Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Granny-anex is down!

Well this was one of the major jobs we had set ourselves when we bought the place. The previous owners had started to build living accommodation in the shed (before they built the house) but later changed thier mind. Which was a pity, as they had obviously gone to alot of effort.
But for us to beable to use the space, and the fact that Council wouldn't approve it as a "dwelling"- it had to come out! And this momentous task took us (well mostly Matt) best part of 2 days... now there's just the job of salvaging as much of the timber as possible for shelving and/ or work bench

Monday, 19 September 2011

Friday was chicken plucking

Friday was spent preparing our own chickens. As not only was one meant for the table at Friday evenings meal( for ourselves and a few close friends). But at 12 weeks these purpose bread meat birds were becoming excessively large! And I had concerns about their decreased quality of life should they have gotten any older.
Now these birds were the same as those used by mass produced companies such as Steggles. However did you know most mass produced chickens are only 40 days old.
So whilst these were purpose bread meat birds (and man were they ‘meaty’). They had access to shelter, food/water and open grass, where they were encouraged to scratch and forage, as they would naturally. Not contained in a shed with or artificial lighting to encourage continuous eating or pumped with steroids to meet deadlines.

Now, not that their fate wasn't truly down to my hand (personally)- this time. I did assist and whilst I still feel remorse, I do strongly believe that as a meat eater this should be something we should be at least witness to. I am not going to go into the details, however it was quick and as humane and stress free as we could possibly make it.
So whilst I was ultimately responsible for their death, was also directly responsible for their quality of life. And I am content in the knowledge that they had a happy and healthy life- as too many are able to consume meat products, purchased from the supermarket shelves with no knowledge (and in many regards conscience), allowing mass produced products of poor quality and conditions.

Enough of the lecture! Plucking itself went better this time; guess the trick is not to pluck feathers in windy conditions! And whilst it is labour intensive, and not unpleasant, but I wouldn't jump up and down and say I enjoy it- I do think it gives an appreciation of how much work goes into getting this meat to our plates.

Well the meal itself was a hit. Matt’s ‘Beer-can chicken' was a success and tribute to the bird as always. The meat on the bird itself was a little darker than you would buy in the shops, with a beautiful fat layer behind the skin. Both attribute of truly ‘free-range’ chickens.

So to a tasty meal, our succulent chicken served with potato gratin, broccoli cheese, and both a garden and warm pumpkin salad. Easily served 4 and then provided lunch and dinner for the two of us for a further 3 days! And in the tradition of utilising as much of the produce as possible, even today’s lunch (bacon and vegetable rice) was made using the stock I created from the bones Saturday morning.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Nearly 3 months in and this is where we're up to

Well we unloaded our life's possession from the van 11 weeks ago today, and it has been a rollacoaster so far. There have been issues with telco's and boundries but the biggest blow came exactly a week after the high of moving in, when we had to bury our beloved three and half year old Staffy Griffith.
As I returned home after and evening running around town, following work. I found my gorgeous baby boy lying beside the road... Both our babies had escaped, what we thought was our puppy-proofed garden, but only Ffion had made it home.

So, so much for the dream start, it was supposed to be for us and our gorgeous furry babies, but it wasn't to be. However the loss of our gorgeous baby boy has made us more determined to make this work. Otherwise our move and the price he paid would be for nothing. So this is for our Griff.

So to date; we have since made the guilt ridden, heart wrenching decision to get another dog. Our new addition Madog- a lovely mastiff pup who's making Maes-y-Delyn his home. And I know Griff would have loved him... just wished it didn't have to be one or the other, but I guess that's life. We just have know he had a happy life, in a loving home, and we were honoured to have had him in our lives.

So for the small holding we have 2 lovely cows (heifers, brahman-droughtmaster crosses). Out beautiful Berkshire pigs; Smokey and Streaky; who we are hoping to breed. We had another land race cross pig, however he is already stocking our freezer.
We currently have 5 laying chickens (since Ffion (our female Staffy) devoured an escapee a few weeks back), 3 meat birds (we had 5, but 2 have already served thier purpose) and 7 chicks. As well as a few young fruit trees and a veggie patch.

So I guess it starts from here! This is the update on how our new life goes... Pob lwc