A pile of pork

17th Sep 2011

A brave bunch of volunteers showed up on Sunday to help me load the three little pigs into the trailer for their final trip. In hindsight, allowing them to dig a deep, muddy wallow right in front of the gate out of their field was a bad idea. We backed the trailer up to the gate, climbed in and started pig wrestling. As is often the case, the first went in relative easily but by then the others had got wind of our plans and were refusing to come anywhere near the gate. Neil lost a shoe in the wallow, Alan ended up on his back in the mud with a pig on top of him and I sprained a wrist – but we won!
half a pig
We picked up our half-a-pig from the butchers on Thursday afternoon and spent a happy evening curing, chopping and freezing. We’ve now had a breakfast of home cured bacon with maple syrup and pancakes and started in to what truly seems to be an endless bag of sausages.

As harvest is in full swing on the farm, we’ve spent a couple of workdays building the necessary facilities for processing some of our harvest. Trevor, Jago and I spent a happy Wednesday afternoon building a cold smoker down in the woodland
cold smokermaking mud
We tried it out the following week on some shop-bought cheese and bacon and it seemed to work pretty well – considering it was built from a tea chest, the chimney from our old aga, an old grate and a pile of rubble. Jago and I particularly enjoyed mixing up some of our good fenland clay with water and straw to smoke-proof the firebox.

We also built an apple press of somewhat eccentric design. cider press builders
We made a square ‘barrel’ to hold the apples which balances on an old kitchen door screwed to an upturned pallet. The piston is provided by the square face of a plasterer’s hawk powered by an old car jack. The supporting frame is a trimmed down window frame. Like most of our creations on the farm, it has a certain rustic beauty – mainly in the eyes in the constructors! However, it works – squishing a gallon and a half out of our first load of apples.

Finally, we found a few of these huge caterpillars during the week:
goat moth caterpillar
They appear to be goat moth caterpillars which have spent five years living inside one of the trees in our woodland. They have just burst out of the tree to find a quiet place in the soil to pupate and we will be on the look out for them hatching into huge moths in June/July next year.

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