One of the reasons we have decided to live our life the way we do is because we believe that meat is a privilege that should not be eaten lightly. We believe that animals should live natural lives (which means mixed groups..and therefore young stock). We also believe that animals should have a healthy free range existence and a carefully planned and thought through slaughter process which includes as little transportation as possible. Lastly we believe that the whole animal should be utilised, rather than just prime cuts in plastic wrappers.
I know that some people who don’t eat meat will never agree with the decisions that we have made, but I have strong views about the value of mixed farming and sustainable nitrogen cycles that do not involved artificial fertilisers which I am happy to discuss with anyone that wants to. In my view the important thing is that people are thinking about their food decisions and I can certainly respect the vegetarian point of view….but…..I am proud of what we do here, and I will not apologise for that. It is part of a set of decisions that we haven’t taken lightly, and when we take a life, we feel the blood on our hands. If you eat anything that has been commercially produced (non meat included) believe me you have blood on your hands one way or another. It just depends how far you want to look to see that blood, (Pest control, large destruction of habitats through monocultures).
it’s meat season again, by which I mean we have just had our lamb carcasses back from the abattoir, which is quite different from an ‘Abba Tour’ thankyou predictive text. Becs and I drove along there this morning for the usual ‘women should not be involved in meat production’ banter. When I asked them to put the carcasses in a bag so I didn’t get dog hair all over them in the car, they rolled their eyes and said “these women always want their legs covered’. I’m not sure what this meant, but they seemed to find the presence of two women in wooly hats in the abattoir hilarious. So anyway, this means that I have spent the day getting the carcasses from looking like animals, to looking like food. This is no mean feat and had taken me most of the day. We ended up having three rams slaughtered;
Which should provide us with plenty of meat for the majority of the year. Our eating habits very much revolve around what we have harvested at that time, so we haven’t eaten much meat since the road kill ran out a few months ago.
Each lamb basically splits into six joints; the two shoulder joints, two legs, rolled loin, and two rolled breast, and the neck. the neck I use for stews. I prefer to roll the loin, as I tried to do a roasting a saddle last year and it was a total faff to butcher and another faff to carve. I will stuff the rolled joints when I am ready to use them.
The biggest lamb was 17lb. here it is butchered;
The dogs have spent the day watching me like hawks, if Ori had telekinetic powers, all three lambs would have ended up somewhere near the dog bowls. Becky was delighted that we got the liver back this year and spent most of the journey home planning which wine she was going to have with it tonight. The hearts also look good, I am going to look up a stuffing recipe.Last but not least I have a pot of bones boiling away, and am just looking for some inspiration for how to use this stock.
The butchering was much easier this year due to my amazing Christmas present…AKA my new butchers saw, which is awesome (thanks to my in-laws).
The inevitable final drive happened this morning for our 3 ram lambs. They had gotten pretty big, and were arguing fiercely with their dad. Lots of bashing of horns and too much testosterone. So they had to go. Besides the meat, we also need the grazing space, as our ewes are all pregnant and will be producing lambs any time from early April. Normally they lamb on Becky’s birthday (23rd of April), but it’s been a really warm year.
We took the opportunity to worm the two little ewe lambs that we have decided to hang onto for a bit longer. All of the sheep will be moved off of the lambing paddock to allow it to recover a bit before the little ones arrive.
I can pick up the carcasses on Friday, so expect some interesting photos then.
7 chicks hatched Sunday afternoon and into Monday. All seem pretty healthy so fingers crossed we won’t lose any!
This is a lowish calorie version of a recipe that my mum gave me. They work out about 250 cal each.
30g of baking marg
25g of raisins
25g of dates or prunes chopped
50g of brown sugar
85g of SR gluten free flour
85ml of water
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon of bicarb Soda
Plus a tea spoon of either Nutella, honey or golden syrup.
Put water dates and raisins in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute will warm.
Add bicarb and stir (it should fizz), set aside
Use a tiny bit of butter and greese 5 small ramekins or espresso cups
Put a teaspoon of either Nutella, honey or G Syrup at the bottom of each
Put the remaining marg, egg, flour and mixed spice into a bowl and mix with an electric wisk for 1 minute.
Fold in the water and fruit. The mixture will be a bit runny.
Pour into the ramekins so that the mixture comes up half way.
Microwave each ramekin for 1min 30 -2mins. It should rise and be spongy.
leave to stand for a couple of minutes
Run a knife round and turn out.
This recipe works out as 180 cal per sponge mix if you divide it between 5. Add calories for what ever topping you choose. 12grams of nuttela is 69cal.
We had the first duck egg this year right on time on the 1st March. So far, the two white girls and one of the chocolatiers are laying. One of the white girls however can fly still as when we rounded everyone up for a wing clip she escaped. So we didn’t realise she was laying until Z found 6 lovely eggs in Flo’s hutch. Luckily Flo’s not that bothered about sitting in her hutch and the weather has been ok anyway. The crow’s had cottoned on again this year though that ducks generally are a bit sporadic about where they lay, so we lost a couple of days worth as they were just on the floor. We’ve rearranged their area now though with a newly positioned next box, which seems to have gone down better. Fingers crossed the crows don’t work that out any time soon.
We separated the Orlando, the chocolatiers and the one white girl whose wings we did clip into their own area two weeks ago. Linford is in with the chickens, batman and robin and Pierre and Lucy have their own area as they were getting very shouty with everyone else now it’s breeding season. Lucy however still hasn’t bothered herself to lay any eggs…
The chicks are now around 5 weeks old and are feathering up nicely. As the weather has been good for the past week, we decided to out the. Outside this weekend. They have been off heat for the previous few days and are getting a bit big for the pen in the outbuilding. It’s taken them a while to work out the upstairs downstairs ark that they are now in but they seem quite happy to be out and about.