Well it’s been a crazy busy week here, it feels like all we’ve done is dash from one appointment to another. Dentist, science club, naturopath, and of course the children’s hospital. A 3 1/2 hour session at the children’s hospital was needed to sort out Neirin’s cast (it might not be a fracture, yay!), which can come off for baths to let him move it and get some mobility back. I arrived at Wednesday night feeling pretty exhausted and very grateful to have a full day at home to look forward to.
It’s nice to be out and about but I love the feeling of not having to rush, no shoes and coats to get on, no hustling to the car, no worrying about portable snacks. Being home today has given me the chance to catch up a bit on regular chores and some processing work that needed attendance. After about a week in it’s cure our side bacon is looking rather fabulous, it has firmed up and has made that magical transition from pork to bacon. I’m looking forward to adding it to all sorts of foods and of course eating it as is.
After curing I soaked the bacon overnight to get out some of the salty water, it is sitting on the sunny counter drying out a bit before I bag it and freeze it. We have some ideas about a mini smoker this winter but until then the freezer it is. Next to it on the counter is one of our lovely chickens. The last batch went to slaughter last week, filling our freezer with yet more goodness. I’m cooking one up for our dinner, smeared in the rendered lard from our own pigs and just a nice dash of seasoning. It really needs nothing else.
Sorry if that is a bit of a raw meat overload for anyone, I know that’s not to everyone’s taste! But honestly, I don’t see it like that. To me this is the bounty of a year of hard work (and a decade of dreaming, planning, reading and searching), it represents security, warmth, nourishment and independence. To know that we have a year’s worth of meat in our freezer and that it all came from right here on our farm gives me a feeling of such accomplishment I really can’t help bragging.
There have been many times when I’ve doubted our course, I’ve wondered if it is just too hard, too lonely, too exhausting. I’ve wondered if we should have opted for an easier existence where we had leisure time each weekend to do just as we wished. But those moments are far out balanced by the ones of joy and pride. When I can roast a chicken we raised on our own pasture, when I can have the fun of curing our own bacon and the satisfaction of eating a truly home made meal, why would I want to do anything else?
It may seem terribly priggish of me to even question my good fortune, but I lay no claim to an excess of virtue or any great spiritual purity. When it is too hot or too cold or too lonely, I feel grouchy and sorry for myself. But then I have those moments of boxing up the eggs we sell, washing them carefully and nestling them in their cardboard crowns. I have a Saturday afternoon shredding cabbage for our very first batch of Sauerkraut, washing, cutting, salting and jarring up; pushing the jewelled shreds into the glass so that it looks like a little garden all smooshed up.
On days like this, catching up with the loveliness of just being at home, I know I would never trade this life. I am grateful for a day with no schedule but the one we set ourselves, for the abundance of food, for the chance to just be here.
8 thoughts on “Catching Up”
Glad you’re enjoying some time at home. All of your home-grown, home-made goodness is lovely! I look forward to the day I can roast a chicken I’ve raised and slaughtered myself. And home-grown bacon? Oh my!
Tara I really can’t recommend raising your own enough, it is the most wonderful luxury to eat food rich in flavour and nourishment. The chickens were really easy to raise and the pigs were just the best company. Though I miss them I am so grateful for the bounty they’ve given us, beautiful meat, delicious bacon, mince, fat, bones and even treats for the dogs. We aim to use as much as we can to respect each animal, so waste is banned! What are the growing conditions up where you are?
Beautiful. Just beautiful. Well done.
Thank you so much!
I grew up in farm country. People just don’t get how insanely hard it is – so much on the to-do list all year round. So much to fret over, so much worrying over weather, creatures, and structures. Of course, those same people don’t get just how jealous they should be either – it’s a beautiful life. I’m so, so glad that you are documenting it all!
Ah my friend, your words put it all perfectly as always!
I so love all of this, and it resonates with me too! We have raised our own chickens for meat for years- and of course for eggs. I have thought of raising a pig, and have wondered how hard it would be on the day to slaughter the pig? Or would it feel the same as the chickens? At any rate it’s on our minds for sure.
I have to say sending the pigs to slaughter was much tougher than the chickens, they were with us for longer and we had a much more connected relationship with them. But the bounty we are enjoying right now is incredible, such wonderful and nourishing meats from bacon to roasts to sandwich fillings. I would highly recommend it but get ready for some tears when finishing day comes x