Archive for December, 2009

It’s all snow!

Once again I haven’t written for a while and loads of things have happened so I hope I can remember everything. It’s been a bit hetic!

The shed is now beautifully plastered inside thanks to Edd and really looks like a building rather than a shed. Chris has been hard at work doing the wiring as well so it won’t be long till we are fully functional. Toilet and kitchen will be going in at the start of the new year. It’s going to be great to be able to make a cup of tea and sit and survey the land.

We took the first 3 pigs to the abbatoir a couple of weeks ago.  It was the part of the process that I was dreading. It has always been part of the point of having the pigs and a real test of my meat eating ways. When the day arrived it was cold but the sun was shinning. The pigs really didn’t want to get into the trailer and it took us a while to round up the ones we were taking and get the ones we weren’t taking back out again. The field was very muddy as it has been raining for so long so it was quite funny watching Tony and Chris slipping about trying to persuade them to go into the trailer. It was really important that the pigs didn’t get stressed out during this process so we took our time and their love of food won out in the end and they got in without fuss.  We then had to slapmark them. The slapmarking tool is an evil looking thing. Chris managed to do it though and the pigs didn’t even look up from their snacks.

The abbatoir itself wasn’t nice but the people working there were very helpful and made a horrible experience as good as it could be. The pigs were taken out of the trailer into the courtyard and then herded into a building where they were given an electric shock and then hung up. Once hung there throats were cut and the blood drained. We were able to watch this and it was all very calm and very quick. There was a lot of blood and it was quite grim. It was the first time I had ever seen an animal die and it was quite horrible but good to know my pigs had a happy life and that their death was as painless and stress free as possible.

The morning after I felt quite sad but didn’t have time to wallow in it. The pigs had to be collected and taken to the butcher. Even though our pigs were black and white once they have been cleaned and dehaired they are pink  which made it a bit easier. They didn’t look quite so much like the piglets I had been feeding all this time.

Tony’s brother in law Pete is a butcher and he had agreed to butcher our pigs and gave me a bit of a lesson at the same time. It was fasinating and I learnt a lot about the cuts of meat and the process of butchery. I was quite proud that both the abbatoir and Pete said that our pigs had a good level of fat 🙂

Once the butchery was done we had loads of meat! We shared it out  and this Christmas we will be feasting on Gammon and Roast Pork. We have been making pate, brawn, sausages and all sorts of stuff. It really does make you think about about using all of the animal. Wasting any seems rude and it’s not a bad lesson for everyone to learn I think.

We decided that we would get those piglets from Paula so we now have 10 new babies at Allotmore. They are multicoloured this time, we even have a ginger pig. They arrived last weekend and seem to have settled in after causing chaos to start with, chewing up the electric fence and running all over the place.

We have Lizzie back now as well – Percy had stopped harrassing her so we hope that she is pregnant and in March we will have our very own babies. We will just have to wait and see.

We have started the next section of fencing. We discovered that using a post hole auger makes life way easier – maybe I will be able to get people to help in the future again now. Last time it was so hard they seemed put off. All the posts are in so we just need to finish it off but that is likely to be in the new year now.

We have a new Pig Ark as well. Tony and Pete went off on adventure and came back with quite a splendid ark,  the only problem is that it weighs a tonne! Maybe we do need that tractor after all Father Christmas 🙂

Wood Farm is looking very pretty at the moment in the snow but I am a little worried about the pigs. The piglets have a heat lamp which they are sleeping under and they all pile on top of each other but they do shiver a bit when they come out to eat.  Lizzie smashed up her heat lamp so now I am making sure they all have loads of straw and lots of food. They seem fine, i’m sure they don’t feel the cold as much as me and I am just being silly. Our main problem is making sure they all have water as it keeps freezing. we’ll just have to keep breaking the ice I guess and think of summer 🙂

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