Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Butchering a Sika Deer

Thanks to the generosity of my boss we are in possession of another whole Sika stag. A whole deer is a windfall of quality meat and its always a pleasure to begin the process of butchering and bagging it all up for the freezer and feeds to give away. This one had been hanging in a chiller for 10 days so it doesnt really get any better than that, especially as we have no where we could hang a beast that big for so long, where it wouldnt get unwanted attention for the various pets and pests that are in the naborhood. So it was just a case of butchering into the various cuts and bagged up into meal sized bags.
If you havent done this befor its a bit of a mission but this youtube link is a start to finish look at how to butcher a whole deer into all the right cuts. The quality is pretty bad but he goes through the process slowly and methodically and its adsactaly what you need to know befor embarking on a task like this.
Note there is part 2,3 and 4 to watch as well.

As you can see the deer was shot in the top shoulder  but there wasnt much meat damaged by the bullet. You have to cut away all the damaged meat as it will spoil other meat its in contact with and taints the flavour.

From that to this. I didnt weigh the animal befor I started but these bags of cuts, which only included the bone from the front legs, came to 22kg. The fillet steak is the easiest and most satisfying portion to take along with the loin. The front legs come of easily as well but then theres the task of cutting away the damaged meat from the bullet. I kept them on the bone for roasting joints. Then theres the back legs which have alot of prime rump and sirloin steak cuts. I dont have the butchery skills to get this part done perfectly but its a very satisfying job all the same.

Thanks to the old school mincer Dad found in Dunedin we are also in the business of making mince for burger patties. Theres alot of meat that comes off an animal that cant be used for much more than mincing so if your going to try this then you need a good mincer.

Welcome to our new Chickens

Weve been wanting chickens for a while now but not owning the property was always a problem. Now that we do, we have dedicated a decent area in the back yard for a chicken run.
Using pallets and recycled timbre we have made a good sized coop within an encloser, fenced off with wire fencing.
Ive always thought the portable chicken coops were very small and didnt give the animals enough space to roam. Our run is about 5x8 meters with trees and lots of under growth for the chickens to scratch around in. Ive also been throwing tree and lawn cuttings in there which have become a treasure trove of bugs that the chickens have to scratch around in to prize them out. Its a generous amount of space for three chickens but thats one of the reasons we wanted to do this. In a time where so many house holds eggs are coming from battery farms we wanted to make sure ours were coming from healthy and well looked after birds. The other reason was to convert house hold food scraps into a high ranking source of protein instead of just compost.
Weve had our three Hy-line birds for a few months now and its been one of the best decisions weve ever made. Apart form getting three fresh eggs most days of the week ( some times one of them takes a day off ) they have added a new dimension to our back yard. Its amazing how social they are, infact we have trouble keeping them out of the house, they love to work with us in the garden getting all the newly exposed grubs from the dirt.
In terms of economics they are paying themselves off very well, even with the extra feed we buy them. But what is priceless is the fact that they are a source of protien, on our property that doesnt rely on the energy hungry infrastructure that our nabourhoods are all dependant on 24hours a day. They should be a part of everyones earthquake kit, because the place they usually get their eggs ( the supermarket ) wont be providing much of anything after a decient earthquake.
The most important thing you ned to consider if youve never owned animals befor is that, like any livestock they need t be looked after. They need a clean coop, lots of fresh water and food and space to roam and live a happy life.
So lets stop buying eggs from cage reared birds and get into owning your own chickens. You wont look back.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recycling Computers

Ive got a couple of obsolete desktop computers at home that the recyc ( dump shop ) arnt accepting. But I just clicked on a add for ITRECYCLA in wellington. Click here
They recycle computers for free!
Ill be going there this week.