Thursday 27 November 2014

Evacuating the house.......

So why have we evacuated the house?
Has some dire emergency made us leave,
has the recent torrential rains made the river rise to the brim,
and then some more,
thus making us part of the flow of the river?
Nothing so drastic,
although the river is rising,
but has not overflowed yet,
although it is going to,
because the river beach has not been removed by the river men,
which will lend height to the river,
so that it can then heft itself easier on to our land.

Not to worry,
it is the life of a river property,
and we would rather be here by the water,
rather than be somewhere else. 

So why is the house been evacuated?
Well, in truth, it hasn't been,
not really. 
It is just that the 'proper' kitchen has had it's floor redone,
because there were some slightly bumpy bits
in the cement we laid on the floor a while ago.

The actual surface of the cement was flat,
but the joins weren't,
so a liquid compound has been laid on the floor
to even out the surface.
It will take a day or so to dry.
And whispering ever so quietly,
that the floor tiles are going to be laid next week.
We need to get straight.
The temporary kitchen is a bit of an uphill struggle to work in,
oh it would be alright if I was just cooking supermarket food,
but we need a farm kitchen,
because of the amount of produce processing which needs to be done.
Not to worry,
I can manage.

we can't travel through the 'proper' kitchen
to get to our living accommodation,
which is the half barn,
because the doorways to the kitchen have had to be blocked,
so that the floor can dry,
and the dogs can't romp over it. 

So we have to come out of the house 
go long the front of it,
 and in through the doors of the half barn.

Yesterday it tipped down with day long rain.
We all got quite wet doing the mini commute.
Won't be for long, though, 
that is what I kept telling myself as I continually mopped the floors.

And then one of the freezers failed, but it had died a few days before,
only I didn't know that,
but I finally paid attention to my intuition,
which had been guiding me to sort out the freezer for some time.
So I did,
which was a good thing because the meat was saved.
But not in its frozen state,
oh no,
all of it was well on its way to being unthawed,
Not to worry, not much in the freezer anyway,
but it needed to be urgently cooked and processed,
which only added to the unwieldiness of the day.

So we went out to lunch,
and then back for a nap,
and then I practiced my finger exercises on my digital piano,
then I did lots of piano accordion practice,
then I did some YouTube but got bored,
so I did some knitting and patchwork,
all of which were totally unrelated to farm work,
but made me feel better. 
And thus ended my day.

And now it is the morning of the next day,
and it is not raining, so a dry mini commute into the house,
only I thought I ought to be careful as I went in the front door,
just in case one of the dogs had had an 'accident',
but too late,
the thought should have arrived a couple of seconds sooner,
the soft squelch under my foot telling me that this was so.
Ah well,
the day can only get better,
that is what I told myself as I cleaned my shoe off on the grass.

I shall be all day in the temporary kitchen,
so I must fill my head with positive thoughts,
that I am no longer battling away in the camping kitchen of the caravan,
and that the 'proper' kitchen is on its way to getting done,
and that soon I shall have a stove which works,
my current one hardly working at all now,
which means that cooking food takes an age,
and I shall have an oven which has more than one shelf in it.
I shall not mention the sink I don't have....

Actually that's not quite right,
because I do have a sink, but it is still in its box.

The b'rillarde update from the last blog:
All is now sliced and frozen.

Things I have learnt:
- that one does not give a morsel of b'rillarde, (made from head meat)
to one's husband as he wakes up from his night's sleep, and before he has had his tea and toast.
- that perhaps to introduce the morsel later on in the day would have been preferable, once he was more awake.
- that it was not very adult of me to do a flounce and a huff because his enthusiasm towards eating the b'rillarde was not matched by my enthusiasm for having finally finished the task of making it.
- and not to mind that he laid down the challenge that if he had to eat it then so would I.
- that it was good of me not to carry out my threat to give it to the dogs.
- that it is not the taste of the b'rillard, but the thought of where the meat comes from, that is what we need to get past.
- that the several hours of my sulking subsequent to the b'rillard episode was a waste of a couple of hours of my life,

I am now off on my bike ride,
2.5 is now the distance I go,
not sure how far 2.5 is, probably kilometres,
but I am still no wiser because I am still in 'inches, yards, and miles' mode.
Haven't bike ridden for a couple of days because of other things happening,
but feel the stiffness coming upon me,
so need to pedal today.
Now up to 700 rotations of the pedals. 
200 are stretch and bends,
the rest I go as fast as is comfortable to do so.
It is making a difference.
It is worth the effort.

