Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Moving Onwards

No 21 and the delightful no 12
Was it only Six Months ago since number 12 and Number 21 arrived at Bwthyn-y-Llan? It seems such an age ago now. Both have blossomed into two huge, fine looking pigs, each with a personality and attraction all of their own.......but I have always been mindful that both are now ready for bacon, for sausages and for chops.
I have just got off the phone with a rural butcher. A jovial Chap, full of Welsh chutzpah and good will, he gave me a whistle stop menu of pork cuts,explained the whole process of butchery from culling to table as it were and even offered to pick them up for me, which I have just now agreed to.
I am now just waiting for the phone call, telling me when it is all going to take place.

I feel ok and ever so slightly relieved that I have finally summoned the nerve to finally get the ball rolling, but I know I will find it just a little difficult to look no 21 in the eye a little later today....he's such a sweet natured fellow.........

I feel like a real farmer ( well just a little)

44 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I could. While I was happy to visit out local farm shop, tickle Gloucester old spots behind the ears, then eat their bacon some months later, I'm not sure I could do it if I'd been looking after them.

    Call me an old softie (You're an old softie!) and it's not like I don't know that the only useful pig is a de*d pig and all that, but if it was down to me I'd have to be a vegetarian........

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  2. A friend once gave me some good advice - that if you have to do anything difficult it's only getting started that's the tough part. After that each one is easier. Even so.....

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  3. At least you know that your livestock has pleasant lives prior to consumption....more than most of us I can say.

    Farewell no 12. Farewell no 21.

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  4. Hats off to you John, that would be the hardest bit for me. Still, I do like my bacon and sausages so...

    Will you get all of them back? (so to speak). And how are you going to store the meat - freezer, salted etc.?

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  5. Chris
    The bacon is all packaged up for you.... I am thinking of home curing some ham but need to have another chat about it all.....
    the rest will have to be "farmed" out with family for storage
    hey ho

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  6. I think I probably could have done without the whistle tour of the various cuts of meat, but I suppose at least you know where it comes from, how the pigs have lived and what they've been fed on. That's more than most of us do!

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  7. Try this book if you can get a copy John.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/River-Cottage-Meat-Book/dp/0340826355

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  8. We take ours to a local farm for slaughter and preparation...can't say i enjoy it, but at least I am sure it's as quick and humane as it can be.

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  9. A farmer near me had some pigs ready for butchering, and the 'whistle stop tour' was actually quite helpful when deciding on what cuts would work best for my household.

    I told the farmer there's no such thing as too much bacon in my world, so i got loads of it. I got a few small roasts, which works very well in small household, some chops, a number of ham steaks, and a couple of shanks, which made for wonderful soup.

    Other households with more family members would probably find larger roasts better and some people absolutely love ribs.

    Same farmer now has an older cow ready, and we just had a similar conversation yesterday about what cuts to have.

    John, you've provided a wonderful home for these swine. You feed and care for them, and then they feed you, helping you to care for yourself.

    megan

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  10. I think if push comes to shove I don't know if I could go ahead with it.

    Gill in Canada

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  11. They had a good life at your place, much better than a giant commercial set up. You took good care of them and are seeing to a decent ending for them. Where you know I am a vegetarian, I understand most people are not (its everyone own call) But as one, I truly appreciate when the effort is made to raise animals with care and then see to the end with care as well.
    I think you certainly can call yourself a farmer :O), look at all your livestock and your garden!

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  12. JG, Chris has steered you to a good book, a copy of which is on my bookshelf here in Africa. HFW is brilliant if a little barking. But go and buy the video of his, 'A Pig in a Day'.

    You absolutely must try home curing a ham.

    Come on lad, you looked after them, now do them justice.

    Otherwise in all future posts of mine I shall stop referring to you as the Welsh St Francis of Assisi and instead hurl every insult at you the verdant minds of the Monty Python crew shared with us. So go and buy the book and video now you stupid Englishman before I spit on you and fetch the Vache.

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  13. and I bet #21 will taste like a TEN!! You are a brave one. I can't imagine the time for us to do these things.

    Lana

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  14. Such a difficult task to do. This is the way of the world though, and man is a carnivore. Must admit that I do love a good pork chop.

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  15. You're very sensible about this. I'd become a vegetarian....although the thought of a bacon sandwich...

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  16. I think there is nothing more respectful than raising your own food. Every time you cook that pork roast or bacon slice, you will give thanks to the honourable pig.

    And yes, do get HFW's River Cottage Meat Book...it's fabulous.

