THE SIMPLE LIFE ON OUR OZARKS QUAIL FARM

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MISSOURI OZARKS, United States
After I retired I wanted to stay busy on our farm. My almost 30 year career was in the hunting & fishing industry, so raising the birds I had hunted for years was a natural for me. Being married to my best friend, wife & help mate is all I could ask for. My wife of 34 years and I love living on our farm and doing the chores it takes to maintain it. We are living a wonderful slow life in our retirement. Our grand daughter is such joy. Having a big garden to feed us, raising bees for honey, loving our pets and no debt. I feel blessed to have enjoyed this country living and sustaining our family through growing our food and simple ways my whole life. I am happy to see others across this great country deciding to live instead of just collecting more. A less-stress farm life is making us very happy. *******************************************************

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Day With A Friend on the Farm

 I had asked my old friend Mark to come out to the farm yesterday.  We both are just 2 old, eccentric, bib overall wearing country boys.  We decided to to have a bit of breakfast first.  There is a Route 66 diner just a couple miles down the road from the farm that always has rib sticking biscuit and gravy.  We didn't want to have a big breakfast since we knew we were going to fire up my Big Green Egg when we got back.  Granny Debbie had to go to work but she prepared the pheasant feast for the smoker.  My lovely bride is from England and Mark always teases her so she really wanted to stay with the guys, but to bad, your job called first. She did fix an ole recipe from her english granny for Mark to snack on. They are simply called - sausage rolls, but they taste anything but simple. She spoils him even though he constantly threatens to steal her dog, Shadow. We fired the Egg up and when it reached 350 degrees our 2 young 1 1/2# pheasants and a couple ears of last years sweet garden corn landed on the grill.  She wrapped each bird with a strip of our homegrown bacon and stuffed them with our garden onions and a piece of mandarin orange for a sweet flavor.
It takes about 45 minutes for them to finish. We had a seat in front of one of my brooder barns and had a feast for a king. As we stuffed our faces we both just started to laugh. We had just been talking about the shape our country is in and how food prices are skyrocketing and possibly might be shortages.  Finally Mark said - people in the big cities will be looking forward to a meal like this at a fancy restaurant and willing to pay a lot of money for a pheasant dinner and us good ole' country boys are just sitting in front of a barn and flypen full of stinky quail on a pretty fall day like it's no big deal.  Believe us when we say it's not. The big deal was the fellowship of 2 old friends as we shared our past good times and making plans for new adventures as simple Ozark hillbillies. Wouldn't trade it for anything!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Good Weekend on the Farm

It was a good weekend for us on the ole quail farm.  Saturday was a beautiful warm day. Our son Shaun came out and tilled a lot of ground for new blueberries, rasberries and prarie flowers for the bees.  The bees were very active and we noticed they were coming in with their legs loaded with red pollen. Debbie was preparing lunch for her quilt circle.  Shaun's wife Leslie, her sister, mother and another friend are making quilts to donate to the mid wife that delivered our granddaughter Cedar. She does about 50 births a year and many have lots of needs. They thought giving those babies a heritage quilt would be a great ministry of help.  It does me good to see the ladies sewing together and enjoying the country life. While they sewed Shaun & I caught the remaining pheasants and one of my dog training customers came and bought them.  We just have a couple hundred quail left and they are ready to deliver in a couple weeks. I took orders this week for about 1,000 more fall delivery quail. This is so rewarding to live this simple life and fellowship with those that want to take care of themselves and give to others, too. My good friend Mark and I are planning a day sometime this week to fire up the Green Egg smoker and cook some pheasant for lunch. We might even make a short trip down Route 66 for some pics to post on our; MissouriRoute66.blogspot.com. We have been good friends for many years and it's always a lot of laughs we we hang out. Watch for the results of our pheasant feast, hopefully.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Loving the Feel of Spring!!

