Life at the end of the road

February 16, 2011

A hamtastic day :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, pigs, shed/house, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

What a great day it’s been up here at the ‘north end’, a dry east wind to save tumble drying the washing and a good covering of cloud to keep the temperature up. I was out before dawn full of enthusiasm for the day and eager to get back on with my fencing.

The first job however was to remove Ginger’s hams from the brine that they’d been soaking in for three weeks.

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This mixture of salt, cider, apple juice, dark sugar, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorns and water had proved a great hit with everyone when we tried it with one of Eddy’s back legs last year, so I decided to do both of Ginger’s in the same mix. Of course the picture was taken after the weights that were keeping them submerged were removed.

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Having cut a few slices off before even drying it off I could not wait to get it in the kitchen to fry some up.

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Very nice but a little salty and chewy, soaked in water for twenty minutes prior to cooking and cut thinner it will be perfect 🙂 Eddy was much more tender and less salty, probably because he was much younger and not in the brine as long, still it aint bad and was completely home grown, killed, cured and prepared, unfortunately current legislation forbids me from sharing it with anyone other than my immediate family 😦

As if those two ‘wet cures’ were not enough for a morning I went over to my mates place to remove his ‘dry cures’ from the salt.

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Dry curing is a far more exact science than a brine cure but if done right the meat will keep for months rather than weeks as in a cure like I did. Still our joints don’t get chance to lie that long so it’s not a problem 🙂

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As soon as Molly and I had removed the two hams I brushed off the salt and hung them up, left in a cool dry place they’ll easily keep for a year or more, though it’s unlikely they’ll get the chance 🙂

Then, after returning home for second breakfast it was up to the shed site to continue with the fencing.

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Concentrating today on joining the ‘Ryloc’ wire up to the old dry stone wall,

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whilst the relatives got on with putting more staples in the fences I’d already erected.

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OK, I know it’s not that much for a days work but I did do other stuff and I was very pleased with the result 🙂

That’s about all I could do, there is only one stretch left to do but I need two more strainers to put a gate in it and I’ll get those tomorrow. Meanwhile I turned my attention to something that had been gathering dust in my workshop for months,

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a Yamaha 9.9 that was in need of a waterpump impeller. Of course this simple job which I’d started in  July of 2009 had turned into a bit of an epic. However I managed to at last get both the parts and the will to finish the job so got on with that after all pigs were fed and the sun went down.

I’d like to blame my lack of progress on the poor supply of parts but I can’t, this engine is still in my workshop because, first I lost a crucial bit and second I lost interest 😦 Both have now returned and I’m well on the way to getting it sorted 🙂

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Or at least I was until dragged in for dinner 😦

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So I’ll just leave you with the weather before I go and have a bath then bed 🙂

graph 160211



  1. Hi Paul,
    Looks like an unusually productive day! Not even the weather to gripe about! A rarity in the Isles; certainly in my experience! Hope you ended it slowly and satisfyingly with a glass or two of rouge – a decent malt might suffice, in an emergency. Best. Iain

    Comment by Iain — February 16, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  2. Hi again! Paul,
    Take it that’s Bee helping with the fencing. Looks ready for the…..Chops! Too much a family friend, though, I’d say. Always a hard call. Never forget me pigs….never happy culling ’em, though eating was always a pleasure. Still remember them all by name. Best keep her on. She’s a rare treat – alive – I think.

    Comment by Iain — February 16, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

    • Good morning Iain,

      Aye, that’s Wee Bee on the fencing duty with her two pals Thelma and Louise who are identical apart from one who’s tail curls clockwise and the other anti clockwise 🙂 Fraid Bee will be going for the chop shortly as she’s six months old and Rocky is showing keen interest in her 😦

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2011 @ 6:31 am

  3. i see miss madam is still trying to herd the hams with the power of her eyeballs. go, grrl.

    Comment by jeannette — February 17, 2011 @ 5:07 am

    • Good morning Jeannette,

      Hmmm, the power of the eyeballs 🙂 luckily I’m immune to Molly’s ability to will things off your plate and into her dish, mind you it took years of practice and requires a strong discipline 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2011 @ 6:34 am

  4. The hammy pics have got me drooling so much I have been de-lapped. Suddenly need lunch…

    Comment by Kingdomcat — February 17, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  5. Thinking of things piggy/hammy/porky, have you any thoughts on Wild Garlic as an addition to your sausages Paul?
    It’s a great herb!

    Comment by Mike — February 17, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    • Good thinking Mike,

      not only wild garlic but wifey’s own 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 19, 2011 @ 7:31 am

  6. Paul, you should set up a smallish smoker for the meats you produce.
    The hams look fantastic, but the frying pan might need upgrading so you’re not consuming the ptfe lining which is only 50% present now. 😉

    Comment by lloyd — February 17, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    • Good morning Lloyd,

      aye a smoker would be good right enough, all I need is the time to do it, and yes you’re right that pan is a disgrace 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 19, 2011 @ 7:32 am

  7. Is it still illegal if I make another visit to Arnish and help myself to the ham. I am in Argyll all next week and it wouldnt take me long to pop up and sneek past Molly.

    Hope you are keeping your eye out for the Northern Lights tonight. You probably havent seen the news and heard about the massive solar flare recently, expecting lights even down here for the next couple of nights

    Comment by Simon — February 17, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    • I look forward to seeing you Simon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 19, 2011 @ 7:33 am

  8. Hi Paul,
    Sorry for the late comment, but if you come across galvanic corrosion between stainless / steel bolts through or in alloy housings, before you put any release oil or heat on them, soak them in vinegar. I’ve repaired quite a few outboards in my time and that tip was passed on to me by a guy who used to rebuild E-type Jags and had to get the heads off.
    On a brighter note, we’ll be up on Skye at the end of March so if we see the ferry, and if you’re on shift, we’ll call in to say Hi! :o)

    Comment by Dan — February 19, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    • Many thanks for that tip Dan,

      vinegar is a truly amazing substance. I shall now add release agent to the many things that I use it for from cleaning to first aid. This is well worth a read Aye, I remember struggling with many a Jag head in my youth, the studs were prone to breaking in the water jacket 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 20, 2011 @ 7:06 am

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