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  17. I think you are very brave John. Youve done a good job with them. I "butchered" my 1st pigeon a couple of months ago (as a result of a drunken conversation with a gamekeeper!) and it took some doing! How times have changed though, at one time in my village, everyone kept a pig to kill. xx

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  18. Oh bloody hell John, I was going to have some sausages for my tea and you've put me right off the idea know!!! I know I couldn't do it. My Dad told me a story of the duck he had as a 'pet' when he was a boy. He called it Donald (as you do) it got very tame and even came into the house. His Nan decided that it was to be Christmas lunch one year and did the deed. My poor Dad was beside himself. Donald was dished up for dinner but no one could bring themselves to eat him! Sue x

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  19. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!

    HeatherVonSJ[at]gmail[dot]com

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  20. John you will be a blubbering wreck when it comes to it, you're so soft hearted xx

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  21. I'll be honest and tell you that I didn't think you would go through with it in the end John...but you did good. Yes...you should feel like a real farmer now. I'm proud of you ;)
    Maura :)

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  22. Get a .22 - it's much better to do it yourself.

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  23. I am bereft! that lovely little stripey porker is no more? I would have paid good folding money for that piggie, had I realised it was for the pot:(((

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  24. Funnily enough I was thinking about your pigs this afternoon. Now I know why...

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  25. Eek, this is all too much for a squeamish vegetarian like myself....

    Save the piggies!

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  26. Are they both going to the butcher John? I can taste that wonderful bacon just thinking about it.

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  27. only me
    they have not gone yet

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  28. I KNOW I couldn't do this! And I am not judging anybody that could. Yes, I eat meat but I know my limits.

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  29. I know exactly how you feel John. Last year we reared my cockerels from chicks - shut them in to fatten them - the farmer killed and dressed them - I put them in the freezer. One day I took the first one out, defrosted it, cooked it, put it on the table and couldn't eat it - it turned to sawdust in my mouth and we had to give all four of them away!

    This year we are rearing four more and I a determined to be sensible.

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  30. Oh, btw, I meant a proper .22 - not an air rifle. That WOULD be cruel.

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  31. So we'll know tomorrow if you're bringing home the bacon....or not. How did you happen upon pigs with reversable numbers? I've been meaning to ask.

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  32. there was 28 piglets in 2 litters.. we were just lucky to get no 12 and no 21

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  33. Jacqueline, agreed! I give thanks before every meal, and with the half pig i got, i thanked the pig each time, too.

    I forgot to add on my first comment that the place that did the butchering also smoked some of the meat. I had some cuts smoked and some not (when asked, i said 'surprise me'), and the smoked bits were simply wonderful. Perhaps the butcher provides such a service, John, or knows someone who does? And i dare say, neighbours like Auntie Glad probably know a thing or two about curing meats. Asking them probably would give you all kinds of info.

    megan

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  34. You gave them a good life, they will give you more than a few good meals.

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  35. Farmers are a rare breed - they need to care for their animals but they also need to remain dispassionate and aloof 'cos they know what is coming.

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  36. I could never......not ever.....

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  37. Holding your hand from here.

    Lady Gaga and Alejandro are now at the forever farm. Luckily I did not have to make the order. We traded Alejandro for a much needed trailer. So he will feed another family. Lady Gaga will feed us.

    Your farmer friend,
    Crow
    xxxx

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  38. Will the donor be receiving a chop or two?

    We used to do the whole pig preserving business, the ham and bacon are the easy bits. It might be worth your while to build a simple smoker too, if you intend doing this on a regular basis. A whole belly can be turned into the most delicious bacon within about 8 days.

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  39. Kill The Pig! Slit His Throat! - "Lord of the Flies"

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  40. Kill The Pig! Slit His Throat! - "Lord of the Flies"

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  41. Three cheers for the 'real farmer' but forever know that these girls have led a wonderful life grubbing about on your land. What pig could ask for more? :)

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  42. I couldn't do it myself... Good you didn't give them real names, as opposed to numbers. I can just imagine sitting down to your chops one night and howling, "Arnold!"

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  43. I suspect "Yorkshire Pudding" would make a fine farmer! :), Me not so much...

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  44. I'm so glad I didn't miss this post!
    It sounds as if you have a great butcher to 'hold your hand' through the process, so that's nice.
    This is the important bit, John, your chance to show respect to the pigs you have lovingly reared.
    You will so love the taste of your own Pork!
    Hope all goes well for you all. Mo

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