Wednesday, 18 January 2017

MEAT .......

3rd January 2017
And now I have a sore throat and swollen glands ....... on the plus side I'm not so achy!
Christmas decorations came down today; the good thing about the natural decorations is they went straight on the compost heap.
So it's the start of a New Year and, as usual, healthy eating is on the menu! I made a jar of coleslaw (1 kilo cabbage, 15g salt) to start us off with healthy guts. I also refreshed my water and milk kefirs, which I have rather neglected recently. The Kombucha is fine, as I want it vinegary.
We have guests coming for dinner on Saturday, as one is a vegetarian I'm cooking veggie; today I made goat milk halloumi (clearing out the freezer ready for 1/2 ton of pork!).
Brett ordered a new chainsaw Sunday night - it arrived this afternoon, how's that for delivery? Only he didn't actually get it, the deliveryman demanded cash payment, but, as Brett had put his card details in when he ordered the chainsaw he was worried he'd be paying twice.

4th January
Lola & Vince brought a local man, Helder and his wife, Marijka (French lady who came to my studio opening, she also used to be a vet), round to look at our big boar ...... they're coming back, with a hunter, either tomorrow morning or Saturday afternoon - so we have lots if organising to do! Feeling rather stressed.
Brett has his chainsaw.

5th January
A total smallholding day .......
Georgia had her kid, the cutest little girl.
And big boar went!
I didn't watch his actual demise (he was done humanely) but I helped with the rest of the process. First he had to be lifted onto a makeshift bench - that was a feat in itself as we estimate he weighs around 200-250 kilos. 1. His bristles were burnt (blow torch) and scrapped off with bits of wood. 2. His skin was heated and the top layer scrapped with blunt knives, our black pig turned pink! 3. Using water and a piece of broken tile or cement block (like pumice stones) his skin was smoothed. 4. Rinsed. 5. Very sharp knives were used to shave off rogue bristles 6. Rinsed again. 7. Gutted. 8. Rinsed. 9. Hung up, in the pole barn, to dry.
The whole process took 3 - 4 hours. Then, of course, I had to feed everyone - homemade vegetable soup (I got up early this morning to make it!), cheese and meat board, chicken liver pate, ricotta cheese (made from whey, left over from making Halloumi) and bread (homemade in Lola's village), wine and beer.
Helder is concerned that wild dogs are going to come onto our quinta in the night and eat the boar, his solution - take him off the block and tackle, tie him to the top of a tall ladder, prop it up in the barn during the day then ...... Brett and I (!!!!!) carry it between us and store it in the workshop overnight????? Six of us could hardly lift him onto the bench ..... we vetoed that idea whilst giggling maniacally!

6th January
A full on day of butchery; we've processed about 1/3 of the meat and the freezer is half full.
I managed to break the food grinder on my lovely new stand mixer, can't find spare parts for it (and Amazon has stopped selling it) - feeling annoyed.
Georgia needed milking this evening as the kid is only drinking from one side. We could have done without that today.
Absolutely shattered.

7th January
Another full on day .....
First off I had to make chocolate mousse for dinner this evening (we hadn't arranged for the boar to go when we invited our guests).
Next butchering the middle 1/3 of the boar (bacon and chops section).
Then cleaning and tidying the house.
Finally preparing and cooking; spaghetti with Halloumi, sundries tomatoes and olives (all ours), mixed salad and garlic bread followed by caramelised oranges and chocolate mousse.
So tired .......
Then our guests arrived (Martin & Ann and Marc & Mieke). It was a pleasant evening but Brett and I were not terrible entertaining.

8th January
Butchered the final 1/3; the freezer is full to capacity,
we have a big ham (leg) drying in a box of salt and we have two slabs of belly being salted for bacon.
And we are absolutely shattered!!!!!
We paid the hunter 20€ for his work, but Helder (who we met for the first time on Wednesday) refused to take payment as we are 'as meus amigos' (my friends), so we took round a 5.5 kilo leg joint for him, his reaction ....... "why?", he just doesn't see why he needs payment for his services - Portuguese people are exceedingly generous. Brett is going to leave a joint for Mr Louis to find tomorrow morning,  on his way to work.

