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Shane & Emma's Smallholding



September Update

Hi all, 

        I'm very sorry I have been so remiss with this update....It has been so busy!!!!

Well where do we start? I know....the pigs.

Well the pigs were processed and Emma and I distributed them to Milton Keynes. There was 30Kg of pork (per half pig) and 6lb Sausages. Like many of the guy's who had the meat we dived straight into the sausages....Bloody fantastic. And the meat has been gorgeous! I have also experimented with bacon cures, if you would like to try yourselves its very straight forward. The recipe I use is one from the river cottage meat cookbook and goes like this: 

1Kg fine salt
100g Brown sugar
Tablespoon cracked black pepper 

These are optional
Dries fruit berries - I like to use juniper of blueberries
Saltpetre (available from some chemists) - it's purpose is to keep the meat a pink colour. 

Mix all the above together and keep in an air tight container. 

The process from here on in could not be any simpler. Place the meat you want to cure (belly = Streaky, Leg, shoulder = Meaty) on a clean work surface and, with clean hands, grab a handful of the dry cure mixture and start rubbing it with your fingers into all the surfaces of the meat. When it is thoroughly salted all over, place in a clean plastic box, (don't use metal as the salt will corrode it. 

After 24 hours you will notice that the meat has leached salty liquid into the bottom of the container. Remove the meat pour off the liquid and rub more handfuls of the cure mix back into the meat. Repeat the process daily. Your bacon....sorry your homemade rare breed bloody fantastic tasting bacon will be ready in just 5 days. It will keep for around about a month in an airtight container (like it's gonna last that long!) Don't worry about the cure mixture that you'll have left over....you will be doing it again.  

We have kept two girls back for breeding, the boar is due to arrive on the 24th September.

We have also bought six sheep....I'm getting the hang of this farming lark....I keep the sheep up in the field and I don't have to "top" it (that's farming jargon for cutting the grass....educational as well as informative).

The sheep are Southdown's and are a great breed for me to keep, they are very docile and aren't too critical of my fence making....no escapees.

They will be off to the butchers around the end of October....If you would like half please let me know, you will have to be quick as they are going like hot cakes.

Paul Steel, Derek Clarke, Judith Horton, Paul Ostermyer, and Martin Williams have reserved half already and Dermot Fennessy has ordered a whole one! We will be keeping a whole one for ourselves so that only leaves 3 halves.

Like the pigs they will come back in boxes and all jointed and labelled and delivered to Milton Keynes.

Em and I went to a fur and feathers auction last bank holiday and came back with some additions to the menagerie, we now have three Indian runner ducks, these are Emma's favourite and they will provide us with some lovely eggs.

We also decided that we would buy a turkey for Christmas....well there's this thing about me and auctions....now we have six turkeys for Christmas.

It's not that bad really, five have already been reserved, however if anyone would like me to keep the last one aside for them let me know.

The last new arrive to the smallholding arrived about 5 weeks ago and is called Willow.

Believe me when I say she's not as angelic as she looks....this is what I came home to the other afternoon!!!!

Boy did I laugh!!!!!

When we delivered the meat to MK Isobel asked if we were raising eating chickens, we are not going to but one of our neighbours is raising Cobs a white table bird (I just keep slipping the old farming terms in there) they are a large 10lb to 14lb bird and are raised organically and free ranged. If you're interested let me know and I will get details.

I am in negotiation with one of the local farmers grandson's to purchase his old tractor....It's a Ferguson Massey (grey) dated 1955....it's a collectors item. Once purchased I will be able to wear my many checked shirts with impunity. Further updates once bought.

Since the mortgage payment still need paying I have taken on a job, I now work for ESD as a senior field service engineer, based at home, working 9 - 5, Monday to Friday and getting around 2 calls a day....what do you mean money for old rope!

I look after all the Job Centres, County Courts, Prisons and my personal favourite Breweries in the north Norfolk area, fixing servers, laptops, printers Jobpoints etc. The works pretty simple (back to my IBM days) they pay copious amounts of money and a car....I'm trying to change the car for a tractor allowance, but their not having any of it!



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