This is the second time I have typed this, the first time I deleted it by mistake. The ‘move to trash’ button is right beside the publish button, enough said. Oh well here goes….
I managed to get to England this time, hooray I hear you all shout.
I drove up through Andorra and France to Dieppe to catch the ferry to Newhaven. I stayed off the toll roads, apart from the very last part from Le Mans. Unfortunately my sat.nav. decided to stop charging at 11 at night and my map is 13 years old. No problem? It is when they changed all the road numbers about 5 or 6 years ago. Usually I have no worries, knowing which direction I have to travel, I can work things out by where the sun is, but being dark and no moon even, I got lost. Very lost!
Eventually found a sign to Rouen and took the motorway there and then onto Dieppe. Arrived with a couple of hours to spare and a well earned kip. It took 21 hours.
For once I wasn’t freezing cold in England and the weather was quite pleasant. I don’t think I moaned once.
It was lovely catching up with some old friends and family, and Janice of course. Sorry to those I missed, next time?
The pickup truck sailed through the MOT apart from the windscreen wiper blades which they put on for me.
I sold all my olive oil and gave away a few samples. Everyone seems very pleased with it.
The drive back home to Spain took for ever. Apart from going through a toll tunnel, which I had to do because the road in the mountains by Andorra had three feet of snow on it and I had no tyre chains, I didn’t pay any tolls again. Not sure if it’s worth not using the motorways, as obviously it takes much longer. But another reason is the sheer amount of speed cameras in France. Virtually every little village and hamlet has one or two cameras. It’s a good job I don’t speed?? If I had been on my motorbike I don’t think I would have a license for the next 20 years.
Talking of which, I am going to try to keep the goldwing, even if I have to garage it for a couple of years.
I eventually plucked up the courage to slaughter my first pig.
I have been reading and studying for months on how to do it and now the time had come!
I took a packet of biscuits round to the enclosure and had the pigs all eating out of my hand. As soon as the chosen one got in range I gently placed the stun gun in position and with a shaking hand pulled the trigger. I was expecting a loud bang, but nothing like this?
There was a very quiet click and nothing else. It had misfired!
After waiting the obligatory 30 seconds I took the gun apart.
The firing pin didn’t reach the cartridge.
The next day I took back the boxes of cartridges to the gun shop and the guy said that these were for a pistol and I needed the ones for a revolver which have a flange on them. So he swapped them over and gave me some money back.
It took another couple of days for me to pluck up the courage to do the deed again. This time Carles and Nigel came to help.
After I had persuaded Carles to wait outside the enclosure, because he was frightening the pigs. I calmed them all down and this time it worked.
Into a wheelbarrow and wheeled it back around to the house.
I then realised that the gas had run out on my blow lamp which is how the hairs are removed from the skin. So I had to actually skin it.
After three hours of very hard work, I had butchered the whole carcass. I have nothing but admiration for butchers because it really was knackering.
The following night Carles and Nigel came up to a roast pork dinner. We all agreed that it’s the tastiest pork we had ever had. And of course cooked to perfection. 🙂
I cured some for bacon and some for hams.
My saucepan wasn’t big enough to get a ham in, so while in Tortosa I shopped around for a large stainless steel pan. The one I bought is probably big enough for a whole pig. I put the two hams in it and they didn’t even cover the bottom of the pan.
I am going to try lots of different cures on the next few joints and find which I like the best.
Can’t wait to make sausages.
Ok now a bit for all my veggie family and friends.
The vegetable garden is coming on really well.
The tree cabbages are just in flower and covered in bees, so I should be ok for this years seed.
Still picking spinach nearly every day, I’m going to look like Popeye soon.
Potatoes are growing really well and where I had missed a couple when harvesting last year I dug up a couple of pounds of new potatoes. Not bad for March.
I planted out over 150 onion sets last week and my tomato plants which Salvador said don’t plant yet have loads of flowers on them. Glad I ignored him this time. We are now racing to see who has the first tomatoes.
The manure is so much better with pig and goat poo in it. It rots down much quicker, and doesn’t smell at all.
The cherry trees are blossoming well and opts of cherries are forming. Last year was a bad year for cherries due to the wind and cold into late April, but fingers crossed for this year. The peaches are all forming well too, with the clementines just starting to flower.
The ‘Cherokee trail of tears’ climbing beans are now about 3 or 4 inches high and the same for my sunflowers, both grown from last years seed.
The mangel wurzels (pig food) are coming through too.
I am sorting out a deal in the village to supply one of the bars with 2 kilo oven ready ducks on a regular basis, so I really need the ducklings to hatch this time. Hopefully Mr Duck is firing on all cylinders because two of the ducks are sitting on about 15 eggs. I should know in the next couple of weeks.
The bantam has gone broody again so perhaps I shall be getting more mini-eggs in time for Easter.
My two hens that live over with the pigs are still laying an egg each everyday. Good girls.
It’s been a very mild winter here with the rain coming just at the right time,but without the flooding. The strongest winds have been around 85mph up here on the mountain, so nothing like last years 140mph.
I haven’t had to run the generator at all so far at all this year as it’s been so sunny. YAY