Saturday, 28 July 2012

The naked truth and the most delicious joint ever...

Even the most hardened of carnivores might find it hard to be unmoved by the sight of his own pigs hanging by the feet in the abattoir.  This is the first time I've looked at this picture, taken by Ian when he and two fellow pig-sharers went to collect the carcasses for butchering, and in my present mood I don't like it.  Probably just because they still look like pigs rather than a load of joints and sausages.

 Still, a few minutes later they were on their way to Pynes for butchering.
We took home from Pynes a total of 138 kg of meat to be split 7 ways, resulting in a price per kilo of £4.29.  Not bad for the best organic, hand-reared, free-range meat in Somerset!

Tricky - how to divide all the chops, bellies, ribs, shoulders, legs and 3 types of sausages fairly between 7 families.  Thank goodness Nick arrived at that moment to help work it out.

We had a home-grown recipe for sausages - using our own onions, garlic and chives.
Last Sunday I put more effort into cooking dinner than ever before in my life.  Delia's instructions were followed to the letter - even down to the use of thyme, rosemary and garlic from the garden, and rubbing salt into the skin to make proper crackling.

Living the dream.  Sunshine, family, and home-grown food in the dappled shade on the patio - at last!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Job done...

The day had arrived. We were up early to load Bangers, Chops and Bacon into the trailer ready for their final journey.  I had visions of chasing around after three squealing pigs deep in the mud, perhaps slipping over and flailing around while they made a dash for freedom and the wide open spaces........

....... the reality was somewhat more tame (thankfully) though there was an awkward moment when the two pigs that had gone into the trailer finished their food and came out again before the third one could be persuaded up the ramp.  With a bit of perseverance Ian got them all loaded, and with the help of some handy rubber matting managed to get the car and trailer out of the bog that is our field.

Is that a look of reproach do you think?  "I'm disappointed in you, I thought you liked us" etc etc.  But I refuse to feel guilty.  Actually that's the first time they've really looked at me - normally it's heads down, where's the food.

 At the abattoir in Creech it was all very friendly.   They must deal with hundreds of animals every day but our three little pigs were ushered into their pen with all the care and paperwork of booking into a B&B.  The existing residents were a little curious....

Bangers, Chops and Bacon were the first into a clean pen, and had a calm and happy sniff around for any bits of food that might have been left behind.
 Most of the other pigs were asleep - with nothing better to do I suppose - but this little one was no doubt called 'Babe' and would have been speaking in a very melancholy voice if anyone cared to listen.  You can read all sorts of human emotions in the eyes of an animal destined for the pot...
 Even Barney had a wistful moment on the way home

Friday, 13 July 2012


I am feeling sad today.  Both our little chicks died last night :(   boo hoo.   They were so tiny, cute and fluffy and held such promise for the future - small though they were.  One of them, the one that hatched second, was always a bit weak and didn't seem to know how to eat or drink, but the first one was healthy and noisy and had learnt to peck chick-crumb.  We've got no idea why he died - they had the warmth, water, food, everything they needed at that age.  Maybe he just keeled over in sympathy with the other one.  

Perhaps I'll blame ebay - sending eggs through the post - whatever next!  I'm glad to say our next batch were laid on a smallholding in Cornwall and handed gently over to us with kid gloves.  They are happily incubating away in the utility room for the next 18 or so days.  

Very sad.  RIP ben and jerry or whatever you would have been called :(

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Latest arrivals - less than 1 day old....

Only two of the six bantam eggs hatched successfully.  We don't know what breed they are yet - possibly silkies...

on guard!

The next six for hatching..... unusual breed chickens, due on 31st July, given to us on Sunday by some friends.  We're getting into this now!   Hopefully our success rate will be better next time round.