Earlier this year, we purchased some Cornish Cross chickens with a friend (note: those are not Cornish Cross in the image above!)
These are large chickens that are grown for their meat that grow to full size in 10 weeks–half the time of a bird raised for eggs. The birds are very large; females can grow up to 6 pounds and males can be 8 to 10 pounds! We’ve had these chickens at our friend’s house, who has a huge area for chickens, so the chickens I’ve been caring for are both their existing chickens as well our combined Cornish Cross birds. They have a set up for butchering and plucking as well, so we will be learning how to butcher chickens, and once we come home I will be cutting up chickens to put in the freezer. In addition, we have more birds to butcher (another friend gave 3 old hens to me last week, as she is moving out of state). I will label those 3 differently, since they will be tough and are best for soup (if you have any suggestions on cooking older birds, please share!)
The birds were on sale locally for $1 each. The cost for the birds and their feed came from our grocery budget. The feed was bought on sale.
Our hope is to butcher the birds this week, but the date is not up to us. In the meantime, we are eating from the freezer to make room for these birds.
Here’s what I would like to get done this week:


1. Cut out and sew a vintage style frame purse. Last week I decided on a great tutorial on making my own pattern. I made the pattern last week. I still need to decide what fabric I want to use for the lining.
2. Work on wedding gift for my brother
3. Finish make the hot pads that I started for myself a year and a half ago 
1. Watch a free Creative Live class on food photography by two of my favorite food photographers
2. Butcher chickens with a friend (the date is up to our friend). Technically my husband will be butchering and I will be plucking.
1. Harvest the rest of the chamomile. Pull plants after cutting the flower heads.
2. Cut more oregano and hang it to dry
3. Collect seeds from some items in the garden that have gone to seed
4. Pick apricots
5. Pick plums

6. Pick tomatoes

7. Pot chaste tree seedling to give to a friend
1. Clean refrigerators (I didn’t get to these last week)
Cooking and Canning:
1. Can pickled beets (also didn’t happen last week)
2. Cut up and freeze chickens
3. Make meals from freezer ingredients
4. Can plum sauce
5. Can apricot vanilla jam (if the family doesn’t eat all of the fresh apricots!)
1. Take photos and write one blog post

2. Write a second blog post

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  1. I don’t have a working pressure canner. I have my mother-in-law’s very old one, but it does not work properly. The gauge is extremely inaccurate and the rubber seal is worn out. So, I do not plan on canning any.

  2. Yes, exactly! Older birds make great meat for enchiladas or pot pies. And then you can still use the bones for stock after. Very rich tasting.

  3. Be prepared for the smell butchering chickens is nasty but rewarding work. We also skin. Its not near as smelly and messy as plucking them. Your husband’s got the easier tast assignment I think.

  4. lol Amy, when I read Brandy’s post I thought the same thing, that her husband has the easy part. We skin, but have helped friends pluck and it is harder. Many years ago Carla Emery had a tester board at Homesteading Today where some of us were testing ideas and recipes for her newest edition. She unfortunately died unexpectedly before the project was completed. Someone had submitted an idea about butchering which we tried. When you catch the chicken, hold it by its feet and start spinning it around and around. After a few minutes the chicken is in a daze. Lay it on the chopping block and chop its head off, let it bleed out and then prepare as you choose. Place in a tub of icy salt water for about 1/2 hour and then freeze. We tried this and the meat was very tender, even from older roosters. The person who submitted the idea said the chicken was relaxed so the muscles did not tighten! I don’t know if that is scientifically proven, but it worked for us. ymmv~

  5. As usual, it sounds like you’ll have a very full week! Interesting to hear about your chickens.For me, gardening has now progressed from the planting phase into the weeding phase. So many weeds this time of year. In addition, we have a huge wood pile to move, need to work on laying pavers for a walkway, and clear a spot for fall bulb planting and laying river rock.Indoors, I’ve been sorting through cupboards and closets, taking 2 or 3 spots per week. In the process, I’ve been making lists of what we have in multiples, and what we’ll be needing in coming months.I’m also putting together some things to bring to my father-in-law on Father’s Day later this month. I’ve been baking and freezing cookies, to have an assortment to package up. And I’ll be making some of his favorite strawberry-rhubarb jam, hopefully later this week. Rhubarb is in abundance right now, and I’ll be sweetening and drying to use as dried fruit later on.Good luck with your goals!

  6. Mom always said they dipped their birds into boiling water so the feathers would come out easier, then took a small flame to burn the pin feathers off.

  7. Crock pot is your best friend when it comes to older hens and roosters. We shred up the meat and use in casseroles, enchiladas, lasagnas, tacos, pot pies, Caesar salads, cold salads, etc. you get the point. We cook it up first then shred and freeze in one cup portions. Makes it a lot easier when cooking.

  8. Let us know how it goes with the chickens. Growing up we raised them. It brings back memories of all us kids to be chasing each other around with the chicken feet.I have a short goal list this week to make sure I get everything done: Soak and cook 1 pound each of black beans, lentils, and navy beans and freeze in small portions.Soak and work on getting out some deodorant stains from some summer shirts so I can wear them this summer – or rotate them into my gardening junk clothes if they don’t come out spotless.Finish unburying the condensate line from our A/C that my son was able to find (the house inspector and A/C guy could never find it!) and fix it up with a landscaper’s ring and some pea gravel so it doesn’t get buried again and drains away from the house.Work 8 hours overtime.Make a loaf of hard rye bread for SO.Weed and spread mulch. That is the list for during the week. On the weekend I want to finish cleaning the paint off the window frames (from prior owner’s paint jobs) and start caulking and sealing the windows that need it and make sure all windows open easily. I also need to finish up the last little bit of drainage work so the patio drains away from the house. My son did 99.5% of it but ran out of time so I have a few little details to finish up. Those are a priority since the afternoon torrential rains have started.

  9. I like to can the older chickens. It is really easy to do, and the meat is really soft. I prefer to do it with the bones in, the flavor is that much better.

  10. I have no trouble replacing the rubber rings on my pressure cooker. Pressure canners should also have parts available. Look for a parts list on the manufacturer’s web site. I can get mine at a local hardware store.

  11. Hi there Brandy, just a quick question if I may…where do you get your beautiful pictures from like these hens? I love the pen and ink look….I’ll be back later to read and comment more. For now it’s just a quick browse catchup as I’ve been away caring and supporting family interstate , or I think you call it out of state in USAAlexa from Sydney, Australiahttp://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

  12. The Graphics Fairy blog! She has all sorts of beautiful free images. There are other sites out there as well that have free images but this one is the one I use the most.We call it out of state.

  13. The Graphics Fairy is also my most used site for antique images for my greeting cards. She has her images well organized by category and posts at least once a day. She is wonderful!

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