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Lamb and mutton; Odd cuts; Apple juice; Garden CottageRSS feed

Posted: Monday 17 October, 2016

by Rosemary at 11:30am in Smallholding 3 comments Add your own

Monday 10th October

Well, that’s the paperwork caught up from the holiday. Been to the post office, the bank, the skip and the laundry, then fed the steers at Astwood (softening Hamish up for loading at the weekend).

Dan has cut the grass, since it’s been another lovely day. Hopefully, this will be the last cut of the lawns – but if the grass in the fields could keep growing, that would be good.

I finished weeding the house flower beds and cut back about half of the roses.

Dan’s dad pressed some apple juice – it was terrific.

Home pressed apple juiceFresh apple juice

The hens are enjoying the windfalls, although some of them like to get the apples before they fall.

Tuesday 11th October

Woke this morning to torrential rain. We did need it but gentler quantities would have been nice.

Dead Sasso this morning – bit annoying to feed them all this time then a sudden death four days before we were going to kill them for the freezer.

Booked the haulier and the abattoir for next week for the cattle and the pigs. Planning to bring Hamish down on Sunday and load from here.

Dan’s been helping our neighbour cut down a few scrubby trees – he’s a bit warm, as the sun’s put in an appearance.

Wednesday 12th October

Looks like the Indian summer has morphed into a Scottish autumn. So pleased that the Christmas catalogues are now plopping on to the doormat to cheer me up :-)

It’s been a bit frantic today though. After doing a bit of paperwork and catching up with emails in the morning, Dan and I set off to Astwood with the livestock trailer to build a pen for loading Hamish. He’s a total doofus (Hamish), so I’ll feed him near the trailer this week and perhaps he’ll be a bit more comfortable.

HamishHamish being tamed with sugar beet

Then we wormed the fourteen ewe lambs, tidied up Winter’s bum (not recently mucky by the looks of things) and fluked the whole flock. Then we hitched up the flat trailer and went to Martin’s to borrow his cattle gates for loading the cattle on Monday. Then home, unhitch the trailer, and I was off to the butcher to pick up the lamb and mutton.

As expected from the deadweights, the lambs were small. This is when I wish I had a weigh crate. Of course, the slaughter and butchery costs are the same, regardless of the size of the lamb, so I guess “profits” will be down this year. I’m also undercharging for lamb – prices will have to go up a wee bit next year.

The revelation was the mutton – and Stuart had done a wonderful job. We’ve got three beautiful bone-in legs of mutton, leg steaks, shanks, rolled shoulder, mini leg joints, loin steaks plus 24kg of mutton mince, ostensibly for the dogs, but I think there may be a couple of shepherd’s pies in there. It looked beautiful – can’t wait to try it!

MuttonSome of the mutton.

So back from the butcher’s, packed the freezers, fed the animals and then off to give a talk at Fife Vintage Agricultural Machinery Club.

Thoroughly enjoyed that (once the technology was working). Dan was curling so he shut in the hens when he came in.

Thursday 13th October

Had to take Meg to the vet today. She has a bit of a cough and her nose was bleeding – at 16, we don’t want to take chances with her health. Anyway, vet thinks it a throat infection and she’s got five days antibiotics. Other than that, she’s in pretty good health.

Folk started coming for their lamb today. This is good as we have limited freezer space and two cattle beasts and a pig are going to take quite a bit of room! I reckon I’ve sold one beast as boxes – I reckon on 150kg saleable meat from a Shetland.

Freezer clear-out continues as we make use of the bits and pieces in the bottom from years past. We found a bag of cuts labelled 'Boiling Beef', so Dan roasted them and we got a big bowl of meat for the dogs, and the best bits went into beef sandwiches for lunch.

Boiling beefBoiling beef.

I’m thinking of having a beef party when we get it back – make a change from Tupperware :-)

Friday 14th October

The pigs escaped from their filed today on to the road. Just as well it’s quiet. Once they were out, they didn’t like it and quite quickly followed a bucket back in. That fencing will be completely replaced before next year’s weaners arrive.

Rose and Al came for their lamb today and bought one of the legs of mutton too. Rose is a chef, so I’m looking forward to hearing what she thinks of the mutton.

They’ve also got a scratter and apple press that we can borrow, so that was a result!

Beef heart for dinner - another freezer find. It's the first time we've eaten it and it was delicious, just quickly seared on the griddle.

Beef heartBeef heart.

The best way I can describe it is like a cross between liver and steak - since it's a muscle it's more meat than offal in terms of texture, but has very little fat so needs to be quickly or slowly cooked, otherwise it's shoe leather.

A heart yielded enough for six portions, with plenty of off-cuts for dogs.

Saturday 15th October

Off to Coldsteam, to Garden Cottage / The Red Shed, Graham Bell’s forest garden. Graham is chair of Permaculture Scotland and has penned a couple of books on the subject.

Graham Bell's Garden CottageThe inspirational Garden Cottage.

He also spoke brilliantly at the Smallholding Scotland Conference back in February.

So, Dan and I have come back with lots of ideas but they may have to wait a bit to be implemented.

Sunday 16th October

Woke with some trepidation this morning – but it was pretty much unfounded.

We managed to load Hamish without too much difficulty, supported by a few buckets of sugar beet, put him in the barn, opened the field gate and Mak came in to see who was bawling. Result! Both of them are securely (I hope) tucked up in the barn with a pile of hay.

The cows and calves were bawling too, but they seem to have settled down now.

I fed the pigs in the trailer tonight but they were so good at loading, I let them out again and will reload them in the morning.

The haulier is coming just after 9am. I’ve done the pigs’ movement licence and got out the cattle passports, but I can’t do those movements until tomorrow. There’s no consistency across the species.

Finished a few bits of paperwork including my VAT return – felt good to score that one off the list. Be glad when tomorrow’s over.

Comments

David Murphy

Tuesday 25 October, 2016 at 8:38pm

Rosemary have you bought a new bull calf this year?

Rosemary

Tuesday 25 October, 2016 at 8:48pm

I have indeed. Should get him next month.

David Murphy

Tuesday 25 October, 2016 at 8:58pm

Look forward to seeing some photos of him.

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