Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our Last 2007 Butchering Day.

We're Done!!
Last Saturday we prepared to finish all our butchering- 130 some chickens and 6 turkeys. We had raised half of these birds for the Wissmann family, so they joined us as we butchered. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day- over 60 degrees with abundant sunshine and no wind!! The Lord also blessed us with speed and efficiency-- we started just after 9am and by 1pm, we were all inside enjoying lunch! With the work done, we had several hours for playing sports or visiting! We enjoyed a lovely afternoon with their family and enjoyed our rare chance to get to visit!!

Hannah with Marcus and Charissa!
Holding the birds so they won't break their wings (hopefully!)!!

Elizabeth and Bethany doing some of the final cleaning and washing off.
Mom, Mrs. Wissmann and their Grandma Wissmann finished the birds before they packaged them up.
We had 6 of our original 15 turkeys left, so we butchered them as well.

The younger ones enjoyed a tractor ride!

Cheering us on from the sidelines!!

After lunch, we grouped together for several rousing games of volleyball, then we convinced the Dads to join us for "Speed Volleyball"- quite a workout for those young and old!! :)

And it looks like we finished just in time because today we got our first snowfall!! Around one inch and still falling!! Here comes winter!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

You know it's Fall.....

.......when the Kroekers come to visit!!! For the past few years our dear friends have made two visits every year- one in the Spring and one in the fall!! With Fall fast disapearing, we were delighted when they spent 2 days with us this past week-end!!!

Trampoline time!!

Katy concentrates on her swing!

Kyle taking careful aim as the boys practiced their shooting skills with air guns.

Kaleb and Silas take turns pushing Marcus!
We had thought to spend part of the afternoon listening to the K-State vs. Nebraska football game, but before it was half over, we decided to find something else to do. :) We grouped together to play a game of football, which was entirely more enjoyable then listening to the K-State game.
Team #1!

Team #2!

Karly loved riding trikes with Esther!

And it just wouldn't be a Kroeker visit without a bon-fire!! The Dads gathered some supplies together and after a little coaxing, they worked up a bright, blazing fire. (It was at this point we realized our dear sister forgot to get hot-dogs...Oops! We dispatched a driver to make a run to the nearest store, and they arrived back just in time to keep us from starving.)

The boys made sure we had a good supply of firewood.

Moses and Silas roasting hot-dogs!!

-Tabitha and Kelsey-

Kaleb enjoying a s'more-- mmm!!
Enjoying a yummy brunch Sunday morning-
left to right- Kaleb, Phoebe, Charity, Kelsey, Katy, Moses, Micah and Kyle!!
Sunday morning we enjoyed fellowshipping with the Kroekers in our home- Mark brought the message and we sang some hymns. After brunch we had a couple games of volleyball before we had to say good-bye!! What a blessing to have godly friends!! We Love You, Kroekers!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Birds ready to butcher!!
This fall we raised 300 business birds so we spent three Saturdays in October butchering. The birds were all about 8 1/2 weeks old (usually we only let them go for 6-7 weeks before butchering!) so they were big birds. Usually our average bird weighs about 3 pounds- this fall our average was 4 1/2!!! The biggest bird we ended up was 7 pounds- with a couple 6 pounders too!!
Our first Saturday was rather discouraging-- we were supposed to start at 8am, but is poured elephants and hippos (it was way past cats and dogs!!) during the early morning and on until about 10am. When the rain did let up, we had to move all the equipment out of the car port--there was about 7 inches of standing water where we had set everything up!! When we finally got everything moved to a dryer spot and corralled everybody to start at 11, we had a electrical problem with the make a long story short, we eventually did get started about 2:30, and managed to do almost 70 birds before the day was over.
Our second Saturday was much more successfull- it didn't rain, there were no problems with the scalder and we got 136 birds in the freezer! Plus when everything was cleaned up, we got to watch the Wildcats (our favorite college team!) play a great football game- and win-so all things considered- it was a great day!! :)
Our last Saturday presented a few challenges as we had another round of scalder troubles, but after a few miutes of work, Dad was able to fix the wiring and get us back in running order!! Lydia ran the scalder that day, and we emptied the last pen- butchering our last bird!!

