Friday, 7 September 2012

You have to take the lows to get the highs!

Wow what a week!!!

Monday started early with the rising of the family in order to get up to the pigs by 8.30am. No mean feat with two under 5's, I can assure you.  Anyway we made it, with a minute to spare.

Fen very kindly looked after our children, whilst we loaded the pigs onto the trailer.  With our first batch of Boundary Pigs we asked around and came across a local guy who owns a trailer, and for a small fee will transport your pigs.  Trailers have to meet certain DEFRA rules for the transportation of animals and its all quite complex, so hiring someone who knows what they are doing, is well worth the money!

After about 30 mins of battles and a few bids for freedom into the paddock, all 3 girls were loaded. Paperwork signed and ready to go.  Stupidly, I went to the trailer and said goodbye........don't ever do this! With a waterfall running down my face and a very heavy heart, I waved them off.

Grant my husband, followed them to the abbatoir.  He made sure they were okay and did something I don't think I'll ever be able to do. He watched the Gloucester Old Spot go.......I think for curiousity and for peace of mind, this was something he had to do.  He said it was as humane as it could be and that the pigs seemed quite calm, prior to their ultimate fate.

Olly giving pigs some grass

3 hours later, he arrived home with a bucket of our pigs blood. This might be more than most could bare, but our promise to these animals, is that they do not die in vein. They live a lovely life and we will use every part of them possible in death.  So, probably, the hardest task of all ensued.  The children were both home at this time and I, as their mother tried to distract them from the new arrival in the bucket, but Devon (4) curious as ever said "Can I help Dad?".  We explained what is was and what was happening, but she was not detered and apron donned, she got what can only be described as 'stuck in'.  Mixing the blood, clots and all, through the sieve. Nothing fazes this 4 year old. Amazing! 
Sieving blood!

After the blood was sieved, we could get on with the task of making the sausages. We decided to make morcilla, a Spanish, blood sausage and the classic English black pudding.  I will post recipes in a different post.

Blood sausage in the making!

In total we made about 50 sausages.  If  you like it and know us, mention it! 

On Sunday night, I had sat down with the delightfully named 'pork cut forms' to work out how we would like our pigs butchered. Last time, we used a local butcher, but this time we decided to use the abbatoirs cutting service.  This form is very short, scarily short.  Anyone who has ever slaughtered or received a whole animal, knows that the amount of meat and cuts is not short and can be an absolute minefield. To say I was nervous about being responsible for the detailing of butchered cuts of 3 pigs is an understatement. However, when the meat was collected today, not only did the butcher give us the highest praise, in saying that our pigs were the best pork meat he'd butchered all week, we actually got what I thought we would have from my completion of the said pork cut form! Phew. Actually no, BIG PHEW!!!!

We are so pleased with the quality of the meat (yet to be tried), but it looks great. Fat to meat ratio is very good. Last time our meat was quite fatty, but rare breed pork is. For a first attempt though, we were really pleased. We'd over wintered our first pigs, which means they are fattier as they pile on fat to keep warm.  This latest, second batch of Boundary Pigs, came in late Spring as weaners and have probably been a little spoilt (!), but these past three weeks, we've actually reduced their feed.  This was not to starve them, but just to reduce fat on the meat. We reduced feed by 1\5, so not a massive amount, but it seems to have made a difference.
Salugter weight tags. 7kg between each

This evening we vacuum packed what we could.  Alan and Fen collected their shares and we embarked on making bacon.  Guess who wanted front line action???!!???  So the four or five day bacon curing process starts. Next over this coming weekend ham making will start and then sausage making. More blogs to follow.

Making bacon


  1. And what a valuable lesson you have taught your little ones E, that meat actually comes from an animal, and that animal should have a decent life, a great environment and be respected. Still wish we were round the corner for a fry up! Much love xxx

    1. Thanks E. We wish you were around the corner too. Imagine the fun the boys would be having? X

  2. Especially if there was fire AND food involved! :) xx