned leg

Round, with top and bottom cap taken off the primal

Round, primal- good for schnitzel

Back leg boned into primals ( note the light colour of the meat) Perfect

Tray of backstrap (porterhouse)

The bullet of choice (30-06)

I love having a skill that others find handy, that I can help others, teach others the skill that is a life skill. I identify with my past, very strongly and have considered to run some butchering classes, possibly, if hunters shoot an animals and bring it over, I can teach them how to cut it up properly, that way less meat will be wasted.
What do you think, would you pay for some lessons?

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Time to valuate

Its been a long time between drinks, seasons roll in and roll out, I keep thinking that I am repeating myself with my blog, but I guess if your new then, you may have not read my other posts and also reminders for people what season we are up to and what we should be doing. So my plan is to blog less content but more often

I have included some images of my chooks-These were raised by myself, costing $1.60 each for 20 1 day old chick. I kept them in the shed, under a heat lamp and fed on chicken crumble, bought from Traralgon stock feeds (Rodwells), great place with good staff. Once a few weeks old, I started feeding them on minced venison, I call it protein conversion. They grow very. very fast and were ready by 12 weeks, which is actually very large. I still supplement their food with chicken crumble and in the latter part with bags of pollard ( each bag lasts about 1 week and only adds on about a dollar. The venison mince is fantastic and they go crazy for it.

Chooks

I then killed them over a period of a week, skinning them, I find it easier thats all. I bury everything that I dont use into the veggie garden.

Chicken

These were the first heads of brocoli for the year, i planted about 10 plants and will leave them in the ground for the next few months, harvesting the new leaf bud heads as they grow. These were planted march with sugar cane mulch.

brocoli

The cauliflower is not like the brocoli and will only grow 1 head. Both of these I blanch, drain and freeze on oven trays overnight, then bag up the following morning, so you have separate frozen piece.

Cauli

The next few images are of minced venison, that when not feeding the chooks, I use to feed my cat and dog, making them almost sustainable pets. Simple- Kill deer, bone out and mince the primals ( whole muscles). ( Topside, rump etc). Then roll into handful burgers, place on trays and freeze, once, frozen bag up, fo you can give each pet one per day.

mince

Mince

Mince

Around the yard, I have pruned the fruit trees and fed them with fertilizer, I have also got a whole trailer of cow manure and put 2 barrow loads per garden bed, layed down like a blanket over the beds, I will let these beds rest then dig it in about September, before summer planting.
Each Winter is a good time to review, learn and shape how I use the garden beds. I will be planting less onions and maybe start planting more leafy greens.
Its a good time of year to rest, take stock and valuate what your doing, feed the fruit trees and change beds if you need. I would like to get out squid fishing, although I have plenty from some swapped vension. I am watching the wood pile go down slowly.

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Feb 2018

Well its been a while and Feb 2018 is already here, blackberries are ready and I havent even got out yet. The tomatos are gone wild, cord already harvested and the pumpkins are taking over the yard. Its time for storage and eating tomatos everyday.

Preserving fruit is really easy and almost a lost art- fruit is everywhere, if you dont grow your own trees, get friends with people that do, find them on roadsides or swap for it. Most fruit will preserve, apricots love to be preserved for use later in stewed, turnovers, in custard, icecream or if you want turn it into Jam.

the 4 step process- wash fruit, pip and cut- break open the stone to get to the Kernal, its packed full of flavour and will help the preserves. Put into washed jars, fill with sugar syrup, remove all air bubbles, put on rubber and lid with clip- water bath for 1 hour in preserver and wola!- fruit for years to come

http://www.canning-food-recipes.com/canningfruits.htm

Apricots

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4- finished product

Its Passata time as well- there are many ways of doing this- I wash tomatoes, put through the tomato passata machine, boil down the flesh to remove excess water, wash and heat jars ( dishwasher and oven) – put hot product into hot jars, put on lids and as it cools, it will seal and you are done.

flesh in and skin and see out

Passata making by an 8 year old

Soem Tips for blanchign corn, remove husk, cut in half, put into water, bring water to boil and simmer for 5 minutes, put into cold water ( sink with iced water) to stop cooking process, then let drain, put onto oven trays and freeze, once frozen, pop into bags and you have blanched corn that you can choose 1, 5 or 10 when you need them.

Blanched Corn

Freezing options

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November 2017

Its the start of the busy season for the garden. Fruit trees are full of leaves and I sigh as I have curly leave again. I am still gathering form the wilds of Bountiful Gippsland, I have been out only once in the boat so far. I am still gathering venison and rabbits when I can, I was gifted 30 large carp, What for you ask?- protein for my meat chooks of course!. I call it protein conversion- converting something that you may not eat into something that you will. Easy Peasy. Its a committment, but worth it.

I am torn between the breed being more like Frankenstein and me sleeping at night knowing that I have provided them a life outside of a cage and a bit longer than cage meat birds.
I have done a few sheep this year already, so plenty of meat in my freezer, and am doing another beast soon.
I will get wood instead of meat, wood is what i am after at the moment. I average about 10 to 12 metres per year. Compared to last year, I used significantly less wood this year even though the winter was cold, it wasn’t long. October/ November is my wood collecting time, whilst its not too hot, but dry enough to get around the properties. It also gives you 6 months of dry wood ready for next winter. I have noticed lots of trees dying across the landscape ( I think there is a major die back: lack of water and warmer weather).

