Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pork, Pigs, Paul and Pancakes

When I left you at the previous post, we were gearing up for our big invasion, expecting 12 mouths to feed on roast pork on the Sunday. We can not really cater for this many and had to get K-Dub to bring with him three chairs and to resurrect from the poly-tunnel our spare table. The latter was the original kitchen table which came with the house, inherited from TK-Min but has been serving time as potting-bench in the tunnel. Sunday morning saw me hefting it round on my back so that Liz could give it a good scrub out at the front of the house.

Spare table - a TK-Min original.
We made up with stools, folding chairs and a mountain of cutlery which we keep in a crate for spares. The day was a great success, the house a chaotic buzz of noise, children. chattering gossip, full-time Mums getting a chance to chill out as someone else minded their charges, K-Dub, Mr Silverwood and me able to do some male bonding, Charlotte getting on really well with J-M and Em-J hunting escaped rabbits and so on. The pork, you will recall, had been very-slow roasted, a quick burst of 250 degrees, then 90 degrees for 24 hours. It was a 6.2 kg leg of Gloucester Old Spots reared by Carolyn and, cooked like that, barely needed carving. I could have picked it up the bone at one end and given it a quick shake but the crackling was also superb. Dessert was a date and rhubarb crumble with ice cream and there was a gooey-centred chocolate mousse cake for later. It was a happy gang of well fed, gossiped-out good company that we bade farewell to. Thank you all for coming and enjoying our place so well.

Big Sarpo Mira spuds are still coming out clean from the store.
Back to work then and, as is our wont, the making of a LIST. We love, every now and then, to take a stroll together round the site and make sure we have a handle on everything that needs doing, so we walk round in a big double spiral, note book and pen in hand listing tasks, in this case 32 of them. We have everything from long-running needs we have been avoiding (Digging out the bank!) and big projects like pig-fencing, to back-burner jobs which might never happen (Make the yard dog-proof*), to quick and easy ones (paint bee hive or fence round the raised bed). This list then gets transferred to a spreadsheet (you probably guessed that bit!) so that we can prioritise it.

Occasional huge eggs. This one weighed in at 118 g
That process brought into sharp focus the need to get ready for the pigs in two areas, building the pig ark and getting the fencing installed. I nipped down to our builders' providers in Castlerea this morning to order the bits for the ark. By happy coincidence, we suddenly got the phone call from Paul-the-Fence quoting me a very good price and saying that he would like to start both my pig fence and two entrances he is improving for Vendor Anna, this week. We are suddenly all 'go'. I had been dropping a few spindly dead trees in our woods and logging them up and was tired from hefting the chainsaw, when Liz shouted "I think Paul has arrived!"

We love a pancake!
There he was in his huge van loaded with galvanized gates and massive, 10 inch diameter (and smaller) wooden posts, sheep wire and barbed wire. I thought he was just unloading, ready to start tomorrow but, No, this is Paul. He stopped briefly for tea and some of Liz's home made orange biscuits and then decided that if we made a start now we could get the main post and gate to the pig field done this evening before it got dark at 18:30. I'll do pictures of this, and the ark, when we are a bit further on but I think I am going to be busy over the next few days. Lovely tonight, then, to lock up the chickens, walk the dogs and come indoors from the post-bashing to light the range, and look forward to pancakes from my own expert and Queen of the Pancake. It is bitter sweet to enjoy these remembering that 'we' always did pancakes (Liz doing chef) in Kent with our good friends Diamond, John and (the late) Denis. We love it here but we'd be lying if we said we never missed the Kent days and pancakes is one of those foods which bring it all back. Happy Shrove Tuesday, Diamond and John. Lovely memories of 'Den'.

*Sounds easy but we worry that the chickens would still try to fly in to get to their house so we need a dogs-in-chickens-excluded solution which does not spoil the look of the back yard. We'll get there. We are just not sure how yet.

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

A lovely day it was too, enjoyed by all. It is funny how certain things can trigger nostalgia like that.