Chicken Pluckin’

May 5th, 2012

Disclaimer: This post is graphic. It talks about killing and processing animals. Pictures are included. If that offends you or makes you sick, you might want to skip this post. I eat meat and would rather know what I am eating and how it was processed when given the opportunity.

Two happy cluckers
Lots of room to roam.

Our friend Robert's chickens have tons of room to run at Taranchulla Flats

We spent November in southeastern Colorado on our dear friend Robert’s property. From there, we drove up to Pueblo where we met up with some more wonderful friends – Jeremy, Stephanie and their two boys. We joined them at A Wren’s Nest Farm to partake in the CSA’s chicken harvest. We had only met them once before, at a mutual friend’s multi-day birthday party. That was almost three years ago. We had been communicating on facebook ever since. Once we were in there area of Colorado, we knew we had to meet up. The only problem was where? A chicken harvest at their CSA, duh! I can’t think of a better place.

I had recently harvested a chicken who had died due to misadventure. It met its demise during transport to my friend’s property. My friend was going to bury it, because he didn’t feel it was suitable for consumption. After some reading, I mostly agreed. The drive was only 1hr in near freezing temperatures and the bird was kept cold over night. However, the was bird was never bled and sat overnight full of blood. Not something that humans are accustomed to eating. At that point, I believed that it was still suitable for the dogs…. and I wanted to try my hand at harvesting. So after a couple of hours, it was plucked, gutted and butchered. I did it but knew that there had to be a faster way.  Unfortunately, no one on the property had ever owned or processed a chicken before and there were thirty more of them that would eventually need to be. That’s why I was so excited when we got the offer to attend the harvest at A Wren’s Nest Farm.

Processing Chickens involves a few simple but messy steps.

Step One: Raise said chicken. The folks at The Wren’s Nest did an excellent job of that – happy, healthy chickens!

Hen and Chicks at a Wren's Nest Farm


Hen and Chicks at a Wren's Nest Farm - Photographer: Paul Alhadef

Paul Alhadef: Photographer and farmer -Artisic and Quirky Photos- Take a look. You’ll love them!

Step Two: Kill the chickens. Our method of attack required one person to hold the chicken across a stump and the other to lop its head off with an axe. Both of these positions required a plastic apron or old, dark clothes. The axe-person had to swing sure and true. The holder had to control the chicken afterwards so that it wouldn’t break it’s wings during its final death throws and hold it upside down to drain it of blood.

Step Three: Dunk and pluck. If you scald them in hot water (~130F), it makes plucking a whole lot easier.

Chicken Harvest at A Wren's Nest Farm

Stephanie gets as OCD about plucking as I do - Photos by: A Wren's Nest Farm

Step Four: Gut and cut. The bolt cutters worked a lot better than my little ol’ knife. The feet make great ear rings. Gutting isn’t too bad. There is a technique to it that I haven’t quite mastered. I just make sure to get it all out without breaking anything.

Jeremy and Tammy cut'n and gut'n

Tammy and Jeremy really get into their work

Now there’s nothing left to do except cook and enjoy the bird. Jeremy and Stephanie unexpectedly gave up part of their share so that we could have a bird of our own. Too nice of them! We were just happy to hang with them and to be able to partake in the experience. Thanks to them, we were able to enjoy the bounty as well. We don’t have an oven, so even though this beautiful chicken would have been an awesome roast, we ended up boiling it. I didn’t take any pictures of the dumplings that we made with it so a picture of Rain enjoying a raw wing off of it will have to do.

Cooking and eating the chicken we harvested

Cook and enjoy - Rain Likes hers raw

If you are ever passing through Pueblo, CO, you just have to stop in and visit their farm. You may remember me mentioning it on facebook. It’s where I got my wool and learned to spin with a drop spindle. The farm has many farm fresh and homemade products for sale. It is also run by some of the nicest people we have ever met. So stop by and see a beautiful, sustainable farm in an unexpected place.

A Wren's Nest Farm

Slab City or bust!

April 6th, 2009

Internut - Slab City Library

After we left Quartzsite, our next ‘destination’ was Slab City, just outside of Niland, CA. First though, we really had to do some shopping before I broke into the emergency can of baked beans. So, we hit Brawley, which is about twenty miles south of the Slabs. As long as we were in town, Jenn wanted to get some work done on the freecampsites website, so we endured horribly slow internet for a night, under the assumption that we’d have no internet at all once we hit Slab City.

Go figure. Slab City had the best EVDO connection we’d seen since we left Phoenix. In fact, it’s so good they have an internut connection in the lending library. Speaking of the library, I was really impressed with the selection of books available and found my share very quickly. I rather wish I’d spent more time in the library as I could have dug around for a few gems instead of grabbing the first half dozen titles that looked interesting.

