Friday, 19 December 2014

Dearest Smeggy......

Just wanted to share with you this: that I have a cooker now working. No, not the Rayburn, but the SMEG which has stood in the hallway, still in its cardboard box, for months. Now it is working. It has lots of rings, several ovens, is cream, clean, and sparkly. It will not stay that way for long, not once I start using it.

But first I have to read the instructions, and overcome my terror of it. I know I am being silly, but ............ Apparently two ovens are fan assisted, but you can have half a fan, bottom fan, all fan, etc..... All I want is to switch the SMEG on, not have to worry about what bit of the fan to have on as well.

It would seem that I am being ungrateful for this step forward in the saga of me getting a 'proper' kitchen, and please believe me when I say that I am as pleased as anything to have a decent cooker to cook with. The old calor gas one has been slowly failing, with only three of the four rings working and even they do not work to their full capacity, making the cooking of food a slow and arduous job. I have, on occasion, felt like flinging the thing out of the door.

But now it is me and SMEGgy, learning how to get along with each other, our first engagement being cheese on toast this evening. And oh what a treat is to have a grill, and one that lights up too!

Now, the reason why I chose Smeggy was because it has sufficient gas rings to cook various things at the same the pot of dog food, the pot of pig food, the kettle, our dinner, the pressure cooker, etc...... It also has two ovens ( I did not know about the third until just a few minutes ago, and I did not know they were fan assisted either until just now) which will be handy when I cook for guests. But more that anything, the SMEG chose me, just like the kitchen kept on about wanting green floor tiles.

So what happened was this: I liked a friend's cooker, and saw the same cooker in a local electrical shop, but could not justify the expense of buying it at the time. Months passed, and still the cooker stayed on display. Then on one particular day I had an urge to go and have a proper look at it, thinking that soon it would become old stock and perhaps even become out of stock. So I took at look at it, and was dismayed to find that the quality of the cooker was not very good, and then my feet started walking down the rows of other cookers on display, and then they suddenly stopped in front of the SMEG, and without any proper look at it, quite clearly 'This is the one' came into my head. So we bought it, but without not really knowing exactly what the cooker could do.

Not to worry, I shall start exploring its potential tomorrow, I have to, because the old cooker has now been sent to its eternal rest, bless it.

And Lissie is with calf, being a week overdue, but Bonny was done again by the nice AI (artificial insemination) man.We have dispatched two male piglets, one more go go. It is still mild here but damp. It is surprising just how much mud can be made just by it being damp.

And I have got a proper cooker! Wahooooo!

So am off to read the instruction manual, and then have a trot around YouTube to see if anyone has posted anything up about the SMEG which might help me understand how to use it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The piglets, and more bacon.....

And another slab of pork turned into DIY bacon,

It might not look like the shop bought bacon,
but it tastes far better.
The meat was wet brined for five days
(salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves)
then firmed up in the freezer so I could cut it into slices.
It is the best bacon I have made so far,
and had inspired me to have a go at making ham.

Today we start on the long task of getting the male piglets into the freezer.
We have tried to keep them separated,
but piglets being piglets,
well, we did not win that battle.

But since we were going to 'do' them in January,
we are only a month early,
and they have had a gloriously mucky time out in the paddocks,
so we feel that they have had a good life,
albeit a not very long one.

Upon observation of the rear end of the males yesterday,
I noticed that the bottom of  the testicles,
which are clearly visible on a pig,
not underneath and hidden
but slap bang on the lower part of their rear end,
that the testicles on one of the male piglets
was filling up. 
This is not good.
It means that he is becoming sexually active.

I also noticed that the little minny on one of the girls piglets
was looking pert. 
It means that she is also moving into sexual maturity.

And another thing:
The voices of all the piglets have broken,
like teenage boys do when they reach a certain age,
from high pitch to low pitch,
that is what has happened to all the pigs, except one,
but even then the normal ear splitting squeal of that one has deepened.
The loss of the squeal is a good thing though,
it was driving Lester nuts as he prepared their food trays,
but now they grunt, which is much better,
although does signify the advancing maturity of them all.

So yesterday we decided that, come rain or shine,
we would start the slaughtering of the males.
And then we have the four goats to do.
And a sheep or two.
It is now the time of the meat harvest,
which is the emotionally hardest of all the various harvests we have here.
But it has to be done.
It is the cycle of life.

That's all for today, folks.
The day is moving on and we have lots to do.
Hope you have a good day,
and sending blessings to you all.


Friday, 12 December 2014

The bed kept calling me back to itself today.....

My bed kept calling me back to itself today,
twice it did so,
and twice I answered its call.
Anyway, it was a lot warmer in bed,
what with the electric blanket being switched on,
so I was roasty and toasty and snug.
But on the whole it was day of not a lot happening,
except that we had a family pow wow about the kitchen units,
with Himself deciding that he was going to make them himself,
then deciding he wasn't going to,
then deciding he was.
So nothing much happened today,
even lunch was recycled five day old soup.
First day: carrot, stock cubes, DIY cream, sweetcorn, and celery.
Second day: to the leftovers of the previous day was added a tin of tomatoes, some DIY lardons,
more stock cubes, and the rest of the sweetcorn.
Third day: to the leftovers was added the remainder lunch, which was potatoes cooked in farm milk, added to which was lots of garlic, the remainder of  a Heinz tomato ketchup bottle and a jar of DIY tomato soup.
Fourth day: remainder added to DIY pork meatloaf (from the freezer), together with a slice of DIY pig's head rillard (also from freezer) to form a rather tasty mush, which was added to rice.
Fifth day: remainder fried up again, eggs added to make egg fried rice and leftover soupy pork mush.
It was very yummy.
The soup is now all gone,
and I miss having the pot of soup on the go,
carrying it forward from one day to the next.
It made a fast lunch,
and I could slide all manner of things from the pantry into it.
Tomorrow I shall start another one off,
and I must also rescue the slab of belly of pork which has been soaking in brine all week.
And now the trees are dropping their leaves
we can see the snow capped Pyrenees mountains in the distance:
Saying bye for now,