Saturday 5 January 2013

The Only Way is Up

Who even knew there was a 'right way up' for eggs? Apparently there is, and it is 'pointy end down' so all my pictures of eggs so far have been wrong 'uns. It just looks so wrong and pointy end up looks right. However, it all has to do, apparently, with the air sac of the egg being at the blunt end. If you put this end down the sac tends to bulge up into the egg and the yolk will sag on its suspension strands within the white. White contains a lot more protective enzymes than yolk, it seems, and if you do this you can get a lot more shelf life out of the egg - up to 5 months if you need it, though our eggs would never last that long around here. All the commercial boys do this and modern egg packing gear lifts the 6 eggs using rubber suction cups by their blunt end, so egg boxes from the shops are all this way up, if you look. Ah well. Now I know (Thank You, Mentor Anne) as from the 3rd January I will toe the line.

Recent days have also seen John Deere Bob and I out with the chainsaw and tractor again and attacking the local ash trees. First up, though, an appointment at Bob's where in his own barn, he has left from a big load of wood, just the gnarly bottom-of-tree bits which resist his axe. He's an old boy, 70+ and even so can still swing that axe impressively, but these bits have knots and scar ("spelted?") tissue and the axe is no use. The chain saw, though, doesn't take any prisoners and we soon have these great discs and cubes of iron-hard wood reduced to breeze-block size and smaller, to fit in his fireplace. From there he sends me off for a couple hours felling and logging coppiced ash in the warm sunshine till we have enough for 2 loads in his tractor-mounted box, saying he'll come down later to load it. That amount of logs quickly fills up all the spare space in the log shed and the space underneath and even bulges out into the rain. Should see us through to the good weather.

Still not satisfied, though, Bob now has his eye on a decent sized (not yet coppiced) ash on the boundary of his field. To me this tree looks too big for my chain saw but Bob is convinced we'll be OK if we just cut in twice, once from either side on the thick bits (!). The amount of wood would fill, again, my wood store over , so we will have to move some stuff in the Tígín and make space for a big stack under cover ready for 2013/4 winter. Probably not needed quite yet but, as Sparks kept saying, "Better to be looking at it than looking for it" and Bob seems to be on a roll, enjoying himself as an active logger with me as his new 'oppo'. Fair play to him.

The two cats, brothers and litter mates have grown, at 7 months into 2 quite different animals. On the left here, with white paws is sleek farm-cat Rolo, ace mouser and ratter (not so many lately - they seem to have wiped the local vermin out!). He is given to odd chirrupy "Prr-r-r-ooooo!" noises and sitting in the kitchen sink (when empty of water). His brother, Blue of the enormous grey feet is roughly the same weight (3.65 kg) but less of a vermin-killer and given to loud yowling when he wants a door opened. Also to quite manic demands for fuss where he will scramble to get onto your shoulders or lap or onto the laptop keyboard and start mouthing or patting your hands and face if you do not give him the petting, strokes and love he thinks are his right.

Our home made Merlot wine turns out to be a very pleasant, light, easy drink. It is not 'thin' in the alcohol sense and gives you the same buzz as would a shop-bought Merlot, but it is not heavy in dense flavours like a Rioja or a Shiraz might be. It is more like the top end of rosé so we have been trying out drinking it as would Diamond and Liz on their Greek holidays. They are used to the Greek red house-wine being chilled (which probably only works for the rosé end of things) but on Poros Island each customer would get a 0.25 cl carafe of the house red and any kind of tumbler or glass. These are rough and ready sea-front tavernas, not 'posh restaurants' and Diamond, having been going to Poros for a gazillion years knows all the taverna owners and is welcomed in with open arms like a member of the family. She is given the genuine stuff, not the tourist baloney. We are currently working our way through the 'overflow' wine which got put into 2 litre milk bottles when we ran out of wine bottles and corks, so the bottle sits in the fridge and comes out periodically to refill the carafe. The carafe is a genuine Greek one from just such an old taverna as described here (though this one up in the lemon groves at Lemonodassos); a present to Liz from the owner, Andreas.

My final picture is firmly back in the category of "Look away Now" if you don't want to know about the fates of last year's store-lambs, Connie, Dora and Flo. 4 more delicious chops from the freezer. We have over 20 of these 4-pack chop packs across the three carcasses and they are superb, and very nice with this Greek-style wine drinking. Liz blasts them in the griddle-pan with some salt tossed into the pan first, and serves them on warmed plates with whatever veg and carbs are around - yesterday it was quinoa, cabbage and carrots.

1 comment:

mazylou said...

I have woodshed envy.