Continue Reading »

Vicksburg

February 11th, 2009

ms_Vicksburg1.jpg

During our trip down the Natchez Trace, we took a daytrip a bit west towards Vicksburg. Jenn and I are both into museums and historic attractions, but neither of us is all that into the nuts and bolts of particular battles. So, why would we go to Vicksburg, where you spend several hours driving around the battlefield and reading about the intricate details of the battle including the number of casualties at each battery of guns? Well, mostly because we have an America the Beautiful pass and hate to pass up a chance to get into something for free that might entertain us for the day.

The military park really is a pretty drive and not a bad way to spend the day. However, after the first six or eight miles, I think we were both pretty well bored with the dry descriptions of troop movements and casualty counts. Don’t get me wrong, this era of our history is very important and shouldn’t be discounted, but I really had a hard time reading similar descriptions repeatedly, none of which you could really sink your teeth into except perhaps the description of tunneling into earthworks in order to blow them up, which is something I thought had died out a few hundred years earlier. This same area had the wonderfully colorful description of a slave who was ‘blown to freedom’ when a mine was touched off below him.

Continue Reading »

Work Camping

November 19th, 2008

Jenn & Caverns of Sonora

Below is a list of websites and services that connect workers with organizations, many of which provide camping arrangements. This is my personal “note pad” where I add sites that I come across. I decided to share it. I hope it is helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment linking to a site we have not covered. Comments on this page will be moderated.

Hop to Camp HostingWork at Parks, Resorts, and MoreVolunteerWork Camping Classified ListsOther ways to make money (Self Employment)Additional Resources

Reference Material
Books about Work Camping @ our Amazon store.

 

– Camp Hosting –

These companies hire camp hosts directly. The jobs pay you for your hours worked in addition to providing you with a camp site.

  • American Land and Leisureview listings
    American Land & Leisure has been in the business for 20 years, and currently maintains more campgrounds on Federal lands than any other concessionaire in the United States, with contracts for over 400 National Forest, Pacific Gas & Electric and other private campgrounds from California to West Virginia. The company has set the standard for caring for customers and providing well kept and clean facilities at a fair price.
  • California Land Managementview listings
    CLM Services does business in four western states (California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada) under the names California Land Management and Northwest Land Management. The company currently operates campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities for a wide variety of public agencies – including the US Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Inyo County (CA), Washington State Parks, and the Cities of Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto (in the San Francisco Bay Area).
  • Corp of Engineers view listings
    The Army Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters at Corps water resources projects. Its Natural Resources Management mission is to manage and conserve those natural resources, consistent with the ecosystem management principles, while providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations.
  • HOODOOmore info
    Paid and unpaid positions in the Deschutes(OR), Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie(WA), and Willamette(OR) National Forests.
  • KOA Work Kamper Programcontact
    With 460 KOA locations, possibilities abound. Every year, our KOA Work Kamper program offers hundreds of job opportunities across our network of KOA Kampgrounds. For those who love the RV camping life, it’s simply a win/win opportunity. KOA owners always need seasonal help. And if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, you can make a short-term commitment and earn pay while you stay.
  • Northwest Park Managementview listings
    NPM operates twenty five campgrounds under Special Use Permit with the U.S. Forest Service throughout the Plumas National Forest. The camping season runs from April to October and our employees work from four to six months during this time.
  • Recreation Resource Managementcontact
    Recreation Resource Management was founded in 1988 to provide local, state, and federal government with an alternative for managing public recreational facilities. For nearly 15 years, we have partnered with government organizations to provide quality services and environmental stewardship while increasing the net return to government. RRM administers over 175 properties in 12 states for various government bodies. At the peak of the summer season, we have over 700 employees overseen by nearly 50 highly experienced operations managers.
  • Rocky Mountain Recreationmore info
    CA,CO, & NV. Each year we fill many seasonal positions and while most of our available positions are for campground hosts, we also hire customer service officers, interpretive personnel, maintenance supervisors/ personnel, kiosk operators, store operators, landscape personnel, and day use area custodians. Some year-round positions are available, though most employees will work shortly before the Memorial Day holiday through briefly after the Labor Day holiday.
  • Scenic Canyons Recreational Servicesmore info
    They manage Forest Service-owned facilities under special-use permits from the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Boise National Forest and the Montpelier Ranger District in Idaho, and the Logan Ranger District and Dixie National Forest in Utah.
  • Thousand Trailsview listings
    Thousand Trails is the largest private system of RV camping and outdoor preserves in America. Our properties are known as preserves because we strive to protect the nature and beauty of the natural environment.

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– Parks, Resorts and More –

Employers that hire directly. These are paying Jobs that also provide housing. The jobs listed here could be anything from camp hosting to wine steward or even jeep water guide. Many might want you to work at least 40hrs a week.