We are in a stretch of nice winter weather. Going to be in 60's for the week or so forecast.  About all the snow is gone and the wildlife is sensing spring in the Ozarks.  The bluebirds are going in the nest boxes. Seeing robins in good numbers in the fields. What quail we have left are mature and we really aren't doing anything except keeping the big feeders full and water thawed. We are going to start cleaning out the brooder barns soon and getting the incubators cleaned and tested. It's still a couple of months until we get started again, but getting out in the warm weather really makes us desiring spring on the farm. We have planned this years garden area and are going to expand the blueberry, rasberry and strawberry areas. We are going to plant a few apple & peach trees and more grapes. It looks like our bee hives are going to make it through just fine. I don't want to think the worse but with the weekly grocery prices rising and about everything else I want to grow all of our food if we can.  Deb will can, freeze and dehydrate a lot for use later. Plus it seems everyday they report some food preservative is killing us. I grew up living a simple, self sustaining life and right now that sounds good to me again. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Delivered Quail and Pheasants Today

 'Debbie dragging a cage of pheasants from fly pens to delivery van.'

We just delivered a bunch of bobwhites and ringnecks to our friends at Ozarks Mountain Bird Hunts in Yellville, Ark.  before the next big snow.  It is not ideal to catch these birds in a foot of snow in the fly pens.  But my lovely bride did an amazing job and we made the preserve happy. They are still having a lot of bookings for hunts and said it looked good through March.  All of our hunting preserve businesses seem to have had a good year.  I need to figure out some way to keep birds longer in this bad weather. It is easy to lose a lot and not be profitable with what is left. I charged more for them and he understands, at least they didn't have to cancel hunts due to lack of quail. We are booking many birds already for next fall. The quail & pheasant I cooked a couple of days ago was delicious. Think I'll do that again soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let's Eat Some Quail While We Are Snowbound!

With 15" of snow covering everything and I have pretty much gotten all my bookwork and plans for next season up to date I decided to sweep off our Big Green Egg smoker/griller and cook some quail and pheasants. I have a lot of birds in the freezer so after a thaw and adding the coals to the Egg it is now in progress. Can't wait to enjoy shortly. Below is the recipes I used for both. Please feel free to comment on these and share your own.


ROASTED PHEASANT

    * pheasant, quartered
    * 2 carrots, sliced
    * 5 baby red potatoes, quartered
    * 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
    * salt and pepper
    * 2 pinches thyme
    * 1/4 cup chicken broth
   

                                                                                


Add the carrots, potatoes and onion. Sprinkle on the thyme and season to taste wtih salt and pepper.
Add the chicken broth in pan. Place covered in roasting pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes or until meat feels tender.

Quail with Mushrooms



Wipe carefully, inside and out. Then bind each bird with a slice of bacon. Put birds into a buttered pan and baste occasionally while they are roasting. If they are large birds, they will require about 1/2 hour to cook. when they are done, put them into a warmer for 2 minutes while you add 1 tbsp. of butter, a little hot water, and the juice of 1/2 lemon to the fat in the pan, stirring to make gravy. Serve the birds on toast with gravy poured over them; garnish with a wedge of lemon or currant or grape jelly. On the same plate, serve mushrooms as follows:  
Mushrooms
Peel fresh mushrooms and cut the stems free. Put them in a dish with enough melted butter to make them all thoroughly shiney. Add salt and pepper rather generously. Let sit 1 hour and then broil on a grill in time to serve hot with quail.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We Were Spared !! Hey!

We ended up with about a foot of snow.  The fly pens are loaded down, but have not collapsed. I guess we did an exceptional job of supporting them. I think we may have lost a few birds due to depth, but not hundreds.  I am supposed to deliver a few quail and pheasants friday but we can't catch them as of now.  I am just so glad it won't cost a lot of $$ to fix pens. COME ON SPRING!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hoping For the Best !!

The weather folks are predicting up to 15" of snow. We dodged the ice, it went a few miles south of us. Thank God!  Just went outside to check fly pens, barns and birds. Barns are covered but OK. Birds inside barns should be fine, but those outside are under their cover areas and it is being overtaken with snow. Hopefully we can clear an area around their cover for them to escape later. Bad news is the snow is very wet and heavy. We propped up all the pens as best we could, but I don't believe it can handle over a foot of wet snow. They will probably collapse and kill my birds. It could cost thousand to repair the pens. Oh well, part of this business is the weather. We will just suck it up. After I about died from a stroke a few years ago everything else is not much to worry about. Just heard on the news that the Hark Rock casino in Tulsa just had their roof collapse. Sure hope nobody was hurt.