Welcome back to another Friday Coffee Break and answers to your most burning questions about homesteading.
Today we have two great questions to ponder and discuss over our favorite hot beverage. (mine is coffee, but if you follow my stuff, you probably know that I am a coffee maniac). So grab you cup and take a break. Join me for questions and answers on Farming 2.
“We ordered 6 pullets from a hatchery last spring and ended up with four hens and two roosters. The neighbors are complaining about the roosters and my kids are afraid of them. What should we do? Can we find a home for them somewhere else?”
Well, Greg this is an age old problem with ordering day old chicks from a hatchery. Even when hatching out your own chicks in an incubator or using a naturally broody hen, you can’t be 100% certain of what you may end up with. Roosters do need special handling and learning to get the coop chores done with out being jumped on can be a daunting process. As far as the crowing goes, you really can’t control that. If it is against an ordinance to have roosters then I suppose you need to make arrangements to have the roos rehomed. I would advertise at the local feed store. Some people are looking for roosters, so that they can hatch our fertilized eggs at home to increase their flock naturally. As distasteful as the topic is, many people will dispatch a young rooster for meat for the family. If that is totally unappealing to you, then you could try to give them away to a family that does this routinely with their own chickens. IF you choose to keep the roos, you can learn to work around them. Remember, they are just doing their job of protecting the hens. I always carry a stick with me when I go into the chicken yard. We have one large rooster and two small ones. The large one tries to challenge us. One thing that has worked for me is carrying the stick and not turning my back on him. I guide him away from me with the stick, if he comes too close. We seem to have worked out an understanding, but he does rush at me when I am exiting the yard. It’s like a show of strength. I guess he has to keep up his tough guy image.
Our second question comes from Kathleen
“I recently bought some apples and I want to learn to dehydrate them for later. I have a dehydrator but I need to know the right way to attack the job.”
I think you will love dehydrating Kathleen. It’s fairly easy and the result are great for storage. Apples smell good while being dehydrated, too. Start by washing the fruit in cool water. Wipe dry and grab the cutting board and slicing knife, and an apple corer. Begin by coring the apples. After I core, I will drop them into a pan of cool water with lemon juice added to keep the apples from browning. Now begin slicing the apples into round slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick. Try to keep your slices uniform in size to make the dehydrating job easier. They will all be done around the same time this way. If some are a lot thicker you will need to keep them in the dehydrator longer. Lay the slices on the trays and set the dehydrator to a medium setting. Some machines have a setting for fruit. It will take quite a few hours to completely dehydrate so don’t rush it. Taking the slices out too soon will lead to moldy fruit later. When finished, the slices should not feel moist at all. The edges of the apple slices may curl up, too. The texture should be rubbery or slightly brittle. Remove the slices from the dehydrator. I usually let them reach room temperature before putting them into storage jars. After putting the slices into jars and closing the lids tightly, you notice condensation, open the jar and return the slices to the dehydrator for further drying.
To rehydrate your apple slices for cooking or eating, soak in a bowl of cold water until the texture has returned to what you like. Dried apple slices are great mixed into a potpourri, too. Hope that helps you with your apple project!
Thanks for joining me for coffee break. If you have anything to comment on or add to my answers, please do, in the comments. IF you have a question for us, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on the facebook page
Ann Marie Mones says
On my road to self sufficiency, I have a long list of skills I need to work on or learn. This year I started canning, but next summer I want to start dehydrating foods too. I have a dehydrator, and a have a vacuum sealer too. My question is: where do you start? What would you suggest for someone new to dehydrating? I grow a huge variety of vegetables, but there are also organic orchards I could visit for fruits too.