Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wall Wrecking And A New Fence And Hedge On The Smallholding, Pigs Tucking In And The Polytunnel Gets A Tidy Up.

We pulled down the garden wall on Monday afternoon.  It always stuck out and farm vehicles and lorries always had difficulty getting round it.  The concrete blocks will be broken up and used for hardcore or drain materials.  We replaced the cavity block wall with sheep wire and fence posts and a griselinia hedge.  I grew the hedging from cuttings and we already had the fencing materials.  So it didn't cost anything except for me having a terrible back pain.  Still have it, but we all have our war wounds don't we?  The lawn could do with a mow, but it's never dry enough to cut it.  Thinking of buying a couple of lambs to help with the gardening this year.  Plus it's more meat for us to eat.  There aren't many lawnmowers that you can eat are there?

 The pigs are very nearly ready to go to see the butcher.  They have grown really quick and we will get some weaners in a few week.  I don't know if we keep all the meat but we can always barter some of it.  I don't really like selling farm produce but perhaps we might sell or give some of it?  My grandparents use to (seemed) to eat bacon, cabbage and potatoes for every meal.  We had it for tea last night and it was a case of: "It's not what your body wants, it what it needs."  After a good days working outside, it's the perfect meal.
 We weeded and cleared out any old vegetables and I filled the wooden raised bed with well rotten fym for some early spuds.  Must get my seed potatoes.  Last year we bought them from Aldi because they were cheap.  We also buy our seeds from the two German supermarkets.  Seventy nine cents is very reasonable for a packet of vegetable seeds.  Must buy some big bags of compost to top up trays and for sowing seeds in.
Garlic growing in the metal tractor rims.  Home brew buckets used for carrying fym, homemade compost and weeds.  We gave up on trying to brew our own.  You can buy plenty of Newcy Brown Ale in Bantry these days along with Theakstons Old Peculier sometimes.  Gosh I love English ales, especially from the midlands and up north.
 One of the baths for growing veg in.  It needs topping up with compost and well rotten fym.  We use to keep coal in it when it was in the bathroom.  I am joking.
The last of the Mohicans/ parsnips even.  My lettuces are growing well in plant pots full of bought compost.  They are Lavendar cuttings, growing in the little pots.

22 comments:

  1. Are you going to have a go at doing your own dry cured bacon Dave so much nicer than wet cured and easy to do, I'm sure no.1 son could make something for you to smoke it in if you like smoked bacon.

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    1. We would like to Anne. But we haven't got enough equipment like salting (cool boxes) or the experience. It normally costs us around one hundred Euros for the slaughtering, half pork, half bacon; rashers, joints and sausages. We would save a lot of money if we made our own bacon.

      My grandparents use to kill their own pig and salt it in a barrel. Sounds like it was dry cured. Would really like to smoke our own.

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    2. You don't need fancy equipment Dave, all we use is a plastic box with lid 18X 12 by 9 inches deep, Simon made a wooden trellis type rack to go into the bottom so the meat can drain, we only use the belly to make the bacon. About 50/50 of curing salt to brown sugar we add black pepper to the mix, rub into the pork well making sure the mix goes into all the crevices, turn every day and rub in more mixture for 10 days, rinse well, dry well, rub over the whole thing with white vinegar and hang for 10-14 days, at that stage you can smoke it if you like. The only thing you need is a cool place to keep it while it's curing, a barn will do and somewhere day cool and airy whist it's drying.
      We had never cured bacon until last year, we experimented with some belly that we had bought from the farmers market for around 5 euros. Since then we have done two further lots. It really is so simple to do, you don't need salt petre , just salt, if you can't get the curing salt, sea salt works fine.

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    3. Thanks for the curing advice, Anne. We would save a lot of money (about fifty percent) and we wouldn't be using man made chemicals would we? Can you make bacon from frozen pork? I am going to order The River Cottage Curing And Smoking (Stephen Lamb) tonight. Thanks!

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    4. Yes you can do it with pork that has been frozen. Be careful with the recipes in this book Dave, I haven't checked them all out obviously but one of the recipes is way out on the amount of salt, I will go through the book tomorrow and find out which one was so wrong.

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    5. A fish box would probably be ideal, they wash up on the beach at regular intervals, just need the drain holes plugged.

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    6. Hi Cumbrian. Yes I know the ones you mean. I grow vegetables in some of them. We made a calf milk feeder with one complete with rubber teats. I think number one son filled the holes with silicon. Might also go round car boot sales looking for cool boxes. Thanks for the advice!

