Saturday, 15 October 2011

Comments

I've been concerned that I havent been getting the comments when people have sent them and I have just realised that is because I go straight into the blog and not through the dashboard where the comments are awaiting moderation before going onto the blog.  So from now on I will be checking out for comments!  Its lovely to receive a comments by the way, thankyou.

Keith - we are in Central Brittany, half way between Corlay and Mur de Bretagne and no, other than Throwback, we havent named any of the turkeys.  We are waiting until we know what we have got (sex) and which ones we are keeping.  If possible we would like to keep a male and two females, we will be keeping Throwback whichever sex he/she turns out to be.  You can still tell which one he/she is even though he/she has lost most of his/her colouring and is mostly black now.  The others will be fattened up and eventually end up in the freezer.  Don't reckon they will be ready for this Christmas so we'll be having one of the ducks for Christmas dinner.  I'll take some new photos and update on the ducks later.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Turkey Video

video
Here is the long awaited video of the turklets, now 12 weeks old.  They are growing at such a rate now, when they first went into this pen they had plenty of room but as you can see they have outgrown it and we plan to move them out into a larger area of the barn so they can stretch their legs.  Unfortunately we still can't tell which sex they are yet but hopefully that information should emerge very soon.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

OWL RESCUE

  
Who needs Mrs Tiggywinkles - we've got Mr Niggywinkle!  Today we saved this gorgeous owl, well Nigel, aka Mr Niggywinkle, did all the work with me offering moral support!  For a couple of days we have been hearing scratching noises coming from behind the woodburner, we thought it was in the wall and that it was probably rodents, we often hear scurryings up in the loft (its what comes with living in the countryside).  First thing this morning I heard it again and was convinced it was actually in the flue going up the chimney and then a short while later we heard a plaintive little hoot from behind the fire.  Nigel moved the woodburner (he's a strong chap my Nigel) and disconnected the pipework.  We put a black bag in place to catch the soot and lo and behold there was this owl sat in the bend where the flue comes down the chimney to meet the woodburner.  Nigel put his hand in and grabbed it and thank goodness it didnt struggle (would have made a real mess) and pulled it out.  We took it outside and took these pictures then let it free and up it soared and away over the trees.  We've just got to hope and pray now that it survives, it must have been quite weak.  
What a wonderful feeling to know you've saved such a gorgeous creature!  It did us a favour as well, we reckon it must have cleared the flue of a lot of soot, the amount that came out when Nigel disconnected the piping.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

BILLY

Well here's one very spoilt little cat!  Nigel had just finished cooking a rabbit for the dogs and Billy obviously got a whiff of something good and woke up and miaowed "Feed Me!" and of course Nigel chopped up some rabbit and put it in front of her.  She is such a daddy's girl at the moment, as soon as Nigel sits down she's straight there to get up on his lap, of course jealous Joli has to be on the other side!

CURING BACON

Cured belly pork
 Finding really good English-style bacon is not that easy in Brittany.  You can get it but you've got to search around and the result is usually really thinly sliced and very expensive.  So our latest endeavour at saving money and being a little self-sufficient is to cure our own pork for bacon.

 We bought some pieces of belly pork on promo, placed it in a tupperware box and covered it with a solution of salt water and sugar.  To one gallon of water we added a cup (American measure) of salt and a third of a cup of sugar.  You have to make sure the meat is totally covered and not allowed to float.  We put the box in the bottom of the
Nigel getting to grips with the slicer
Home cured bacon slices

 fridge and left for three days, turning the meat in the water on the second day and removing from the fridge on the third.  We cut a little bit of meat off and fried it to check it was done to our liking - it was lovely!  We could have put it back in the water to cure some more if we had wished.  We then completely dried the meat with kitchen towel and put back in the bottom of the fridge on a plate for 2 days to dry off.  After the two days drying period the meat was ready for slicing.  We saved some slices for that evening's dinner and put the rest in meal-sized portions in the freezer.  We even got a couple of bags of lardons from cutting up the uneven slices of meat (lovely for making pasta sauce).

We were really pleased with the result of our efforts, the bacon was delicious and not too salty (neither of us are keen on too salty bacon).  So there we are, we will definitely do it again when our bacon supplies start to run down and belly pork is on promo!


lardons! 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Faverolles

 Just thought I would post some pictures of Fav (above) and Favette (left) our two Faverolle chickens.  Fav is the cockerel and little Favette a hen (we think she is actually crossed with a white sussex because she came in a batch of white sussex eggs we hatched).  When we first got Fav he was a right little devil, very aggressive pecking anyone who put their hand in the brooder with food or water.  I wouldn't go so far as to say he's friendly now but he lets you pick him up and instead of running away like the others he comes up to you when you go into the pen.  Favette is such a little darling, she is just so cute with her fluffy cheeks and legs.  So we have decided to keep the both of them and they will be kept separately from Claude and his girls so Fav doesn't interfere with the girls.  Hopefully they will both survive and next year Favette will start laying and we will be able to hatch some more Faverolles!  A Faverolle family!