Life at the end of the road

November 12, 2008

The Raasay primary chooks get a new home!

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:49 pm

Well there was no posting last night due to a minor set back that I’ll not go into but it did involve a very big rope a safety harness and a hacksaw! so by the time I got home it was almost time for bed. Having finished all my bananas I would not normally be working on the following day but I had to do the ferry start up and first run to let my relief relieve me. And for those who are not familiar with some of my eccentricities let me explain. Having a memory like a hen and starting my working week on a Wednesday means I quite often don’t know what day it is, however I have now discovered that by counting my bananas I can at a glance tell how many days I have left to work and therefore what day it is. I take 7 to work, hang them up on a cup hook in the mess room and eat one a day with my museli and yogurt ( which removes any guilt I have about the fried breakfast I might have later ) anyway yesterday my joy at reaching the last banana was tempered when I was asked to work the following morning so could not set about the fine bottle of red wine left me by a friend. Still I’d be well paid and I was going down the south end anyway to pick up 8 wee chooks from Donnie Oliphant.

Hatched by Raasay primary!

Hatched by Raasay primary!

Now these aren’t just any old chooks, these are that 8 chicks that were successfully hatched from 16 eggs by the pupils of Raasay primary school. Well I say the pupils but they did have more than a little help from Donnie himself who provided the incubator, eggs and went in over the weekends and holidays to turn them. The eggs were numbered 1 to 16 and every pupil had one, out of that 8 hatched and these 7 little Buff Orpingtons and 1 Black Rock x Buff Orpington are the result. 50% was the expected result and all the pupils were prepared for it, they were also made aware of the possible fate of some of them which is in my view something that many people never mind children prefer to ignore. Preferring not to associate the nice hairy, fluffy, woolly, feathery or cuddly thing with the stuff that’s shrink wrapped by Tesco’s! Me I think if you can’t come to terms with that then you should stick to museli. Anyway the little chirpy bundles headed north to Arnish in the back of the car to be released into our chicken run.

Where are we?

Where are we?

They quickly settled in

New home

New home

Though our two old hens got the hump when they were relegated to the garden. There are no predators on Raasay and as we’re somewhat remote the hens have complete free range and are not shut in at night but we will keep these 8 confined for a day or two until they know that this is home. We’ll also keep the much larger older hens apart from them until they’re more evenly sized, though they can see each other through the fence. Hens like pigs can be quite brutal with each other until they sort out their pecking order.

Looking forward to dinner

The rest of the morning was spent filling up my diesel tank and pottering about on the croft after which I went down to the ‘Blind Dog’ to see Louis ( the Blind Dog being the Golden Emblems new name ) he’d been busy inside and we were hoping to get the leg on the port side but the tide was not high enough. There was no point trying to struggle when nature can do the work for you so I went home to deal with my bones! or should I say the bones left over from the two pigs we had butchered recently. Until the age of 36 the only thing I ever cooked was a boiled egg! When I started living on my own I decided that I didn’t want to live off eggs so started getting more ambitious. It must be genetic because after a week or two of reading Mrs Beatons cook book I threw it away and just got on with it. I don’t watch TV chefs, I don’t read recipe books, I just pick things up and improvise.

Pig Supreme

Pig Supreme

Which is exactly what I did for Thursdays dinner, I pulled out a couple of nice off cuts of the lower ribs  that  still had  some meat on. Heated up the pan with loads of olive oil and garlic in then threw in the bones to brown them, once that was nicely sizzling I added an onion some mushrooms, mixed herbs some bay leaf and a jar of sun dried tomatoes that had been languishing in the cupboard for months. Covering it with a nice tightly fitting lid I then popped it onto the top of the ‘Morso Squirrel’ in the kitchen for an hour or two where it plooped away merrily driving me daft with the lovely aroma. I boiled a few more bones up as stock and froze the rest for future use. Before going to bed I dipped some fresh bread in the juice and scraped a little meat off with a fork and it was divine!

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