9th January
Brett went off to work and I thought I would have a not too strenuous day - wrong!
First I did all the animal (except pigs, Brett does them before he leaves) which nowadays I'm rather nervous of; the horned ram is decidedly bullish, he bowls over at least a couple of the flock whenever I'm in there, I spend my whole time making sure there's something between him and me!
Next the washing, that took two hours - I know precisely as there's a diary to note when the generator is switched on/off.
Receiving a disturbing email from Carmarthenshire County Council, that has left me very stressed and worried!
Then tidying, sweeping, cleaning the house.
Refreshing all the kefirs again! I just didn't have time to do it over the last few days.
Making fudge for Nick's birthday tomorrow.
In addition there's all manner of little jobs like cleaning the solar panels, milking the goat, turning and rubbing the bacon with salt, chopping wood and lighting the fire, continuing to render lard (don't know when I'll use it but I hate waste) etc.
All to soon it was time to do animals again .......
Oh yes, and cook dinner.

10th January
Happy Birthday Nick!
Brett went to work, I did my chores, at lunchtime Pam came and picked me up, we went into Penamacor to the Pizza restaurant to celebrate Nick's birthday - the meal was much better than the one served on my birthday!
This afternoon Bauble (Georgia's kid named by Jacob) went missing (I'd forgotten that little habit these kids have). Georgia came to the house to tell us, Brett had the generator on as he was doing the animal's water (the pump uses a lot of electricity), 1/2 an hour later we still hadn't found her and it was soon going to get dark, he turned the generator off and there she was, curled up behind the generator - 90 decibels and she was sleeping!!!
Tomorrow Brett is driving the tractor to Jo's so that they can use it to tension the fence. He has to drive down the tracks as the tractor is not allowed on the road - hope he doesn't get lost!

11th January
It took Brett 65 minutes to get to Jo's, but at least he didn't get lost - good old Google Earth!
It sucks being old!!!! Now I've got an aching hip, it started when I was kid hunting yesterday and it throbbed all night, I couldn't get comfortable; my joints haven't been right since I tripped over the barbed wire, they're kind of 'tender', but at least the sore throat has gone now.
It's hard for me to climb over the style into the goose field again; before Christmas it was my knee giving me jip (from being jostled and knocked by sheep), now it's my hip .........
When Brett was driving home on the tractor he met Fabia (Italian), she came round for a cup of tea and reiterated that she wants me to make a window for her yoga studio when it's built. She also asked about buying a couple of goat kids (Tinkerbell and Bauble), but Brett wants to keep females, to expand our milk flock.
We had our first boar meat this evening, tenderloin ..... and it was (tender)!

12th January
Well I should be very healthy, for lunch I had: fresh apple and orange with kefir cheese, sauerkraut and water kefir!
This afternoon I carded lots of wool.
The big horned ram is becoming more and more of a bully (I'm petrified of him) so we're dispatching him next Wednesday A&K are coming to help/give moral support.
What a small world I just came across my friend Helen (from our village in Wales, one of the 'Crafty Bitches') on a Facebook page (for spinning art yarn) based in America.

13th January
A bitterly, biting cold wind today; had we been in Wales I'd have predicted snow. It's probably snowing in the Estrellas; I didn't look at the mountains, when I fed the sheep, I was too busy watching horned ram (he seemed very interested in me this morning) and racing round quickly so I could get back inside.
Poor old Brett is working outside this morning,  I don't envy him.
The bacon is cured (five days of rubbing with salt).

14th January
Icy .......
A quick trip into CB to get the dog's worm pills (Lily is much better than she was).

15th January
I had to break the ice on the animal water.
Best night's sleep I've had for a while - if you don't count being woken up by Lily baying at 1.30!!!!! Something walked past ten house and her, very sensitive, hunting nose smelt it.
I did some spinning today, my most successful yet! I actually enjoyed it.
Shit, shit, shit I flossed my teeth, after dinner this evening, and a piece of filling came out - I hate going to the dentist.

16th January
Tooth seems fine - I'll put off the dentist trip for as long as possible!!!
So we got up early this morning and off we went to Fundao to buy poultry (black POL and Ross Cobs); we came back with nothing, the market was really sparse, the only POLs we saw were brown (Warren type) and looked really sickly and that was it, other than rabbits.
Ever since we bought the gas cooker I have harangued it and moaned loudly, about it burning everything, to anyone who would listen ........ at Christmas I learned that when thought I was turning it down I was actually turning it UP! Today I cooked brownies in it and they cooked perfectly in 40 minutes!

17th January
We had a fabulous craft meeting last evening. Tina showed/taught us how to make felted wrist warmers (mitts) and, as I was the host, I got to keep the demonstration pair!
Brett started pruning the olive trees - he's making a brilliant job of it.

18th January
Very cold today, nearly 1" of ice on the animal's water.
Horned ram went today; we borrowed a stun gun which made the job humane and very quick. Alex & Karina came to help and offer moral support. The whole process went very smoothly.
Removing the fleece

He'll hang for 3-5 days

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