Saturday, 7 June 2008

Thanks fellas


Listening to: Hallowed Ground (Violent Femmes)
Twenty-five past 11 and: it's not really dark yet

Time finally ran out for Eric and Ernie this week as I took my first animals to be slaughtered.

I was there with them to the end, but I'm not going to dwell on the details. I'm sure if you can find out exactly how it all works elsewhere on the Internet. All I will say is that it was quick and efficient. If they knew anything about it, I'd be surprised.

How do I feel about it? A bit sad, but you don't become a pig owner without knowing what the end will be. On the day itself I was so busy getting them sorted that I didn't have a chance to think about it and this is the first time I've had a moment to reflect.

Many people have told me that I would feel differently about the pigs when the pork came home and they are absolutely right. I had the minimum of butchering done and when the carcasses arrived back here yesterday, they weren't Eric and Ernie any more, but a vast quantity of meat (the lads ended their days on a fighting weight of over 250lb each) which needed my urgent attention.

I've spent much of the last 24 hours cutting, boning, jointing, preparing a brine cure and nicking bits out of my fingers. Sal has spent most of the day putting meat into bags and organising storage. Next time we'll get the butcher to do the cutting - it's way too tiring - but I kind of felt I should see to as much as possible this time.

Two freezers are crammed full of meat. Two hams are curing. Several bags are waiting to be delivered to friends and neighbours tomorrow and I'm not only quietly satisfied, but very grateful.

The lads have been the perfect introduction to crofting/farming/smallholding. They taught me a great deal, were remarkably good-natured and, at times, a bloody good laugh. I like to think they had a good nine months with us.

So, trying hard not to be sentimental, I'll just say 'thanks' to the pair of them and I hope that, if there's a pig heaven, it involves second helpings with every meal.

15 comments:

mig bardsley said...

Well done all of you.
You don't mention sausages - I hope there are lots of sausages.

fiwa said...

I will second that - well done Trainee Pig Farmers. You handled that well.

Ginni Dee said...

I'm so proud of you Malc. You did everything the way it should have been done. I love that you have respect for the boys and I know the meat will be relished and enjoyed with as much respect as you had for your pigs and their reason for being on your farm.

Having helped with the butchery of many a deer...I know what a big job it is. We always had a deer-butchering-party. Invited all the deer hunters to help. Many hands make light work. The meat was dealt with and I was always in charge of labeling the packages, having the only semi-legible printing.

Anyway, good job Mr. & Mrs. Pig Farmer!

Dave said...

Well done.

My GP says the odd sausage won't do me any harm.

ziggi said...

gulp

as a bacon buttie lover and with a fine leg of pork in my fridge I can only admire you.

Can't help having a little sniff though.

*sniff*

smart said...

Well done mate.
Were they singing "Bring me sunshine" as they left?

susi said...

Well done but, in order to be a proper pig farmer, don't you have to drive home from the slaughterhouse with a bucket of blood for the black puddings (like in "River Cottage")? - only joking!

The Birdwatcher said...

Trainee no longer, you certainly eanred your stripes. Hats off to you. I'll raise a glass to the boys, they were entertainment and they had a good life.

Richard said...

You are indeed a pig farmer proper now.

I'm not sure I could have been there at the coup de grace having wussed out when one of my sister's ponies had to be despatched a while back so well done. If you don't want the crackling, I'll have it.

Malc said...

Mig

There will be.

Fiwa

As usual we muddled through.

Ginni

We didn't get around to labelling. Everything is pretty obvious - I think. Joints and bellies are in one freezer, casserole and sausage pork in another. We'll see.

Dave

I'd say the odd sausage was good for you. Not too odd, though.

Ziggi

Just between us, I had a little sniff too.

Smart

Not now, Arthur!

Susi

As it happens, I did! The blood is in the freezer waiting to be turned into black pudding.

BW

Entertaining indeed. I think they had a good time.

Richard

You'll have to fight Sal for the crackling. And, to be honest, I don't think I'll ever be a proper farmer. Smallholder or crofter maybe.

lampworkbeader said...

I know little about farming, but doesn't it make more difficult if you name your pigs? I have a friend who keeps sheep but she always swaps her animals for those of a neighbour. That way she doesn't know her dinner personally...Just a thought.

dinahmow said...

Congrats. On all fronts, especially needing to do as much as possible this time.
Far too many people abdicate all sorts of responsibilities. You didn't!
(and now I must figure out why your blog is not coming up in my delivery service...hmmm...)

Malc said...

Lampy

I don't name them deliberately, they just pop into my head and I don't see the point in denying it. It's strange, but I haven't had a twinge of remorse eating the meat from Eric and Ernie. Not what I expected at all.

Dina

Thanks - all compliments very much appreciated. Several people have complained about the bloglines thingy.

Z said...

I butchered a pig once, it was hard work (and he wasn't full grown). Yes, be quietly proud. You gave them a good life and saw them through to the end. Now enjoy those sausages. And chops and bacon and loins and spare ribs.

Daphne said...

I'm glad you've managed it all okay and I don't think you should feel bad eating the meat - more proud that you've done such a good job with it all.