  • Adventurelandmore info
    Altoona, Iowa. Adventureland Park’s Work & Camp Program provides discounted camping in addition to our regular wages for employees that work throughout our park season. During weekend operations – late April to mid May and late August to late September: Work at least one shift/day. During full-time daily operations – mid May to late August: Work 4 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours/day for 5-6 days/week. Pay: $6.50 – $7.00/hour. You may expect to be scheduled up to 32 hours/week. All of positions require you to be on your feet. They include: Rides Operations, Retail Operations, Food Service Operations, and Games Operations.
  • AGS (Affinity Guest Services Inc.)more info
    Sales positions introducing AGS designed Websites, Guest Services Guide and custom designed marketing materials to campground owners. This is a commission based position. Assignments are given to you. You will be an independent contractor. Individual jobs take about two weeks. You are expected to complete 12-15 assignments per year.
  • Amazon Warehousemore info
    Locations in Kansas, Kentucky, and Nevada. All hours are paid for. Pay is usually between $9hr and $13/hr. Potential to get up to 60hrs a week during the Christmas peak. Hours over 40 are time and a half. They also pay for your campsite and, depending on the location, utilities. Bonuses and extra goodies may be provided as well as a discount on items ordered off Amazon.com. All three locations get snow and below freezing temps during peak. You are not guaranteed any hours. Although no previous experience is necessary, these are temporary warehouse positions in a fast-paced industrial environment that may be physically challenging. All positions require you to be on your feet most of the shift and require some bending, lifting, stooping and squatting. Some positions require the ability to climb stairs 30% of the time, and all positions require the use of a hand-held scanner. Email: seasonal-camper@amazon.com
  • Aramarkview listings
    Positions in National Parks and Resorts. Work campers are needed for a variety of positions, including: Camp Host, Campground Retail, Camp Cook, Front Desk Agent, Tour Sales Agent, Retail Sales Agent Food, Cooks & Beverage Cashiers. Housing and campsites are available for a small fee.
  • Be A Security Guard
    The following companies hire RVers to provide guard services at oil fields and construction sites. Your job will be to sit at a gated compound and check vehicles in and out. Pay is usually around $100/day. Normally, you have to provide a 24/7 presence. A generator is commonly provided. Sites last at least 30 days and can go much longer. You will most likely be hired as an independent contractor and will receive a 1099.
    Time Keepers
    Gate Guard Services, L.P.
  • Delaware North Companies Parks & Resortsview listings
    The concessionaire at Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks. Opportunities in hospitality, food service, gaming or the other exciting industries. Campsites are not always provided.
  • Dollywoodmore infoLocated in Pigeon Forge, TN. Work Campers can begin as early as March. peak season is generally June, July and August. Campsites are not provided.
  • Hang Christmas Decorationsmore info
    Every year, workers are needed to hang decorations in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area. This is a seasonal job, from mid October – January. Hourly pay of $7-12 and overtime after 40hrs. This is a physically demanding job. You will climb ladders, sit in a cherry picker, and possibly walk on roofs. Campsites are not provided, but there are campgrounds close by that charge very reasonable rates. Phone: 865-769-0039
  • Sugar Beet Harvestmore info
    Eastern Montana. RV/Campers should arrive to assigned area the last week of September. Potential to make $1000/week. Positions require workers to be on their feet the duration of the shift. Shifts run 7 days a week in 12 hour shifts, weather permitting. All positions are classified as light industrial. It is very noisy, dusty, and cold. Temps will be in the 30″s and 40″s with a strong possibility of snow.
    The Sugar Beet Harvest ground operation is generally comprised of three main roles:
    Helper and Sample Taker: Collects beet samples and assists Pile Operator in cleaning. Helper will also communicate with drivers to ensure safe and accurate unloading of trucks.
    Pile Operator: Maneuvers pile control switches, orchestrates repair work and supervises and assists in the clean up of daily operations.
    Skidsteer Operator: Operates skidsteer. Must be able to lift 50lbs.
  • Xanterraview listings
    Seasonal work in National Parks, State Parks, and resorts.