So bye for now,
and thank you for sharing time with me.


Thursday 20 November 2014

Tim's B'rillette

Dawn this morning,
the rising sun turning the hills to rust-red.
It was stunning.

comment posted by Tim
upon my request as to what to do with the pig's head

"Anyone know how to make pâté?
Found a pig's head down the bottom of the freezer,
spent two days slow cooking it,
so that it disintegrated into a mush of meat and bones,
that way one cannot distinguish exactly what bits go where,
which makes the task of sorting everything out easier,
makes me less squeamish.

I have one pot of bones, one pot of meat for the dogs, one pot of meat for us.
Thought I would have a go at making pâté.
Anyone know how to do that?
Or else I can mince the meat up,
and lose it in a pie or something."

And Tim said:

"Get a block of Saindoux [lard] and stir your meat and "shut up and eat it" into the lard...
simmer in the lard for around twenty minutes and season to taste. 
Pull any big lumps of flesh apart with two forks and stir it back in...
hey presto! You have B'rillette...
half way 'twixt Brawn and Rillette.
Use as rillette"  

"Righty-o Tim", I thought,
"will give it a go".
And I have, 
and this is what I did:

From the fridge, I took bowl of chunks of head meat from a cooked pig's head:

Cut / shredded the meat into smaller pieces:
(Boolie pretending he is not interested in the meat related activity going on above his head)

One packet of lard.....

...from which I took a third....

....and that went into a saucepan to melt,
my thoughts being melted fat would be easier to mix with the meat...
Also added two chopped onions, two cloves of garlic, and some spices...

When all softened down, tipped the lard mixture back into head meat,...
and gave it a good mixing...

Another third of lard put into pan and melted,
but over a low heat,
as didn't want a burnt bottom,
which is something I have a tendency to have quite frequently,
because I do have the habit of wandering away from the stove
when I should stay and attend to what is cooking.

So I kept turning over the mixture,
then flattened it to see how much lard there was in proportion to the meat.
I thought that the melted lard should sufficient to almost cover the meat,
but not be enough to drown it. 
When the lard gets cold and sets,
it should glue the meat together,
I think.

The mixture looked on the 'dry' side, 
so I added some more dollops of lard.
I have now used up all the packet of lard.

At fifteen minutes simmering, the bottom was sticking,
so I stopped cooking the mixture. 
Gave it a pat.
Decided not to add any more lard.

Had a nibble on a bit of meat. 
Was as bland as anything,
so in went some allspice, salt, pepper, and mustard,
and then some more.

Then into lined tin...
and done!

It will go into the fridge once it is cooled down.

Two hours later:
Now in fridge.
Not set though.
I think that I should have got the pieces smaller,
and perhaps I should have put the mixture into jars,
rather than a tin.
Not to worry,
all will be revealed in the morning when I get up,
because I am off to bed now.
Clean sheets, electric blanket, and my husband,
all in a heap,
what could be better!

So thanks, Tim, for giving me an idea to experiment with!
Lester will either be having B'rillette on toast for breakfast,
or the dogs will be having B'rillette on dog biscuits,
at least it will not be wasted.

And leaving you with a last look at that stupendous dawn:


Wednesday 19 November 2014

Bonny, cross eyed, and AI'd

Meanwhile, was a wet morning

...and the first of the winter hay supply had to be brought into the courtyard...

