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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

Some harvests aren't easy!

No, I'm not talking about pulling carrots, although I do have plenty that have snapped off and the lower third or so are now just feeding the worms. I'm talking about filling the freezer with home grown meat. I've mentioned previously that I do harvest roosters, usually at the point that they are getting aggressive with the ladies so it's easier to justify at that point. I haven't reached the point that I'm comfortable doing them in just so they can go to the freezer.

Yesterday I did just that though, with four of my lambs. Actually the hardest day was just picking up the phone to the butcher and getting the ball rolling. He came yesterday. Three of these guys had been born here, with one coming from a friend nearby, and I'd become familiar with all of them. Two I was particularly fond of. They had had a great life enjoying sunshine, and rain. Green, green grass to fill their bellies. Time with their mums (both sheep and human varieties!) and they had not been stressed. Their one bad day came and went, and they hadn't even known it. Once the butcher returns, in 5 days or so, the meat will be cut up and put in the freezer to feed me for the coming years. Thanks guys xxx

Last year at harvest time I had dug a hole and buried the remains. It seemed like such a waste of the nutrients so this year I thought I would make a hot compost and bury everything in the middle of the pile. It was hot and steamy when I dug the hole and the thermometer read just under 60 degree celcius, so hot enough to quickly break down what was added yesterday. Not sure about the skins so we'll see. I will leave it untouched for 9-12 months, or perhaps when I need this compost bay again next year. One thing I did decide yesterday was that throwing out the sheep skins was an enormous waste. I was tempted to keep one of them to try my hand at tanning but as I hadn't prepared myself ahead for that task, decided it would be best to do my homework first and try it out next year. The farming cycle means that lambs will be once again be gracing my paddocks within a few weeks. Two of my ewes have started to show signs in their udders which means lambing is about 3 or 4 weeks away. I do love lambs running around.

It felt like my week was all about my lambs but I did do other things, such as more lemon preserving - lemons in vinegar in the photo is both my cleaning solution and rinse aid! I had friends come for a visit on the weekend. Some preserved veg and a dip for nibbles and a hot bowl of veggie soup complete with homegrown dried beans, was followed by a treat. It's really nice to pull out something from the freezer that you can turn into yummy food to share. In this case I pulled out almost a kilo of frozen homegrown berries and roasted them with some honey. I teamed that with a russian custard (just honey and egg yolks) for a really delicious desert.

My video this week finds me in the kitchen where I show you all how to make wild fruit soda - one of my favourite homemade, organic drinks. Be sure to check it out via the link at the top of the page.

Anyway have a great week everyone and I'll catch you next time xx

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