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– Volunteer –

  • Bureau of Land Managementview listings
    BLM volunteers enjoy work that matches their interests and schedules. Some volunteers serve part-time and others enjoy a seasonal or full-time position. 261 million acres- are managed by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), making the BLM manager of the nation’s largest land trust. The public lands administered by the BLM range from saguaro cactus desert to Douglas fir tundra. Overall, these lands, located primarily in the Western part of the United States, comprise nearly one-eighth of our nation’s land area. The BLM’s mission is to help sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of these public lands so they can be used and enjoyed by both present and future generations.
  • Grow Foodview listings
    World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a cultural exchange. We gather a list of sustainable farms, projects, and organizations that invite volunteers to help out. People interested in experiencing a sustainable lifestyle use our list to make contact with hosts and setup visits. Hosts and volunteers work out the details of their own arrangements.
  • National Park Serviceview listings
    Most people know that the National Park Service cares for national parks, a network of nearly 400 natural, cultural and recreational sites across the nation. The treasures in this system – the first of its kind in the world –have been set aside by the American people to preserve, protect, and share, the legacies of this land.
  • Passport in Timeview listings
    Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the USDA Forest Service (FS). PIT volunteers work with professional FS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, survey, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. The FS professional staff of archaeologists and historians will be your hosts, guides, and co-workers.
  • USA Freedom Corpsview listings
    Find existing volunteer service opportunities in their area. This search-friendly database includes over 4 million volunteer opportunities from organizations across the country. Forestry, first aid, and much more. I have the best luck by putting campsite as the search term. BLM, Forestry, FEMA, etc.

Hop to Camp HostingWork at Parks, Resorts, and MoreVolunteerWork Camping Classified ListsOther ways to make money (Self Employment)Additional Resources

 

– Work Camping Classified Lists –

Businesses looking for employees submit ads to these sites. You will find the ads to be varied. Some might be host camper positions while others might be working with the circus as a teacher.

  • Workamping Jobsmore info
    THE CARETAKER GAZETTE is a unique newsletter containing property caretaking and house sitting jobs, advice, and information for property caretakers, housesitters, and landowners. Published since 1983, it’s the only publication in the world dedicated to the property caretaking field. A $29.95/year subscription fee is charged in order to see listings.
  • Coolworksview listings
    Cool Works is about you finding a seasonal job or career in some of the greatest places on Earth. Get a summer job in Yellowstone, Yosemite, or another national park. Find a summer job as a camp counselor. Ski resorts, ranches, theme parks, tour companies and more are waiting for you.
  • RV Park Storeview listings
    RV Park, Campground, and Resort Help Wanted/Employment Listings. Updated a couple times a month.
  • Workamper Newscontact
    Started in 1986, it is the most used commercial workamping service. Print and electronic bi-monthly magazine. Access to new job openings daily. They have a forum and will email you new listings.
  • Workers On Wheelsview listings
    Work for RVers and Campers is the Workers On Wheels website for RV workers and campground workers, with job and RV home business info, including paid employment and volunteer workamper positions.
  • Workamping Jobsview listings
    Free listings for employers. No charge to view the ads either.
  • Working Couplesmore info
    A job board where employers who are seeking to hire a couple as a team post their listings.

Hop to Camp HostingWork at Parks, Resorts, and MoreVolunteerWork Camping Classified ListsOther ways to make money (Self Employment)Additional Resources

 

– Other ways to make money –
(AKA Self Employment)

  • Freelancing
    Whether you are a writer, a web developer, a software engineer, a photographer, or possess a number of other skills, you can find a way to make money freelancing. The sites below connect you to people who want to pay you to sit in the comfort of your motorhome and do what you do best.

    iFreelance.com – Get access to 1000’s of buyers in need of your professional services. Advertise to buyers, bid on projects, and earn money doing what you love to do. Commission-Free!
    Associated Content – $1.50 per 1 000 views.
    Helium – pays per click as well as giving you upfront payments per article depending on your rating there.
    Triond – pay per 1000 clicks.
    Freelance Writing Gigs.com – Employers place their needs here.

    Hire a World of Talent at Elance

  • Affiliate Programs
    Make money connecting people to the sites they want to go.

    Ebay – The eBay Affiliate Program pays Internet publishers, Web masters, online partners, and eBay sellers to drive new users and sales to eBay. Affiliates promote eBay with banners, text links, and other innovative tools, such as the Editor’s Kit and the Flexible Destination Tool. In return, they receive commissions for driving new, active users as well as winning bids and “Buy It Now” purchases. Currently, the top 25 affiliates in the program average above $100,000 in monthly commissions.

  • Sell Your Designs
    Cafe Press – Create and sell your own clothing, mouse pads, coffee cups, etc..

Hop to Camp HostingWork at Parks, Resorts, and MoreVolunteerWork Camping Classified ListsOther ways to make money (Self Employment)Additional Resources

 

– Additional Resources –

Books about Work Camping @ our Amazon store.
Learn How To Earn An Income Anywhere! -> Need inspiration? Meet Jim And Rene: debt-free travellers working from wherever they go since 2007.
RV.net’s Work Camping Forum
Escapee’s Work Camping Forum
IRV2’s Work Camping Forum
Work Camping News Articles on rv-coach.com
Seasonal Job Boards on Google Directory