NOTE: This post contains images of animals that were hunted, killed, and consumed. Viewer Take Note…
As I said in the previous post, I took the Farm Manager position at Halve Ewe Herd in South Carolina. It was an unexpected change of plans, but we have learned to roll with those in the past couple of years. This farm, at around 1,000 acres, quickly turned into a vast area to explore and experience for our whole family. The swamp seemed to be calling to all of us, the peaceful sound of birds and other wildlife at the edge of the swamp is very relaxing. Here are a few pictures from another spring that feeds the swamp. These pictures were taken very early one morning, the fog hanging over the swamp gave it an erie cold feel. I tried to imagine soldiers during the Civil War filling their canteens in these springs, as well as the workers that built the railroad just out of view in the mid 1800’s.
After working in the gardens for a few days, we came to realize one of the reasons our crops were not growing very well happened to be a very healthy population of wild rabbits. A ride on the Kubota just after dusk revealed the massive herd we were dealing with. I decided to build a rabbit trap using some of the materials we recovered from the old tenant house we demolished. This trap worked pretty good, but we never managed to catch a rabbit in it. My old 12 gauge shotgun was a much more effective tool, and Thomas the chef made some great rabbit dishes. We also found a great spot looking out over the swamp from the railroad tracks to watch the sunset.
A few days into the month, we had our 2nd ice storm. This storm came with much more ice and damage than the first, our power was out for almost a week. Our summer in Oregon without electricity brought out the Dutch Oven skills, so we ate in style despite the power shortage. The ice was beautiful, but very destructive. The Live Oak and Magnolia trees, that keep their leaves all winter, were hit very hard.
The previous included the beginning stages of the rabbit chalet I started to build from wood salvaged from the house demolition. Here are the girls painting the roof (covered by tin that was removed from the house) and doing a good job of it.
The wild rabbits mentioned earlier put me in hunting mode, here are the first two I managed to bag. I also utilized the “on farm” bird dog, and scored a couple woodcocks (not on the same day). These critters were utilized to the best of my ability, the rabbits were made into rabbit salad (think chicken salad) by Chef Thomas. He made an awesome dish with the woodcocks too. The skins of the rabbits were saved to be tanned at a later date, and the feathers from the birds were saved to be used by the girls in craft and jewelry making. The cuts of meat I managed to use from the birds were the breasts (dark meat), livers, hearts, and leg quarters.
The farm prides itself on impacting the environment in a positive way. The land is home to a huge variety of wildlife, and they are nurtured by the intentional planting of wildlife feed plots. The feed plots are providing food for deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrel, various birds, and wild hogs. In turn, the property is peppered by various tree stands that are used by hunters both living on the property and family friends. The deer sausage that filled the freezer at the farm house was a great perk for working there. The girls helped me replace some bad boards on the ladder of this tree stand, they had to be the first to check it out.
Come back to check out what we managed to get into during the month of March on the farm…