Life at the end of the road

December 7, 2019

Job done :-(

Filed under: daily doings, food, pigs — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:05 am

Well, that’s the worst of it over and I can at least stop worrying about having to get home and feed the pigs, for they are now at Torran in several pieces. As is often the case it’s very easy to get attached to pigs you rear for several months. Snowy and May being no exception, but they were at least spared a long trip to an abattoir and had a ‘full and happy life’ charging around the North End for far longer than your commercial breakfast bacon. Sure it’s far easier for me to just load them into the trailer, take em to Dingwall and let John Munro deal with them. They’re professional, deal with the pigs respectfully and will deliver them back to Sconser in boxes. Not only that but I can fill up with ‘tinned toms’ muesli and Greek yoghurt from Lidl at the same time as well as do my Christmas shopping Smile Still ‘where’s the fun in that’? Whilst ‘fun’ isn’t really the right word, the ‘teamwork’ required in the whole weekend operation I do enjoy. Every year it get easier, perhaps not emotionally but certainly operationally.

As with many things preparation is the key and that’s what I was doing for a few days before,

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getting the cast iron boiler in position and fixing it’s chimney. Even doing some work on the Torran track to ease the carriage of the carcasses to the butchers.

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It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve lost half a pig out of the trailer on the way over Smile Once all was ready on the ‘pig front’ I turned my attention to my wife’s Subaru Forester that was needing a new power steering pump and some belts.

Subaru Forester SG5 power steering pump

The power steering on Wifey’s 2004 Forester had been making a noise when cold for some time allied with heavy steering at the same time. Classic symptoms of a loose belt, but it wasn’t cos I’d checked that several times. Anyway, last week the belt (which also drives the alternator) snapped and examination of it seemed to suggest the pump or even alternator had been seizing or at least becoming so tight as to burn the belt. Both seemed free enough when turned by hand but I figured it was more likely the pump would be binding when cold than the alternator. With that in mind I ordered new belts and a pump.

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The pump does sit quite high up on the engine and whilst a little fiddly to change is quite straightforward. Initially it looks like you just need to remove the belt guards, pipes, wiring and three mounting bolts, 2x12mm and one 14mm. However, the long M10 (14mm spanner) pivot bolt will not come all the way out as it fouls the thermostat. To get round this you have to remove some but not all of the mounting bolts for its bracket. They are all 12mm, one at the rear vertically and two at the front horizontally. I found that by just removing two of them and loosening one there was enough movement in the bracket to remove the long pivot bolt and pump. Replacement was just the reverse and my wife now has a lovely quiet Subaru with light steering and no lights on the dash Smile

DON’T Look

The team arrived in the afternoon and like myself, they’re getting old Smile Normally they’d turn up in the dark after travelling in from Europe and London and we’d start on the pigs right away. Ten years on we’re all ‘older and wiser’, they arrived in daylight and planned to start work in the morning. This was absolutely ‘damn fine splendid’ with me and after shipping all that was required to Torran I joined them in some roast venison.

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This being a real surgeon sharpening his knives Smile

I mean it REALLY, don’t click on these images if you’re squeamish

So, after an excellent dinner and making plans for the killing I wobbled home with Molly, had a great night’s sleep then fired up the boiler.

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It takes around two hours to heat the 100lts up from cold to the ideal temperature of 80 degrees Celsius and it was just about right when the team turned up at 9:00am.

May and Snowy were very close by but out of sight so it was no bother to lead May out of the enclosure first and down to the shed where I shot her in the head at close range with the .243. Making sure she was on ground soft enough to absorb the bullet. For a normal sized pig of around six months age my .22 rimfire would suffice but these two were getting on for ten months and huge.

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Once shot a strop goes around her leg and up she goes, the surgeon makes a swift incision in her jugular and the art dealer and his son pump the forelegs to bleed her out. All the while the collected blood is briskly stirred to prevent it clotting. I then swing her round onto a ladder which is used to lift her onto the bath. This being an innovation we discovered last year, prior to that we always put the pig in the bath. Putting her above it puts her at a better height but more importantly prevents her cooking or you burning your hands.

The temperature of the water is really crucial and I think it’s just over 80 degrees, it has to be hot enough to melt the fat in the follicles that retain the hair but not so hot as it burns you or cooks the meat.


Theses ‘bells’ and the chain is what is normally used but since we started using the ladder above the bath the chain is no longer required. What you would normally do is pass the chain under the pig and use a sawing motion between two people to remove the hair. Having said that we found a rope was just as good and kinder on the bath Smile The ‘bells’ are just used as scrapers, the hook at the end has always been a mystery, we also found a scallop shell to be quite effective.


I can’t remember the name for this but it’s a fatty tissue that will be used for making faggots, a new item on the porcine menu this year Smile


That was it in the slaughterhouse, by 15:00 both of the wee darlings were done and off to the butchers down the road Smile


Molly and I cleared up then joined the rest of the team for a sumptuous meal of brain and kidney, I kid you not Smile


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Though not before the Swiss surgeon did some solo outdoor moonlight butchery Smile


After that Molly and I wobbled home once more Smile



  1. Caul. used in faggot making. Cracking job Paul.

    Comment by Andrew — December 7, 2019 @ 10:55 am

    • Aye that’s it Andrew, thought it was caur!!!! nae wonder I couldn’t find it on tinternet 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 7, 2019 @ 12:34 pm

  2. Got to love Molly tasting the pigs ear!! I doubt she will have to wait long !!

    Comment by v8mbo — December 7, 2019 @ 11:00 am

    • Aye Robin, never noticed that until I’d posted it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 7, 2019 @ 12:34 pm

  3. just love the photos of your garage ..a mans dream

    Comment by Duncan boyle — December 16, 2019 @ 10:52 pm

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