Monday 27 February 2017

Processing The Pork Stage 1

Yesterday we got stuck into processing the first half of the pig,
Meat weight in total of the carcass is 34kg roughly 75lb
we are happy with that weight and the meat is very lean.
 I didn't want chops this time round, it has all been put into joints
 We have kept the back leg intact.
 Martin bought himself a butchers block it makes it easier having an area to do the butchering, that case on top is a set of butchers knives and saws we bought just after moving here.
First up was turning the two loin cuts into back bacon, I had to make up another batch of brown sugar
 Molasses and white sugar mixed together
 It does darken up over time, as you can see the two different batches sitting in the scales

 The sugar is mixed with salt of equal weight, chopped bay leaves mixed herbs and seasonings divided into 5 portions
the first portion is rubbed into the loins all over, they are covered and put in the fridge, next day the liquid is poured off and the process is repeated with the next portion, you continue like this for 5 days, then the loins are washed wrapped in muslin and hung up to air dry for about 7-14 days, it is sliced in rashers ready to be cooked.
 Next up was that leg, I want to have a go at turning it into a Spanish Serrano Ham, this entailed a bit of research, the joint was salted all over
 everything I read said about putting the salted joint into a press or weighting it with about 30kg, weighting it was going to be difficult as it needs to be kept on a slope to drain, we didn't have time to make a press, then Martin had an idea, we sandwiched the joint between sheets of wood covered in plastic
 we cut some plastic sheeting from a feed bag
 then ratchet straps were used to press the meat
 using the straps were a brilliant idea
 It is now standing in the utility room with a tray to drain into
 It has to stay like this for 10 days, then the salt gets brushed off and it will be air dried for at least 6 months.
To air dry you have to have low humidity and the air has to circulate around it while keeping it cool, low humidity is very difficult in the UK, another lot of research and I ordered a wine cooler unit, it seems this will be ideal it arrives on Thursday, something we can use for many things.
Grandson has been in charge of doing the bacon, as he goes home tomorrow I have packed one of the loins for him to take back along with enough cure for the next three days, some muslin and string for the next stage, he can continue making some bacon for the family at home, another skill he can pass on to the others. 
later this week I will make some sausages from all the trimmings, the other joints and ribs are now in the freezer.
Next week end we will do the rest of the pig, there is another ham I want to try. 

Saturday 25 February 2017

Preparing Home Raised Meat

Yesterday we popped over for a quick visit to Bovey Belle, she has a really interesting home full of lots of interesting things and she kindly gave me this to take home.
Its a beautiful big heavy stoneware pot, I haven't decided what to store in yet but will.
We have one of our grandsons here at the moment, he has been doing some helping out.
Friday it was time for the first of the pigs to be slaughtered.
Martin brought the pig over to a side barn were she would stay overnight in a pen.
Next morning Martin did the deed using a captive bolt stun gun and bleeding, grandson chose not to be involved in that part which was fine with us, I don't believe in pushing people to participate in things they don't feel comfortable with.
My job was providing lots of boiling water
 Pigs have a lot of hair and this has to be removed, pour on boiling water and then scrape is the method we used
 Grandson got involved in this part

 The dogs were also on hand to help

After it was de-haired, the carcass was gutted and left to hang for a couple of days
The ears were cleaned up for the dogs 

 Grandson scrubbed them cut in to strips and then roasted them in the oven.
The next stage is were all the work starts, all the packing and preparing of the meat, bacon's and sausages to be done.
I know this post is not to everyone's liking but it is our way of life, we raise our animals providing them with food shelter and giving them a good quality of life, the slaughter is quick and done very quietly so no stressed out animals, we do respect our livestock.
I will do a post on the butchering next.


Friday 24 February 2017

Where Did It Go?

The week has just flown by, cant believe its Friday already,
Thank you for all comments regarding Tess
She has settled in well, our only problem we have is as well as having limited vision she is also deaf, no response to bangs or whistles she doesn't hear a thing, but her nose works fine.
 She cant do voice commands so we have to touch her nose then she will follow us providing we keep our hand in front of her face.
 She can be let off her harness in the field as it is enclosed she has investigated the chickens with her nose
 Sol is feeling a little left out at times but he is fine with her.
 She enjoyed a bit of rough and tumble with Martin
 When out walking we have to keep her harnessed at all times
 But the tail is still wagging and she seems happy in herself.
We do have a problem getting her to move if she is in the wrong place as she cant seem to turn herself round and when she lays down and we need her to go out for her business last thing at night she cant hear us call and we have to lift her to her feet to get moving, or lift her out when she gets stuck, 39kg is no easy to lift from the floor.
Yesterday I was out nearly all day 
Dentist first thing in the morning
Then at lunch time I was meeting some of the ladies off the sewing group for lunch.
Storm Doris blew through lots of debris was blown about, I came across a tree across the road just up from us, Martin went and cleared it with our grandson who is with us for a few days, we lost a couple of the old animal shelters, blown to bits one they have managed to repair the other has had it.
Martin and Grandson have been busy with something else but I will update on that tomorrow.
I hope everyone  has fared the storm and is OK.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Sol Gets A New Sister