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    7. Have a look at maynards manual of curing as well, really great book although I must confess to not having used it yet! I'd love to make a parma ham but I think its too damp here!

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    8. Yes it looks a great book, Kev. I think it's even damper here in the Emerald Isle.

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  2. My husband makes his own beer, various rooms get taken over with the stuff. Very nice when it's all done tho. His dad used to make his own hedgerow wines, topping them up with gin if he felt they weren't strong enough. Absolutely lethal :o)
    Impressed with all your industry and hope the back soften soon- lying flat on the floor can help.

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    1. Your husband's beer making sounds fascinating CT. Could you get him to write a few posts on your blog about it? I have drank home brew that seemed and tasted like water and would knock you for six. Thanks for the back advice. I think it's the damp climate that aggravates the old injury.

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  3. Busy times Dave, cured pork sounds good my man.

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    1. Yes busy times John. We are looking forward to curing our own pork. Then it's making a smoker. Sounds like fun.

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  4. Pigs are looking well, they've grown fast, an awful lot of meat. Wish I lived near, a trade for home brew and wine for some bacon sounds like a good idea? Real bacon, not the pale watery stuff the superstores seem to specialise in.

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    1. Yes they look well Cumbrian. You will have to visit Ireland some time and we will give you some pork and bacon to take back with you. I would love to sample your home brew. It's about time they let people sell it or barter for smallholding produce.

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  5. It won't let me reply above Anne. We ordered the Made at Home Curing And Smoking: Dick Strawbridge from the Book Depository in the end. It's only 13.49 Euros including delivery. Thanks again for your advice!

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    1. If you Google dry curing bacon the River Cottage recipe should come up, I think this is the one that we have used but I think we cut down the amount of sugar to 3/4 to salt.( it was a bit sweet first time round)
      For our first attempt we bought a slab of belly about 3lb, it was cheap, skin on, bones out, I think we dry cured for 8 days. At the end of the process we washed of the cure and then dried it and then sliced of a few rashers to try, for us it was too salty so we then soaked the slab for an hour, and tried it again, it was great, we then did the air-drying ( this will be explained in any book) then sliced it and froze the slices. Slicing was not easy so for the other times we arrange with a local shop who have a bacon slicer to slice it for us)
      My advice is before you do your own home produced pork, buy a slab of belly from the butcher and try out the curing process, you are not going to lose much and it will re-assure you that you can do it, you can also make notes to adjust the recipe to your own taste. After we had done the first lot Simon adapted the old boiler room as a smoker. Again there are lots of ideas on Google of how to make a smoker, you are cold smoking not hot smoking so a garden incinerator with a pipe to the container that you have the meat in works fine.

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  6. Thanks for all the advice Anne. Will Google the River Cottage recipe - thanks!

    We asked a West Cork butcher today how much to kill two pigs. He said ninety Euro for all pork (including sausages) and Ninety Euro for half bacon and half pork. Can you work that one out? We can't! Surely there is more work making half of it bacon?

    My dad use to tell me they would kill a pig here on the farm and cut a raw piece of meat and fry it straight away. Said there was nothing wrong with it! Thanks again for the advice.

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  7. Yes, you can cut a piece of raw meat and fry it, we often have uncured belly of pork rashers, about an inch thick but we do it slowly in the oven, curl it round to form a circle, salt and in the middle of the circle to put a blob of crab apple jelly, red currant, or cranberry jelly works just as well, pop it into the range covered for the first hour then remove the cover and give it another 10-15 minutes, it's what we are having for dinner tonight.
    Sausages take a lot of time, there is the sorting of the meat plus fat, mincing adding the spices and rusks and then putting it through the sausage maker, we have a sausage maker and find it very labour intensive. Whereas with the bacon he will either be slinging it into a brine bath or injecting it with water/salt and nitrates. Now bacon can be made in two hours, from slaughtering to the bacon being on the supermarket shelf can be as little as a day which is why with commercial bacon you get that white gunge coming out when you fry it.

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  8. Thanks for explaining the curing process Anne. Didn't know how quick commercial bacon can be made. We don't know what is in food do we?

    The pork rashers sound wonderful. We are on a pork roasted joint with chilli paprika and garlic marinated into the scored meat. Found it on BBC Food recipes site. We sometimes make beef sausages with steak mince by hand and with no sausage skins.

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  9. Ever thought of seed saving dave? Cost wise it's not really worth it but they say after a few years they start to adapted to your area more.

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    1. Didn't know that home grown seeds adapt better to your area. I once knew some one who use to save seeds from the biggest vegetable he grew. Instead of harvesting it, he would let it go to seed. Thanks Kev!

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