Fall Means Hunting Season is Here

Well people fall is here.  The air will be crisp over the eastern US this weekend, and finally I will be able to get in the woods and enjoy some family time.  Hunting season is so much more than just killing animals.  We eat everything we take from Nature.  Also, hunting season is a time for family.  I get to spend time in the woods with my son, brother, father, and friends.  I also get to fill my freezer with meat which mean less money spent on the less than ideal foods available at the grocery store.

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Too Meat Rabbit or Not?

So I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I sell over 1000 chickens a year.  I have one customer.  He buys all my processed chickens, and he buys all my eggs.  It really is a great thing.  I never have to worry about selling the birds I raise.  Every year we revisit price, and start all over again.

Recently he has started asking me about rabbits.  He would like to start buying 15-20 rabbits a month. He would also like ducks too, but I refuse.  I did it one time for him and those suckers tore up my pastures.  Now I know that there is a start up cost to raising the rabbits, but what I cant figure out is what price to set.  It seems rabbit prices in my area are all over the place.  My customer would like to pay a per rabbit price as opposed to a per lb price.

The few farms near me are offering rabbit for $8/lb.  They claim the average weight is 3-3.5lbs.  Well $24 per rabbit seems a little steep to me.  However, I also don’t want to slow the local market.  I do believe in the value of locally grown and pasture raised food.

Anyway, and help anyone could give me would be much appreciated.

Gravely ZT HD-60

So that’s what we got.  It cut my mowing time in half, and is much more heavy duty.  It was not cheap, but should last for many many years.  We decided the 60″ was just smarter since it was only $100 more than the 52″.  We also went with the Kawasaki engine instead of the Kohler.  All in all I think this is going to be the best mower I have ever owned.

Time to get a new mower

So my riding mower finally died. Well not exactly died, but broke again. This brought me to writing this post. You see 4 years ago we started on this homesteading journey. We knew we had to mow about an acre around the house and on occasion about 2 acres of pasture. We didn’t have the money for a tractor, so we opted for a riding mower.

Now we got a great deal on a John Deere LA175 54” cut rider. Don’t let the John Deere name fool you. It is a JD branded mower for sale at Lowes. It is not heavy duty, and in fact is made for residential use only. Well it was 2 years old when we bought it, but it was well maintained. We paid $1000 for it and off we went. I did maintain it very well. I changed oil every 30 hours or so, and also kept it clean. I also replaced the belts every other year as well as the mowing blades. After about 60 hours of use we ran into a problem with the steering. The pinion gear and steering gear were worn out. Well this has become one of the reoccurring issues we deal with. Now not only do we mow with this thing, but we also haul feed as well. We were just stressing out all the components.

We also decided we didn’t need a tractor. I have a close friend with a tractor with all the implements, and I borrow it once or twice a year when I need it. I can’t see spending $10k plus for something I really only need 2 times a year. So we settled on something totally different then I what I am used to using.

We decided on a Gravely Zero Turn HD mower. It has more than enough power to do the menial tasks we will ask it to do. It also is built with a welded tube frame with a welded mower deck. Basically it can handle any mowing we will throw at it. I want to mention that when I say mowing the pasture it may not be what you think. Our pasture is fescue/clover mix and is extremely flat. I am not mowing thick weeds or anything like that. I look forward to using this mower for at least the next 10 years. I suspect that with the level I care I take we may even get 15 years out of this equipment.

Just for the record I don’t endorse or get paid by any of these manufacturers. I simply am sharing my experiences.
Thanks for reading.