We have three kids, Grandpa and I, two farmers and an arty type who is a wannabe farmer.
The eldest lives in Victoria with his wife on their dairyfarm, with a couple of dogs, lots of horses and a herd of cows. The middle one, lives in the city, in a house, with a fully mulched front yard turned into a food forest and a backyard with a little space for the kids to play in and a space for her hubby to light fires and cook sometimes. And then there is the youngest who, with her hubby has bought a farm in Rugby to carry on what was left when the old family farm died.
It was to Rugby that we went to help celebrate the first anniversary of them owning their own farm. They raise free-range Berkshire pigs and prize winning pigs they are too. They also have three very free-range kids, some beef cows, a Jersey cow, Wiltshire sheep and numerous chooks. Money might not be plentiful, but there is always something to eat.
They give their pigs an incredibly spoilt existence until they have their “one bad day”. This includes, sleeping in the shed with the new born litter to make sure the sow doesn’t squash her babies, feeding them warm mash during the day and ensuring their last trip is as stress free as possible. There are lots of dramas along the way and it can be difficult to decide the best way to deal with animals that are not able to be productive in an economic sense but still have a place in your heart.
I could get into a very philosophical post about ours and animals places in the world but that can wait for another time. One thing I have wanted to do for a very long time is to make sausages. It was a real revelation to me to find out that traditionally, sausages were made from pork! I was brought up to think that sausages were filled with the scrapings from the butchers floor and filled with anything goes and that was why they were so cheap(?). But now I had an excuse to buy a mincer and sausage stuffer and work on some fancy sausage flavours.
When an older sow with an injured leg could not be sent to the abattoir, there was a decision to be made as to what would be the best outcome for her. Rather than disposing of an unwanted animal we could make sausages from her.
A butcher was not available to do the deed, so they were brave enough to do it. There was nothing left to do then but marvel at the size of a pig and how many sausages we were going to be making that weekend. It was the middle of winter so we didn’t have to worry about keeping meat cold, the forecast was for a maximum of 10⁰c, in the shade it was very chilly. We had a repertoire of recipes, some sharp knives and hopefully enough garlic. The butcher must have thought I was a bit crazy buying so many sausage casings and I must admit I didn’t really know what I was getting us into. But, then I thought, this is Lisa and Todd we are talking about, the couple who have accomplished and overcome so much in their young lives.
Friday, we drove down and we were early enough the get to the school to see the kids at their assembly to see Tyler receive an award and Reuben perform with his Kindergarten class. If you knew these two boys you would understand what a marvel and an achievement these simple things are. Then it was back to the farm to get on with the work. Of course, the kids joined in and we started sectioning off the meat and cutting into manageable chunks for mincing and preparing for the two days ahead.
There was crushed fennel seed; dried apple and sage and white wine; plum sauce and ginger; porcini mushrooms, dried tomato and red wine; Toulouse; turmeric; paprika and lots of beer and more wine. All up, nearly 100kg of sausages, enough to keep the family fed for a year or so. We tasted each recipe on the BBQ and had Pork sausage rolls and ribs for dinner so by the end of the weekend, I felt as though I had been on one of those fancy high protein, low carb diets and didn’t feel too bad for it.
Sunday afternoon, all of our backs were sore from working at a too low table and we wearily made our way home to go back to work on Monday. It is great to have a break from everything in a place removed from the rest of your life, the internet, phone and are only doing what you want and what is important, like, feeding your family. One day we may get to do this in our own way….now that will be an adventure!!!!