Building an outdoor brooder with removable collection tray

While browsing for something I needed in an automotive store I saw these large drip trays that are meant to go under the engine and transmission of your auto mobile to keep drippings from getting on your garage floor. Since I had been kicking around the idea of building a cage that would double as a brooder this tray immediately caught my attention. It could be placed under a wire covered floor to catch droppings and food to be easily dumped. It should, as I had planned, make clean up quick and easy.

The drip tray was around $13 and came home with us for this project. The brooder/cage was built out of 2x2s and left over siding and some plywood. With the cold weather coming on we located some larger pieces of cardboard that will be used to cover the door to help cut down on the cold wind while keeping a little more heat in as well.

Until now we’ve keep any newly hatched critters inside the house for a week or more before moving them outside. This will cut down on the mess and noise associated with keeping them in the kitchen!

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Using a hand cranked corn sheller on sweet corn

We enjoy making corn bread from sweet corn and allowed a little of our corn patch to stay on the stalk past it’s prime. I wouldn’t want to do a truck load of corn this way, but this like unit is much better than trying to do it entirely by hand. Once cleaned will will run this corn through the grain mill and have wonderful corn meal.

We have a few remaining ears of popcorn that we will run through this sheller as well.

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Royal Pam turkey poults growing

We had a horrible year with our turkey eggs, something always happened once the eggs were in the incubator. In all we only had 4 of our royal palms that made it. This afternoon while outside we heard one trying to gobble when the rooster would crow. I have been saying for a week or so that this particular one was a tom so his gobbling today confirmed my suspicion.

It was a pretty funny little gobble. Despite giving it my best shot I wasn’t able to get him on video. He is going to replace a tom my mother has that’s just down right mean and will go after anyone once their back turned to him. Chances are good that the mean tom is going to end up on the table some time in the future.

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Frying up deer burger

Frying up some deer venison for goulash tonight. We butcher and process all our own venison and typically grind a larger portion into burger. It goes into two pound packages and one pack is split between two meals.

Our girls will complain about gamey taste to the meat but I’ve found a little pepper, garlic and some dehydrated onion from our food storage will get them to eat it with zero complaints.

We typically hunt does almost exclusively because we find it doesn’t have as strong of a taste as an old buck. On those years where we do take a buck we grind everything but loins and mix it with meat from a doe as we grind. Doing so cuts down on the wild game taste significantly. If you or your children shy from that flavor like ours then this will help. Draining the blood from the meat will also help cut down on that taste.

We added sweet red bell pepper from the garden to our burger this time, as you can see in the picture below. Half will go into the freezer for another meal with the remainder into a quick, simple and yummy deer burger goulash.

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Lots of tomatoes

We’ve picked two full buckets of tomatoes in as many days. In addition to eating them fresh they’ve been juiced with our new Cabela’s juicer attachment and used to make spaghetti sauce and tomato juice. Next up will be some dehydrated and some stewed and then canned to be used in stews this winter.

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Cabela’s juicer/strainer attachment video

We picked up the strainer and juicer attachment for our Cabela’s grinder to help make short work of our tomatoes. So far we’ve used it with grapes to make jelly and on our tomatoes. It’s an excellent time saver if you’ve already got a compatible grinder to power it. A couple of the parts are cheap plastic but overall I’d say it’s a good product.

Making jam

My folks came over yesterday and we spent the afternoon making jam. We made the old favorite in our home as well as a couple new flavors. In addition to the strawberry jam we tried strawberry/banana and blueberry. We all liked the two new flavors but preferred the blueberry.

Our combined efforts resulted in 48 pints of jam to add to our food stores. Tomorrow I will bake a loaf of bread to enjoy some of our homemade jam on a thick slice of warm bread. Yum!

Here is our share of our combined labor with a few grape jelly jars we made last week.

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