Saturday, 16 October 2010


... supper consisted of coffee and chocolate.

This afternoon the pigs came back in boxes. My lovely friends Lynn and David picked them up from the butcher with their own pork, which saved me a trip and gave me the opportunity to sort out the freezer before it arrived.

The last time this happened was around three years ago.
The porkfest weekend was always one of the highlights of the year. The house would be buzzing with people. R would have a list of orders from colleagues at work. I would make up the brine for the bacon, we would chop and mince and season, and then make sausages. A lot of wine would be drunk, and lots of food eaten. It was a celebration of the end of a year of work, of the type that has been held at the end of the growing season all around the world since time immemorial.

This year is such a contrast.
The house was quiet as I weighed and labelled and rewrapped, although I did have a pleasant couple of hours as I drove around the area, delivering people's orders. The meat looks great - a lovely dark pink with just about the right amount of fat on it. After seven years of raising pigs, it looks as though I have finally got the feeding right. The recipients - particularly those who supplied me with buckets of apples - all appreciated their happy pork.

Then home to put the belly pork into the salt to turn it into streaky bacon and make a start on chopping and mincing the shoulder meat. Tomorrow I make chorizo. I also cheated this year and left the legs with the butcher to turn into gammon and ham - I just don't have the energy to do it myself, and he does a great job.

And at the end of all this, the last thing I want to eat is meat. I did buy some fish for supper, but I didn't really fancy that either - so chocolate and coffee it was. Tomorrow I can start eating properly again.

I still sometimes wonder what I am doing with all this. What is the point when it is just me here?
I have already decided not to get the ram in this year for my ewes. They were very late lambing and the lambs are not yet totally weaned, so it seems only fair to give them a rest. I shall no doubt regret this next year when there are no lambs bouncing around the field in the Spring. But perhaps there will be time and room for some more pigs.

I think, I hope this is just season-end melancholy. The greenhouse probably holds one last picking of tomatoes, and I have been digging over most of the vegetable beds before I cover them for the winter. There is the possibility of a frost tonight, so I shall probably have to bring in the shelling beans tomorrow as well.

As much as I kick against it, the year is closing itself down around me. Is there really any point in raging against the dying of the light?


  1. As we've learned the hard way, raging against the dying of the light doesn't stop the darkness from coming. But I think it's human nature to rage.

    The processes you described all sound so lovely. I can imagine how wonderful it was to do it all with R. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    By the way, Do Not Go Gently into that Good Night was one of my husband's favorite poems and when my son (another Dylan Thomas) went to Wales last summer with my parents, he brought back a poster from the Dylan Thomas Centre with the poem on it. We had it framed but I can't find the right place to hang it. It makes me sad. I wish Austin had raged a little harder, though I believe he gave it all he had.

    Sorry to ramble. Time to make the kids supper. I hope the rest of your weekend is peaceful.

  2. Sounds like my supper last night ... pear pie and coffee! Pear pie is really yummy by the way ... try it ... you'll like it.

    The season has closed here. Nothing much grows after the end of August beginning of September even if we do get some mild weather.

    I'd love some of that fresh pork. Nothing like real pork raised right.

    Not much point to raging ... it sure doesn't seem to do any good ... except maybe some self satisfaction ... momentary though.

    Peaceful weekend back.

  3. We used to raise a couple of pigs each year. I've always been a vegetarian, but in the early days at our farm, we raised pigs on surplus milk from the goats. Don enjoyed home-raised pork.

    Autumn has been slow to arrive across so much of the country that I've traveled this season. However, now and then, I feel winter in the breeze. It happened this morning while I was walking the dogs during a rest stop in Manitoba. Just a reminder not to tarry too long.

  4. I ask myself that same thing, staring into the freezer, unable to squelch the urge to order pork shares, or can up loads of applesauce. I rarely cook for myself; my appetite is barely here I made a full-on 9 inch, three layer cake yesterday. Technically, it was for my birthday, but various things got in the way, and it ended up being made on Matt's birthday. A three layer 9 inch cake is 16 slices of cake. I barely need one.
    I still have pork in the freezer from our last pig share. Food, and especially meat, is not nearly as fun without him. I still see recipes and instinctively think how that would be good for this weekend, then need to remind myself -

    Another chilly season rolling in. I'd thought I was looking almost forward to it, having been not at all emotionally ready for summer. The cold in the air has changed the last two days. The stores are low and the light is dim. Right now, don't seem to even have it in me to rage.

    Bacon, though. Bacon is still good food.

  5. :: looks sternly at J :: I don't believe I saw coffee and chocolate on your menu plan! :)

    "What is the point when it is just me here?" Why wouldn't there be any point to it? Just me is just as entitled.

  6. J, I think it is end of season melancholy. And performing a ritual that you and R and others used to do ... all the hubbub and laughter just rubs salt in the wound.

    The nights drawing in earlier, the darkness ... it makes me miss C more keenly too. And I am getting that whirly feeling in my tummy when anyone mentions Xmas. :-(


  7. @Debbie: Dylan Thomas is wonderful, isn't he. I went to listen to the whole poem, though, and he sounded a lot posher than I remembered. I think the memory of this poem in my head must have a Richard Burton version. And as for raging, R didn't have much chance to either - he sounded more confused than anything else.

    @Cicero Sings: Your pear pie sounds wonderful. My sister makes the most delicious pear frangipani tart which is definitely in my top 10 favourite desserts. And you're right - anger doesn't help. To be honest, I think I missed that stage altogether. Or perhaps it is sitting their waiting to come out at a later date. Who knows.

    @Bev: Bon voyage on your journey South. I hope the gentle Autumn doesn't catch you out.

    @Megan: One thing I lost altogether for a long time was any interest in sweet things. I think it took over a year to come back - I would nibble at them to be polite, but there was little enjoyment. Now I am happy to eat cake, but I practically never make it unless there are people coming who will expect it.
    Food in general isn't so much fun, but I am getting better at it. For me I think it is the process as much as the eating - standing there with chopping board and knife relaxes me. It would be nice to share meals more often though - that would make them more worthwhile.

    @Rose: Oops. You caught me out! But in my defence, I did have my scheduled supper the next day.
    "Just me is just as entitled": Hmm. I need to go away and ponder that for a while.

    @Boo: I think you are right about the nights drawing in and the missing out on a ritual part. I am having a busy week this week, so there is less time to brood - which is a good thing.
    And please don't mention Christmas again - not yet!!!