Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everything but the Squeak.

The last stage of the pigs processing is now completed.
Smoking completed.
Just over thirteen pounds of bacon was dried cured and then smoked,
 Looks a good colour.

Much easier and quicker with the bacon slicer.
 this has  been sliced by a local shop and now frozen.
The last time we cured bacon we had found it was rather hard by the time we were down to the last pound, so freezing it ready sliced seems a good option, (we hope) .
This bacon will last us until the next pigs are done, to us bacon is now a luxury item, we had more or less done without it for a number of years except on the odd occasion when we splashed out on some organic bacon.
Commercially produced bacon is full of water and it's very off putting to see white gunge (all manner of chemicals) appearing as you fry your rashers, plus the problem of animal welfare. Even in this day and age commercial pigs are kept and treated in the most appalling way.
We have already sampled the bacon, it's good but a little sweet for my taste but fine for Simon, next time we will cut down on the amount of sugar that we use. We used the River Cottage recipe this time, we will use the recipe we had tried first time round in future.
The cheeks of the pigs were brined for two weeks, in a wet cure then boiled for two hours, skinned, rolled in breadcrumbs then tightly rolled in clingfilm for two days to set the shape of a typical Bathchap.
Bath Chap.
Simon had never tasted this before although he comes from the West of England where it is a delicacy . He has pronounced it a hit. One is in the fridge for lunch time snacks, the second one in the freezer for use in the future.
The very dry weather continues, if it doesn't rain in the next four days we will once again be in a official drought.
Lots of Crab Apples.
The season seems to be at least a couple of weeks ahead this year, we went foraging for crab apples a couple of days ago and picked twelve pounds, this has given us thirteen jars of jelly to go with our pork or chicken.
And more.
The crabs are three weeks earlier than last year and a bigger crop. We had hoped to find some edible fungi whilst in the woods but it is just too dry,
all we found were some Honey fungi growing on dead trees.
Birds eye view.
Misty, the black kitten now fourteen weeks old is turning into a little tom boy, she loves to climb, for once I was in the right place at the right time with a camera on hand when she decided to investigate the ceiling of our bedroom,
Quite comfortable.
scaling the curtain,
I meant to do this, honest!
she then did an imitation of a tightrope performer
And this,
until she missed her footing
but this is not such a good idea.
and then became monkey hanging from the curtain pole.
That was fun.
Freddy her brother just sat and watched, he is far more laid back than her and spends a lot of time thinking, she just goes for it, I hope this doesn't lead to problems when they are allowed out into the big wide world.
The builder that was recommended has turned out to be a total gem, in the past week the chimney that was causing damp has been removed, the roof made good and the chimney flue filled with builders vermiculite, no more damp and no more drafts. The utility room and adjoining bathroom floors have been tiled, this is a job that we had intended to do ourselves three years ago, other jobs became priority so it was on a very long finger. Tomorrow he starts work building the front door porch, again, a job that we had intended doing ourselves but have not got round to. He is a brilliant worker and very reasonable so there is little point in doing the work ourselves and killing ourselves in the process. He will also be re- plastering the kitchen ceiling which got damaged when we had a burst water pipe as soon as we have moved here. We would recommend him to anyone, and he turns up on time!
The garden is still blooming well,
This weeks flowers.
this weeks flowers are Sweet Peas which have been blooming since June, Bergamot and Rudbeckia.
Last week I was saying how few birds of prey we seem to have, well we have now seen a Kestrel hovering over the donkey's field, and talking to a friend today who lives a few miles away she has Merlins. It would seem that the bird of prey population is growing, or maybe we are just being more observant.    


  1. Wow, the bacon looks great, as does the bathchap! brilliant pics of Misty, she looks like a real hand full but lots of fun! Brilliant news that you;ve found someone reliable to fix the roof and all the other jobs, you've got enough to on your plate without heavy hard labour too! Hope you get some rain very soon! We're in Austria and it's been so hot and sunny every day but there was finally a massive storm last night. Your flower arrangements are always so pretty, you could start a special bouquet flower delivery company! x

    1. The bacon is lovely, I had thought it a little sweet so the next rashers we had I soaked them for a couple of hours then dried them off well before frying, they were perfect.

  2. Bathchap looks brilliant! Love the aerial-cat.... all without a safety net!

    1. I was surprised how well the Bath Chap turned out and more to the point Simon liked it, will definitely do the pigs heads this way in the future.

  3. Misty is very active and I am finding that my tuxedo cat Sammy is the same. I am glad you found someone good to do repairs. Good people are hard to find.

  4. Yes Carole, finding a good builder is as rare as hens teeth.