Monday, May 6, 2013

Processing Mayhem!

So, each processing day starts with me crawling out of bed at 4AM to go light the scalder, so we can be ready to roll by 8AM. I must be getting old, that used to be 3AM, so we could start at 7AM. But instead of killing ourselves, I give us a little time to make breakfast, and feed all our animals before we start. Once we start, we don't stop till it's done.

For anyone who wonders why I won't process their 2 or 6 or 10 birds on just any day, this is why. There better be a darn good reason to wake me up at 4AM to light a scalder. 10 birds isnt enough of a reason, but 50 sure is!

Usually it takes a little patience at 4AM, you need to give some time for the gas lines to prime, and some time for the pilot light to warm the thermocouple. I did all that, several times, and realized there was a problem. The pilot light would not stay lit. Uh oh.

Woke up hubby, we tried a butane torch to see if we could get everything to warm up and stay lit. No luck. He crawled back into bed, after we dumped the tank, flipped it over and messed around with the air intake and some other stuff on the bottom.

I went to google. I found the owner's manual for the scalder, nothing on there was new to me, nor did it make me think I did anything wrong. Google some more. I discovered a video of a guy replacing the thermocouple on his furnace, because the pilot light wouldn't stay lit. Boy, it looked just like mine!

At 6AM, I was at Home Depot. Sleepy and in my jammies still, someone had to point me to the thermocouples. Longest theyt had was 36".  I tried to measure the darn thing, really should have gotten my sewing measuring tape, and I wasn't sure 36" was enough, but it was close...

No cigar. I tried to install it, and it just didn't make it. Couldn't stretch it or force it. Now I had to wait - other stores didn't open until 8AM, so I made a list.  At 8:02, I started making calls. By 8:30 I finally found a plumbing supply store that had one that was 60" long. Too long was OK, so I hustled into town to grab it.

Back home and had it installed by 9:15ish. It didn't work right away, so hubby came and took a look. I didn't quite have one end tightened down enough (it said finger tight plus a quarter turn, but I guess that depends on the fingers)

Got it lit and rolling by 9:30.

4 hour wait let us get started at 1:30, pretty much when we were hoping to be DONE for the day. Sigh.  In those 4 hours, I got my mint planted, ran some irrigation, picked some spinach, weeded the greenhouse, played with my kid, ate some breakfast and lunch, watched hubby play tanks...  then we got down to business.

WE didn't get them all done, stopped at a reasonable time, since I was tired from being up so long. We finished the rest on Sunday, plus 5 roosters, 1 turkey and 3 guineas.  I am processing other birds on May 17, and I'll try to catch more roosters, more guineas, and probably another turkey. This is not how processing days are supposed to go. But thankful to get the spare parts and get all our birds done this weekend. The next batch of babies are in the brooder, we'll get them processed by the end of June.