Friday 24 October 2014

Up at the Crack of Sparrow's....

Long term readers will know that in working life, I worked in the rather rough-tough world of cold store, warehouse distribution where the culture and language were rather more 'fruity' than you'd use in polite company. We didn't really do 'swearing' in our house - I think the baddest word I ever heard my Father say was 'ruddy' and that was very rare. You pretty much had to swap modes on the drive to/from or you'd have been a bit shocked every day. Now in these rural parts in the soft spoken 'wesht', I am back surrounded by clean language once more but I do remember some of the choice warehouse expressions with affection and amusement. I used to love one in particular for describing getting up early for a shift which was "I was up at the crack of sparrow's fart"; the idea that sparrows wake up early anyway and the first thing they do is break wind, and even at the start of that there is the first cracking open of their rear.

I only gave you all that because this morning was one such morning - with Liz booked on an 0800 flight (Ryan Air to Stansted this time) so us needing to leave here at 0600 and alarms set to 0520; not quite as early as my work day 0415s but bad enough. There were no sparrows about, certainly none with any flatulence issues, the rooster had not even crowed yet and the dogs were mighty confused as to why they were being walked around in the pitch dark. Liz is off to Darkest Kent again. This mission had been planned to share Diamond's 58th Birthday with her and John and to enjoy her moved into the new house and 'holding court' from her posh hospital-supplied all singing, all dancing, anti bed-sores mattress bed. Sadly, as you probably know, Diamond lost the battle with cancer on Tuesday 21st but we had the flight booked, so Liz has gone over anyway to spend some time with John, Mazy and the Kent contingent who worked so hard to support Diamond in the last days.

I don't know if you are involved at all in internet chat groups, Facebook or Twitter, but I know Diamond and a lot of her friends used to 'hang out' on both FB and on the chat forum which was originally the Guardian Newspaper's group "Guardian Unlimited (GU) Talk". That group has since been officially closed by the paper but was reborn privately as "Not the Talk" which has since morphed into "Just the Talk" with a lot of the original gang still hanging on. I love that this group of friends have come together in a private discussion group on FB and had what has been a lovely, happy, story-telling, memory sharing, pictures-of-Diamond posting, memorial inventing, on-line wake. Friends from all round the world (Australia, Bogata etc) have joined and rejoined in their various time zones to keep this chat going for over 60 hours and 700 posts now. Diamond, who loved all this stuff, would have been delighted and thrilled. It is internet Social Media at its best. I know some people don't 'do' social media, Facebook and so on but I think it has its moments.

A fair old haul then!
Back home I have been left to deal with the pork collection from our pig butcher and we have got quite a haul. We had estimated that the pigs, alive, had reached 91 kg each so that, with the 'industry standard' conversion figure of "around" 72% yield, we should be expecting 64 kg of joints, belly pork, chops and sausage meat. Rather laughably (or alarmingly, perhaps) the commercial boys will regularly inject water and preservatives up to around 11%, returning their yield to almost 100% and our pig training guy told us that he has known of cases where carcass weight actually exceeded 'live' weight!

More Pork.
None of that nonsense for us, we don't want our pork chops to shrink in the grill or our bacon to leave grey wet sludge in the frying pan! Anyway, in the event we got an impressive 129 kg of meat from the two girls (plus the liver, heart and heads), 64.8 kg each and the Butcher and I had to carry 7 heavy boxes of meat out to the car. It quickly became obvious that I might struggle to fit all this in the space we have available in the 2 tall freezers and 2 fridge/freezers.

Will it fit in the freezers? Pirate the cat
is sniffing around. 
I just about made it, trying to sort it into categories all the while, weighing sample packs and then scoring how many such packs were going away. Liz had asked the butcher to cut the big shoulders into more manageable sized joints, so we got back from our 2 pigs, 22 shoulder joints at about 1.7 kg each, 14 leg joints at 1.79 kg and so on. We got 48 (!) packs of (3) chops at about 0.8 kg, 11 slabs of belly and 3 big bags of sausage meat. I just about got it all into the freezers, slotting the final chop packs away in all sorts of nooks and crannies and evicting Liz's bag of chicken stock-bones to a fridge along with the heads.

There is nowhere left for the lamb for the moment, so I have held off sending them on their final journey. We need to move some of this largesse on to friends and family, eat some, salt down some of the bellies for bacon and turn the heads into brawn to make some space. It would be silly to buy a 5th freezer, now, wouldn't it. Nobody needs 5 freezers, surely. Next year will will have to un-synchronise the 'harvests' of pigs and lambs.


Anne Wilson said...

'No one needs five freezers' really Matt? All five of ours are still chook a block, now how can that be? The pigs were slaughtered ten weeks ago and we have been eating out of the freezers every day but there is still no room in them. the only additions since the pigs went in has been tomatoes, so why are they still bulging? Have 'lost' the chicken portions and daren't delve into the freezers too much, you can never get things back in a again.

Mr Silverwood said...

It's funny that you have to use a wheel barrow to move the pork, lol.

Matt Care said...

Ha ha. Yes, I think there is a Law of Physics somewhere which says that if you take things out of a freezer to shuffle things up and try to make space, you will actually increase the volume used and lose space.