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Quote of the Day: Manny Howard

August 18th, 2013

The Farm will remove me from the consumer loop. The locavore’s dilemma is that, for all this thoughtful action, he’s still a consumer. The Farm will put me one step deeper, make me the producer. Once food is tied to work and not money, even -worst case- its scarcity will teach the family something.

Manny Howard from My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm

Yesterday was the day for a few of our broiler chickens to become food.  It could certainly be easier and cheaper to buy chickens from a local farmer already processed and ready for the oven, but we choose to do this for ourselves.  We also slaughter them ourselves, right here.  It would only cost me a few dollars to have a local processor do this task for me, but then I’d have to drive the birds to their location.  I also wouldn’t be able to retain the feathers, blood and some of the offal.  It also gives me the ability to know exactly how the animal lives and dies, if I’m going to eat meat, I want to make sure it’s raised responsibly.
Chicken Slaughter 1
We also like to raise and slaughter them ourselves because we can use the entire animal.  While they’re growing they mow our grass and provide valuable manure for our soil.  When slaughtered, the feathers get composted as do some of the entrails.   The blood also makes a great addition to the compost pile, or you can dilute it and water plants with it as it’s full of nitrogen.
Chicken Slaughter 2
Our neighbor brought up his old rooster for us to process as well, he wanted someone to get some use out him.  He will sustain the resident Chiots for a few days.
Chicken Slaughter 3
Another reason we do things like this for ourselves is because it teaches us what’s involved in making our food.  It’s very true that the more you have to work for your food, the less of it you will waste and the more you appreciate your food.  Not a feather from these birds will go to waste.

Has growing your own food made you appreciate more and waste less? 

17 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Manny Howard”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on August 18, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I’ve been growing my own meat chickens, turkeys and rabbits for a few years. I think all the work that goes into raising the animal does make me more cognizant of potential waste. I don’t compost the entrails, feathers and pelts because my dogs would dig them out of the pile. I usually have the birds processed in Albion because I hate plucking but I’ve been known to skin a few roos when the processor isn’t set up for chickens.

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  2. Joan on August 18, 2013 at 7:18 am

    We’ve always tried to minimize waste, but I can’t say that in general growing our own food has made us waste less. Anything we don’t eat goes to the chickens or into the compost pile to rot down and become food for my garden.

    I have to admit that I’m not happy if my family wastes any of the heavy-work veggies that that I grow, for example shell peas, which I only freeze a few of because the shelling is so much work for so little gain. These don’t go to waste if I have any say!

    Normally though, I get a lot more upset if they waste purchased food, because the environmental costs of shipping food here from the west coast or wherever are high. Since we are vegetarians nothing is dying to become waste – when we ate meat not a scrap of it ever went to waste. I think it is great that you are processing your own chickens Susy, so that every last bit of them is used for something!

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  3. BJ Kopishke on August 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Is the dead chicken you’re holding George too? Thanks for taking him for us…I have already named our replacement rooster Dover, the capital of Delaware.

    Reply to BJ Kopishke's comment

    • Susy on August 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

      It’s not George, that was one of George’s sons.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Nebraska Dave on August 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Susy, everything that I grow is either consumed by me or given away or composted. I haven’t swung into full time storage just yet. Freezing is some what unpredictable as the power goes off quite frequently and canning usually takes place on the hottest days. I am researching the idea of storage without processing such as you are doing with your onions.

    Have a great harvest storage day.

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  5. Robin on August 18, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I have an appreciation for animals and meat, and especially for life, that I didn’t have before we started raising animals for meat. Nothing goes to waste right down to bones and offal. Bones are used in broth. Offal feeds wildlife.

    Reply to Robin's comment

  6. DebbieB on August 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Excellent example of the circle of life, and respect for the animals who feed us.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  7. Maybelline on August 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I simply couldn’t do that.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  8. kristin @ going country on August 18, 2013 at 11:35 am


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  9. tj on August 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    …Bravo Susy! You’re doing what I some day hope to do. I know I would have to buck-up and put on my big girl panties to do what you’re doing but to know that your livestock was raised and slaughtered correctly and humanely brings peace of mind to the table and so much more.

    …Have a great day you two!

    …Peace & blessings. :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  10. Ann on August 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Today, for the first time, we harvested rabbits. Just 2 which was enough to get our feet wet. We did struggle with the emotions involved, but in the end we managed to make it swift and merciful. We raised them well, and wasted very little. For now, we are not going to mess with the pelts but probably will later on. We will get 3 meals out of the 2 carcass’es and the dog will get at least 2 meals out of the waste meat we have stewed for her.

    Our focus is so much like yours. To take back control of what goes into our bodies. And to make the life these animals lead be as good as it can be til the time comes for it to be our food. I do wish I could give our rabbits a more natural environment to live in than a cage. The chickens get to free range but the bunnies do not for now. Soon I hope to build a temporary portable cage to put some out each day on the grass to play.

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    • Mr. Chiots on August 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Ann, what method did you use to kill the rabbits? Just curious what your thoughts were on it.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  11. Chris on August 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    You are braver than most and doing it right! Knowing that the animals were allowed to live as they should and were slaughtered with dignity and grace is above all, the most important aspect of home steading and should bring you great pride!
    Thank-you for respecting your livestock as such and allowing no waste, as well!

    Reply to Chris's comment

  12. Trish on August 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I read somewhere (I wish I could remember where) about a woman who collected the unused parts of butchering and made boutique dog food. The hearts and other internal organs and backbones, etc. I thought it was a great idea as other wise these things would go to waste. I would eat the offal, but many people won’t. In fact, a friend whose dad raises grass fed cattle has gifted me 10 pounds of liver from a recent harvest. I would take tongue and heart too given the opportunity. I really have a tremendous respect for someone who raises their own meat and uses all of it.

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  13. Lisa Sewell on August 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Absolutely. I’ll never forget the first time we processed our first “batch” of broilers. It took us all day. It was hard work. It was messy. It was really eye opening. After all the meat was cleaned we made chicken stock from the carcasses. We couldn’t bring ourselves to let them go to waste.

    Reply to Lisa Sewell's comment

  14. Beth on August 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

    So have you tried canning the chickens? Really great for those old tough guys! The uses for this ready-to-go meat are endless.

    Reply to Beth's comment

    • Susy on August 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      I haven’t tried canning the tough old birds, someday when I get a pressure canner I might. I can see how it would be handy to have some ready chicken on hand.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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