Moses has the dirtiest job of all- removing the heads!!

Seth got home from work early one Saturday and he pitched right in and helped!
Thanks, Seth!!
Micah brings the ready-to-pluck birds to the scalder for Scott.

Scott takes the birds and scalds them before running them through the plucker- truly a life-saver!! We used to be able to butcher about 50 birds in one day when we were hand-plucking. With Scott's plucker we did 135 birds in about 6 hours.

I get them next for the 'fine-tuning'- making sure every little feather has been removed!!
I'm glad for the plucker which makes my job so much faster!!

Esther does the least pleasant job with a smile!!!!
Tabitha finishes the process by doing the final check-over, bagging and wrapping them, then labeling them for the freezer- she's indispensable!!
With all the business birds in the freezer, we only have a few birds left- we'll be butchering the remaining 150 this coming weekend!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

October at the Ulmers!!

For the past two months the postings have been very irregular here on the Ulmer blogspot, but you can look forward to regular posts in these future months- we have a operating computer at last!! Yay!!
For now I'll try to give you a brief glimpse of how our our past month has gone- October was a full month with birthdays, school, butchering, new horses, two week-end trips, and a host of other activities!!
Enjoy these snapshots from our month!!
Uncle Silas and Paul are best buds!!

Esther, Silas, Tabitha and Phoebe enjoy a buggy ride during a festival in Seneca!

One of our laying hens!

Charity with our new dog- Gypsy!!

Silas requested "awfuls" for his birthday-- and no, they have not gained their nick-name because of their taste!!

Silas loves finger jello!!

And his siblings enjoyed looking through the playmobile catalog!! :)

Silas got two little men for his birthday that he holds especially dear. He takes them with him when he takes his nap. One day Mom checked on him while he was asleep and found him 'eating' his beloved man!!

Haylie and Charity on Ginger!!
We were blessed to spend a afternoon and evening with the Meyer and Strahm families- including horse-back-riding, volleyball and a bon-fire!!! We had a wonderful day together with special fellowship!!
Marcus with his Grandpa!!

Phoebe, Cole and Aubrey!

We didn't get a hard freeze until just this past week and we still have some beautiful snap-dragons!!

After we finished butchering the last of the business birds, Charity helped me wash the many feeders and waters!!

Micah helping clean up a mess in the yard!!

Papa gives Phoebe and Paul a tractor ride!!!

Charity practicing her horse-back-riding.

After a blonde-moment filled day, this seemed rather fitting!! :)

Noah and his filly-Honey-she fell asleep leaning up against him!!
This month has brought some significant changes for our hard-working brother!! This summer he worked for two dairys- a total of about 60 hours a week- and he recently felt that the Lord was directing him to resign from both jobs. His last day at both jobs was Saturday, he was sad to leave his employers- both of whom he enjoyed very much, but he is excited to see where the Lord leads him now!! Please keep him in your prayers as he hears from the Lord for further direction in this chapter in his life!

Tabitha gives Phoebe and Silas a ride in our fantastic Daddy-built cart!

With twelve people in our home, we've collected quite a stack of winter clothing-- a coat per person (or maybe two, if they have outside chores during the winter), snow-pants or coveralls, scarves, gloves, stocking hats, boots- the list goes on!! When you add the fact that we have three hunters in the family, you also add a large pile of extra coveralls, insulated hiking boots and plenty of orange gear. It takes several hours to get the nessesary clothing assigned to each person, then it's finding a place to put it all!!

Charity working studiously on her school work!!

Playing trains!!

Charity made beautiful cupcakes for her birthday!!

Some of the last produce from our garden- Noah grows delicious peppers!

Oh-- we love it when Esther makes granola--mmm!!

Tabitha forking some hay for our hungry horses!