We have incorporated soft plastic recycling in the household system- its not hard- separate bag, that goes to green collect bin at the local supermarket. Our rubbish bin is almost empty each week- can I please be charged on weight?

Believe it or not these chickens are only 5 weeks old!, they are already the size of bantoms

Meat Chickens ( Mini Frankensteins)

These arrived one day, someone has been over producing- massive eggs.

Giant Eggs

These photos are how I set down the beds, planting reasonably close and using sugar cane mulch to create a layer hard for snails to travel across but also to keep moitsure in the soil. It rots down and builds the soil.The photos are of corn and tomatos and some cucumber plants

Little Corn

Baby Tommies

The Garlic is growing well, all things going to plan I might sell some at the end of the year.

Garlic

my own minced beef, add some herbs and spices and amazing meal- Lebanese Kebab, served in flat bread with Tzatziki sauce.

Lebanese Kebab

This is what happens when you have good soil, compost with rotting pumpkin and add mulch and water- I think I have too many plants, i will see if I can pot them up and take them to work and of course give to friends

Pumpkin anyone?

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Freezer Filler

Well its deep into winter time and although we have not had much rain, its been reasonable cold which is great for broccoli. I have started harvesting and since learning a few years ago, cut the top off and then leave the plans in the ground. They will then grow more broccoli next to each leaf node, this more than double what you would get form just harvesting the main flower head.

Broccoli flower heads

As usual, I cut it up, blanch it ( bring to boil for 5 minutes) then put into cold water, till its cold then drain. I then lay it out on oven trays and then put into freezer over night. Next day bag it all up and you have separated broccoli, easy to plan meals for 1 to 10

blanced broccoli

I still have lots of pumpkin left over, I have given about 10 to the school for their kitchen garden program and plenty to family an friends. I also organsied a Pmpkin day at work, just to celebrate this wonderful vegetable. We had pumpkin pie, roast pumpkin salad, pumpkin fruit cake and pumpkin scones, served with home made Jam form my sister (” janey’s Kitchen”)
Pumpkin scones rock, I did make them the lemonade scone recipe.

Pumpkin Scones

Left overs- you can put them int he worm bin or cook it up and mash it, then it becomes a wonderful chook food and they will give you back eggs!. Protein conversion.

cooked pumpkin skins

That brings me to a successful hunt- I went tot he farm to do some butchering for friends and did some sheep- the same applies for all my food- freeze it separated so you can bag it up the next day, this will make your life easier and less chance of wastage, its bad enough we kill an animals for food, and if so then for gods sake do not waste it.!!!

lamb chops

After about 13 km of walking and on the way back to the car, we managed to down a young hind (female)- This is without a doubt the best and sustainable meat you can eat- it has grown up without knowing what a fence was, lived in the bush beside its parent, then when the day comes- it doesn’t even know its happened. No trucks, abboitiors to stress it.
As you can see, its very lean meat.

Sambar deer, becoming venison

Almost fully boned, down into the primals that we will make into roast, steak, schnitzels, mince, sausages and what ever else we can think of.

Almost boned venison

On the block are the back straps or in butcher speak, the loin, where porterhouse, t Bone and scotch fillet comes from. Behind them is the Blade roast, with bolar and Oyster blade still attached.

Venison backstraps

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Winter – no time to slack off

Well Winter is here, yes, its meant to be cold and wet and crappy outside, but winter brings a time to rest when you can, clean up your garden, prune fruit trees and sit back and reflect on the Garden. Dining on Pumpkin soup, you can be happy for your efforts during the warmer months. Everytime I open a jar of passata, not only do I think about growing the tomato’s but making the passata with my Sister and kids. Family is how we judge whether you have had a good life, its not the STUFF that you slave to posses or the new Bling that you think makes you fit in, its family and friends that you wished you could have spent more time with.

So what to do in the Garden now.

Prune fruit trees: http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/gardening-tips/how-to-prune-fruit-trees-in-three-simple-steps?gclid=Cj0KEQjw7dfKBRCdkKrvmfKtyeoBEiQAch0egcfU3eWlTSS5vNibLtNTSkPEpfuorU4BC3lXuuHImFQaArR38P8HAQ

Pruned fruit trees

Your brasscias should already be in the ground, but its not too late to plant some broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other winter veg.
My main winter planting is onions & garlic, this year I have planted some 700 hundred cloves this year as I hope to start selling it. GlenGarlic

Cabbages, Cauliflower & Broccoli

These are some pumpkins that I got this year, i have already given 10 or so away, some to the local primary school for their kitchen garden program. Given more time I would try to make more products with them, scones, fruit cake etc.

Pumpkins

I like to put some photos of the yard in here to show the change from jungle to not much, let it rest, put in fertilizer and dont give away all your nutrients.

Backyard

Turning the composting plant material into topsoil

I dont like turning over the soil, all the reading that I have done points to not digging up the soil too much, i do this once per year, before winter sowing, the soil is wet, clods break down easier and digging holes to put the rotting materials back into the system

Planted onions

My other ventures are to do some deer hunting, hopefully I might get one soon, not that I need the meat, but I will share it with family and friends. Giving food to another human is the most important thing you can do.

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