Not been a bad old day at all this first Sabbath of the year, didn’t seem any lighter this morning at 8:00am but it was fine enough, though a little breezy and squelchy underfoot. The wee Tammies are almost ready for weaning so I started to make preparations.
The plan will be to lead Ellie out onto the hill and then turf Rocky out to serve and keep her company. We’ve had to keep our fine boar on the croft for two reasons, one he was getting depressed since we took all his ‘wee palls’ to the abattoir in November and two he’d started sleeping under a friends caravan. The sleeping wasn’t the problem it was his 300kg bulk rubbing against all manner of important things that was causing consternation. They’re far better out on the hill roaming around in the woods and grubbing up the bracken but pigs like company and once his offspring had gone off to Dingwall he started to mope about and went off his food.
Ginger, our last boar was just the same over a quarter of a ton of muscle, tusk and testosterone yet he’d get seriously depressed if left alone. I thought he was just a wimp, the sows don’t seem to mind, but it must be a ‘guy thing’ Anyway, for the past few weeks he’s been living on the croft, or should I say ‘sleeping on the croft’ in a field next to Jamie Lea, for that’s another thing about boars, the older they get, the lazier they become.
So, after everyone was fed and watered I set about the first part of my plan which was to put an electric fence around my friends tourer.
Not such a straightforward job as it’s solid rock so I had to drill into it and fit a plug so that the wire good be stretched reasonably tight.
Two or three wires is usually enough for pigs but as it was such a short run I did five. Electric fences work really well on pigs but they do need training to them, it’s no good just sticking one up and expecting them to ‘respect’ it. It’s normally better to put the electric fence up just in front of another fence first, that way they’ll approach it cautiously, get a belt on the nose and then keep well clear. If you just put the fence up like this and a pig hasn’t been trained to it, it’ll just walk straight through it and barely notice. Ellie and Rocky are no stranger to the ‘Electric Shepherd’, so once up, all I had to do was test it
Usually there’s the tiniest of spark as you connect up, or you can hear a faint click as it pulses but my hearing and eyesight just aint what they were so I went home and consulted Google. As they work at 5 to 15 thousand volts your average multimeter would probably get fried, however a quick scan of the internet revealed all manner of methods from around the globe.
Get sum mates over, have sum drinks by a fire near the fence, sumone will let uno how much bite she got. Sumone gotta take a leak on it, if u dont tell them….LOL
That’ll be the Australian method
find someone who doesn’t know about electric fences and ask them to touch it, worked for the chap that taught me.
the English method
Tell the neighbors boys not to pee on it
and the American
The best and safest one however was this one
Get a fluorescent light bulb. Hold the tube at one end, rest the other end on the wire, the pins or the glass (doesn’t matter) if the wire is live the light will glow slightly where it’s touching the cable.
Well it was either too bright for me too see the glow or my fence wasn’t powerful enough, either way the light didn’t light so I grabbed the wire and got a belt!!! Still, it did the job one way or another and now I know my fence works
Now that I’d hopefully kept them away from my friends van I set about making the ‘love shack’ more comfortable, or at least easier to get in and out of. You can’t really tell from the picture but there’s a bit of a swamp right in front of the door. The easiest thing would have been just to move the ark down a bit but then it would have been a swamp again in no time so I set about filling it in with rocks.
A few trips along the road removing rocks from the drains and the quarry at ‘Rainey’s wall’
had the bog filled nicely.
So now Ellie and Rocky will be able to get in and out of their nice insulated house without having a mud bath.
After that it was a case of cleaning out all the pigs and giving them some fresh bedding prior to ‘knocking off early’ for a nice helping of spare ribs.
Actually it was several helpings, the Tammies from November went on top of the stove to be slow cooked in olive oil, soy sauce and Nomu pork rub.
The peas, sweet corn and sliced peppers just being added for the last twenty minutes or so. The ones dated December 2010 and found at the bottom of the freezer went In the oven. A delicious honey roast effort with star anise by Nigel Slater was their fate, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/honey_roast_ribs_with_64823 though we had no oyster sauce so made do with fish sauce.
6 tbsp thickish honey
3 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
¼ tsp chilli flakes
4 whole star anise
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic
1.5kg/3lb 5oz meaty pork ribs
To make the marinade, spoon the honey and oyster sauce into a roasting tin or baking dish. Add the chilli flakes, star anise and salt. Grind the peppercorns and add them to the marinade.
Toss the ribs in the marinade and tuck the garlic cloves whole between the ribs, then set aside for at least 2 hours. It wouldn’t hurt if they stay there overnight.
Roast the ribs at 160C/325F/Gas 3 for 90 minutes, turning them in their sauce from time to time.
Then turn the heat up to 200C for 15 minutes, Keep an eye on them, as sometimes they burn easily. They are ready when the meat is tender, though far from falling off the bone, and the ribs are sticky and almost charred.
The whole cloves of garlic were what did it for me, I just love baked garlic