Louise's Blog

Spring has arrived

Posted by nogsland on September 2, 2016 at 1:00 AM

Well, yesterday was the first day of Spring (1 September for those of you in a different hemisphere), today it rained all day and one might be forgiven for thinking that Mother Nature has got it a bit wrong. I was in Brisbane for work yesterday and the weather was glorious, less so when I got on a plane in the evening and came back to wintery Canberra. They are predicting wild weather over the next 24 hours so we are battening down the hatches.

It's all been happening at the farm since my last post. Having declared Anita too fat to get pregnant, she promptly made me look a liar and gave birth a week or so after Georgina, sadly with no greater success. They were either still born or she managed to squash them all by accidentally (!) lying on them all within the first 24 hours. So for the first time in a long time we are finding ourselves without a good pork supply in 12 months time. We have two young boys left from the last litter, one of whom we are thinking we might keep as a second boar for breeding because he is such a sweetie and one (who has coincidentally bitten Chris twice in the last month) and is for the chop in the next month. That won't be enough to last though, so we are trying to come up with a plan.

It has been a busy few weeks from a slaughtering and butchery perspective, two weeks ago we killed and plucked a couple of geese ready for Christmas.  We underestimated the arterial spray somewhat. I was holding one of the said geese under my arm and kneeling down so Chris could chop off its head and when it was done, I stood up and we had the normal post death movement resulting in something akin to an 80's horror movie for the blood splatter effect. Not a good look when all is said and done. On the upside we got two geese wonderfully dressed out at around 5kg which we are very pleased with, as well as some wonderful goose fat which we have rendered ready to use on our roast potatoes, yum.

The following week, Chris killed his first sheep on his own, Blindy was the unlucky victim, you might recall, he was the wether whose horns were growing into his head restricting his sight. It all went very well, it was a lovely calm sunny day and they were all just sittting down munching on some grass. Chris managed to kill with a single shot and it was all over very quickly with no stress at all which was wonderful. Less so the skinning and gutting, which suffice to say, is considerably harder to do on an older sheep than on a lamb which is a few months old.

When Chris met up with our butcher friend who kills our steers for us the other day, he was telling Chris he can now kill and skin a sheep in 10 mins. Add a "0" on that and you would be closer to Chris' "best time", needless to say, Chris didn't feel the need to share that info with him. I am still very proud of him, it is a hard thing to do, but when we butchered the sheep it was a great looking carcass. It was also interesting that when we removed the horns, it turns out he was actually blind in one eye because of the way they had grown. It seems to be a real issue with this breed, you might recall we had to cut off Pete the Ram's horns for a similar reason.

I now have 3 sets of sheep horns and 1 set of steer horns to turn into something. I boiled them all up at the weekend (nice smell.....tip for anyone thinking of doing the same thing, do it outside!). I now have them laid out on the outside wall whilst I find inspiration and/or the time to make them into something useful. Waste not want not.

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Time to find new mother pigs?
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