Yesterday Sol and me went on a special day out over to Barry in the Vale Of Glamorgan, the past week I have been doing paperwork, interview and home check to adopt a rescue dog.
yesterday was our meet and greet to see if Sol and his new sister would get on and of course to see if she took to me. She was in a foster home rather than in kennels
 Here she is
 There was lots of sniffing circling each other and tail wagging
 After introductions were over they both lay down and did what dogs do best, sleep and snore.
 I then got to name her, meet Tess
 and home with us she came
 Tess is finding it all a bit strange but keeps wagging that tail
 Not got the idea of lying in a comfy bed.
Now let me tell you the story of Tess.
She is approx 10 years old and is a rescue ex breeder from a puppy farm, she has spent her whole life living in a cage were she would eat sleep toilet and churn out puppies to line some-ones pockets,
She had never been out side to run on grass, feel the rain snow or sun, we don't know how many litters of puppies she has had but her condition says a lot, she has pressure sores on her legs and scarring on her neck were it is assuming at some point she was tied up and fitted with a spiked collar, her hair will never re-grow in that area. Her legs are fairly weak and she is about 12kg overweight.
She has never lived in a house so its all very new, as is the big outdoors. She has been spayed, had her vaccinations worm and flea treatment before being adopted, she has never played or had a bed to sleep in and her sight is starting to go, but that tail never stops wagging, she has had no training so doesn't understand the basic commands like sit or come, she has a lot to learn on her new journey in life. 
We adopted her through
They have nearly 300 dogs of all ages waiting to be homed from puppies to oldies, most of there dogs are rescued from puppy farms, when you see puppies advertised on social media and selling sites on the internet the chances are those are from puppy farms and every pup that is bought is enabling the cruelty to continue, authorised puppy breeders don't use them platforms to sell from. 
If you are thinking of getting a puppy please get one through a charity that has rescued one and don't line the pockets of puppy farm breeders.
Sol and Tess have both come to us to retire both from very very different backgrounds but there needs are the same, food, shelter a safe place to call home, the opportunity to be dogs run and play, we hope they will both continue to have lots of adventures in there retirement. Sol will help her adapt to this new life I hope.
Today Tess is going to have a tour of the smallholding, meet all the residents and later on we will try a walk in the woods. A very busy full on day for this old lady.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Just Shovelling and Planting

Just a few jobs done yesterday 
I have been shifting  the contents of compost bin 1 into the poly tunnel 
 This is were the peas are going, once I have the border finished this week I can get a structure in place for them to climb up then get the peas in.
In the cut flower beds
 I got fifty lily bulbs planted, the next bed will be dahlias I am going to get them started in pots first, then the far end bed will be gladioli 
I got some seeds on the go for collards and kale they are to be planted out in the area that the pigs are turning over they will be grown on for animal feed.
Another bit of news, the doves have been at it again.
They have been sitting on eggs since Friday, lets hope this time they get it right and have a success.
The daylight hours are getting longer, I am moving evening feeds back by half an hour, it wont be long before the clocks change, then there feeds will move with the clocks giving a longer day to get chores done.
Sol and me are out on a special trip today I will update on that in my next post. πŸ˜€πŸ•

Sunday 19 February 2017

Normality Resumes

Visitors went home yesterday,
Now back to normal and peace and quiet once again falls over the ranch again.
We had a trip to beach on Saturday 
 digging holes and making sandcastles

 Sol was his element

 A bit of rock climbing
 back home again and little one had fun with a empty box
 My daughter wanted me show her how to make Scottish Tablet, something from my childhood and hers, she had tried but it never came out right. 
As it happened I had the ingredients in 
We got started

 and it came out perfect
 They had a box of it to take home with them, I will pop a link over on the recipe page made with butter, condensed milk and sugar its not one for those watching there weight.
There is a few things going on this week, tomorrow Sol and me are making are special trip out will post about it later.
Martin wasn't home this week end work commitments but he will be home on Wednesday night and bringing and teenage grandchild with him.
I hope to have lots of good things to share with you this week. πŸ˜€

Friday 17 February 2017

Little People

Its that time of year when the little people come to visit
 My eldest is here at the moment and has brought with her some of the grandchildren, some of hers and one from my youngest daughter.
Its just been time for 
 Tree climbing πŸ˜›
Puddle Jumping πŸ™Œ
 Tree planting πŸ’
 Animal feeds πŸπŸ”πŸ–πŸΎ
 Wellies a must for everyone πŸ’¦
 spreading wood chips
 many hands make light work πŸ’ͺ
 we got half the fruit cage done then run out of wood chips
walks in the wood  πŸ”
 for everyoneπŸ“΅
including SolπŸ•
last night the girls were trying out yoga😁
followed  by a  late night walk in the dark across the fields, I took them out all armed with torches as they were convinced there was something lurking nasty that was going to attack them hiding in the dark, standing in the far field I even got them to turn there torches off so they could enjoy the night time and see there was nothing there that was going to eat them, although the owl hooting raised a few shrieks. πŸ’€
Normal service to resume when they go home on Sunday πŸ˜ƒ