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.



Ohiofarmgirl said...

wow that is beautiful bacon! excellent work!!! have you tried hanging cured bacons for pancetta? it is my favorite. good luck with all your pig harvest. i'm eager to know if you are doing them all at once or one/two per day? we have to get our pigs done but it is supposed to rain again this weekend. i think we will end up working in the garage.

Vera said...

OFG, we haven't air cured bacon yet. mostly because Lester is worried that the flies and rats might get to the bacons!

We have three males to slaughter, and did our first today, and will butcher him tomorrow, so we are taking two days over processing them, no matter what the weather! It did rain today, but we carried on......rather than skin the pigs, we scrape the hair off the skin which requires gallons of boiling hot water, and does take time.

The male pigs are not very large though, coming in at about 20 kgs once head and innards are removed. We shall leave the four girls until they are much bigger, as they are the ones which should produce our bacon.

So, OFG, we shall both be busy at the weekend, so hope it does not rain for both our sakes. Will be thinking of you. Vx

Vera said...

Horst in Edmonton said...

The bacon looks wonderful, wish I lived near you then I would come and buy a piece from you just to try it out. Wish you well over the next few days. Have a great pig harvest. :-)

Vera said...

Horst, bless you, I would willingly donate some rashers of bacon for you to try out!

rosaria williams said...

Now, that's being close to nature, for sure! After all that hard work, I'm glad the resulting meat tastes better than ever. Happy holidays to you and yours.

northsider dave said...

The emotional meat harvest must be very difficult for you both Vera. We always have heavy hearts when we send our livestock to slaughter. Yet we know we gave them a good life and we know where our food comes from. Your bacon looks wonderful.

Vera said...

Rosaria, and wishing you a Happy Christmas, and happy and prosperous New Year.

Northsider Dave, it is good to know that we are not alone in our feelings about raising animals for our own meat supply. Thanks.

Anne Wilson said...

Do you do your own slaughtering Vera ? We would have liked to but were told that it is illegal to slaughter on your own farm, things seem different in France.
We air cure after the dry cure, we have a spare bathroom tilled the ideal place to do it, I made muslin bags to cover the bacon just to make sure no flies could do damage, then we smoked the bacon and a friendly small local shop sliced it for us on their bacon slicer. It's delicious.

Vera said...

Hello Anne, and thanks for stopping by. We slaughter all our own animals, which we are allowed to do providing we eat the meat ourselves and do not sell it on.

I found that dry curing made the bacon too salty so I wet cure, but once the cure is done I cool the piece of bacon in the freezer until it is firm, which makes it easier to slice, then I freeze the individual slices on a tray, then bag them up. My husband is not fussed with leaving hams or bacons out in the air because of flies, rats, and mice!