..... everyone in for the day, although we let the sheep out,
they don't complain, even in the wet,
neither really do the cows, 
although there is dissent between Bonny and Lissie,
because Lissie is in season,
and needs to mount someone, anyone,
and Bonny being the nearest thing to a bull, well......
but Lester can be a handy target as well, 
especially if he is bending over to pick up her poo prior to milking her.
(he does not like to have squelch beneath his feet when milking)
Apparently the sight of his bent over bottom ignites within her a passion.
But he did not become squashed beneath her amorousness.
As she reared up to get to him, he sidestepped her. 
"Phew! It was close though", he said.
Meanwhile Bonny is keeping clear of Lissie.
The AI (Artificial insemination) man is coming today.

So one of the winter projects is to clear this big bramble hedge.

It was hanging over the fence, taking up almost two metres of land.
I have been working my way along it for the last three weeks,
cutting between 200 - 500 snips of bramble per day with my secateurs.
It is a long job. 
I find the best thing to do with big jobs is to do a little bit each day,
sort of 'nibble' at the task in hand,
making it into bite sized pieces. 
And I count.
One snip, two snips, etc. 
Stops my mind from thinking that it wants to be somewhere else.....

Late morning, and Lester off to get the car MOT'd.
Expecting a big bill, 
But the car passed, 
some work to be done, but not too much.
We shall keep it now, not much point in trading it in.

The AI man came.
Lissie became quite cross eyed as he did his thing, 
but then so would I if I had aplastic covered arm
go entirely into my nether regions.
She took it like a trooper though,
just lowered her head,
and looked slight dazed.

Meanwhile, the rain is making the ground sludgy.
This is the alley between the home paddock of Mum pig and family,
and the veg plot paddocks.
It is very squelchy.
Not to worry,
the mud is not up to Lester's knees yet.

...and he can still just about walk on the paddock.
Not sure how much longer he will be able to do that.
Mum pig and piglets are surely earning their keep,
and already the top layer of grass has mostly been ploughed up
and muddy puddles are appearing.

Well that's all for today.
The sun did come out,
and I did sit out in the sunshine for a while,
doing some knitting,
but really sort of dozing,
which is hard to do when sitting in an upright chair,
the tendency to fall off  during mid doze being quite likely.

Message to self  for 2015
Do buy yourself a sun lounger!


Tuesday 18 November 2014

They're out!

Max complaining.

Because his sow and youngsters were not where he was.
Out on the grass of the paddocks, that is where they were.

And by crikey, those pigs were soon making the ground churned up,
On the left is a bright green paddock,
and that is Max's patch,
but the fences are not finished,
and the gates are not made,
that is why he was in a grump,
because he has to stay in his home paddock for now,
his mood not being helped by Mum pig being in season,
and him not being able to get to her,
even though she flirts with him and says he can.

Two days later, and most of the grass has been eaten,
now they are digging up the roots. 
They are doing a grand job of getting the ground ready for ploughing next spring.

The sheep in the background, and the pigs in the foreground,
with fields all mostly fenced.
And we think..
"How the hell did we manage to do all this!"
Keeping on going, that's how.
But I still do not have the Rayburn wood burning stove in,
and I still do not have a kitchen,
and we still do not have heating in the house,
but not to worry.
the animals come first,
and getting them sorted out has been the priority,
and our own comforts can wait. 

Anyone know how to make pâté?
Found a pig's head down the bottom of the freezer,
spent two days slow cooking it,
so that it disintegrated into a mush of meat and bones,
that way one cannot distinguish exactly what bits go where,
which makes the task of sorting everything out easier,
makes me less squeamish.

I have one pot of bones, one pot of meat for the dogs, one pot of meat for us.
Thought I would have a go at making pâté.
Anyone know how to do that?
Or else I can mince the meat up,
and lose it in a pie or something.

Off to go ride my bike,
by the bed,
and not out on the wet, muddy, and windswept roads outside.

Bye for now,

And a special thanks to Jaana for nudging me into posting a blog.
I have been here, but words in my head have been all gone away,
but today I tried to get them back again,
at the request of Jaana.