Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hurrying to catch up

The days and weeks have been galloping along here, at a pace too fast for my liking, but this is Summer. Harvest time, pig processing time, preserving time. And all of the usual jobs; cows, poultry, preparing wholesome meals from scratch and gardens as well.
I don't know how I ever managed all this when I was working longer hours over many more days of the week.
I so love our "simple" life and am now even more grateful that I'm semi-retired, but the hours are long, the days too short, and the work seems to never end. Sometimes it can all feel quite overwhelming and it is then that I need to take a breath and remind myself to focus on each task at hand, instead of having six things on the go at once. Well, as women, we are always multi-tasking, but my aim is to practice mindfulness in all that I do, being grateful for having the ability and the tools to do it. 
Who enjoys vacuuming the house, (?) but I'm grateful to have a vacuum cleaner, and indeed, a house to vacuum. I'm grateful to have taps and hoses attached so that I can hand water some of the gardens, unlike many women in other countries who have to walk miles each day to carry a container of water back to their home. Oh yes, we can quickly slip into ungratefulness when we are tired of watering the garden again because the rain didn't come as predicted.
Autumn is just around the corner, and slowly but surely, the tasks are being ticked off, one by one.
The pigs have gone, so that's one less job to do each day. Twice a day feeds, yard cleaning, water trough filling.
I picked up the carcasses from the abattoir last Thursday (they were killed on Tuesday) and we hung them in our refrigerated cool room until Monday.
They were big pigs, dressed weights were 103kgs and 102kgs, but the fat ratios were just perfect, which is always a big relief to me. I have no idea how to judge the fat ratio of a live pig, other than looking at it and making a judgement, but I do know that a pig that is too fat is just as undesirable as a pig that has too little fat. Getting it right has become a skill that I'm learning to master. Phew!
Monday was pig processing day. After all of our morning tasks were done, cows milked, chickens fed, gardens checked and watered, we donned our aprons and made a start.
It took all day, the cutting up into roasts and chops, packing 10kgs packs into the boxes for the orders, the customers turning up all afternoon to pick up their boxes of pork and ordering their pork again for next year.
We kept some of the pork, and I diced, minced and packed chops and roasts, into our freezers until they are groaning full.  Two buckets of bellies and bacon bones are in the nitrate free brine in the fridge until Brian fires up the smoker on Saturday.
Now I need to clear some space in the freezers to make some room for the bacon, smoked hocks and bacon bones after they are smoked as these will be our year's supply of all things bacony.
Some family dinners between now and Sunday should clear up a bit of space if I cook up a couple of sizable chunks of meat.

This is only one of three freezers!  That beef dripping will be used for soap making in the next week, and some of those tubs of cream will be made into butter. Maybe there will be space for the fifteen meat roosters that are ready for processing after all.

Brian installed the filter tap a couple of weeks ago. We have rain water through the house and although the water is  filtered before it reaches the inside taps, we decided to put in another filter because we are hearing more stories of people becoming sick from their rain water.


Never underestimate the purposeful power of flowers growing among the vegetables.

The rubber snake that scares more people than pesky sparrows!

Yay..!! The Queensland Blues are finally starting to set.

That smiley face. (Love)

There is a hint of dampness in the air this morning as I finished milking Lavender, and the temperature has dropped.  There's only one thing for it.... light the kitchen wood stove for cooking up the pork roast with side vegetable dishes for a family dinner tonight.


  1. Wow Sally, that is a lot of meat to process. Bacon and eggs would be popular at your house I dare say. Also you will be doing a lot of soapmaking soon as well from the sounds of it. Can't wait to see what you make.

  2. I love seeing how much food you've got in your freezer. And it looks so organised! Our one chest freezer is a total shambles of containers, bags, meat, frozen fruit etc - and inevitably the thing we're most looking for is right at the bottom. Lovely to see your garden producing so well.

    1. Oh Cathy, if only you really knew what a shambles my freezers are. At present all I can find is pork and pork and pork! ;)

  3. hehe your freezer looks like ours :) this time of year is hardwork, we are usually outside until dark, and that is 6:30pm at the moment, before even coming in and thinking about dinner. Short winter days are much easier!

    1. Yes Liz, winter does seem much easier. Our days are daylight until 8pm here (daylight saving), so it's late coming inside every night for us too. The mornings are dark now at 6am and I'm not fond of daylight saving lasting for half of our year. Three to four months would be OK and enough.

  4. Lots of meat in the freezer, you'll be all set for Winter.

    It's years since we've had our own pork products in the freezer but, fingers crossed, it will not be too long until my Lovely Hubby is once again tucking on a 'named' joint of meat.

    It's nice to see so many veggies still available for you to pick too, we have actually over-wintered quite well here thanks to the polytunnel and the mild Winter we have had this year, I am still getting the makings for some good salads and a good pan full of soup or stew each week. The 'hungry gap' should be a shorter one this year.

    1. Yes Sue, that "hungry gap" is always the challenge. Brian has our first winter veges in the ground already and will plant in succession through Autumn. Let's see how we go, meanwhile I'm stocking my cellar and freezers with veges to hopefully, get us through the hungry gap. Which leads me to ask, have you read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver?

    2. No I haven't read it yet, but it is on my bookcase thanks I think, to you mentioning it once before. It will be my next read, once I've caught up with a few of my subscription gardening magazines.

  5. oh all sounding great! I totally hear you on the rushing and multi-tasking, funnily enough I just finished writing a post contaning something similar before I went to catch up on some blog reading! That pork looks fantastic! You guys really are amazing with all you manage to achieve, truly. :)

    Much love,

    1. It must be that time of year Emma. Trying to get everything done, like squirrels, for winter. :)

  6. Yes that darn snake!!! I jumped a mile!!!
    Thanks for the reminder , I completely agree getting bogged down in what to do's exhausting mindset.
    Here's to enjoying the momment I'm in
    Thanks sal x Mary-anne

    1. I still feel guilty that I didn't warn you in time ;)
      We (busy people)always need to be thinking of what's next, but to find the balance is difficult and I struggle with that, just like so many others.

  7. The poly pipe around the celery is such a good idea - thanks for that.

    1. All credit to Brian who has taken over the major part of the vegetable growing, thank goodness! He's doing a great job at it though.


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