Czyz nie dobija sie koni? They don’t shoot horses do they?

Don’t worry Pete, I’m not about to start reviewing films; I will leave that to the experts; but I have made a mental note to add this one to my (your) list of films to watch.

I’m not sure why this film title popped into my mind when I heard that the horse burger scandal had moved on and eventually traced the source of the contamination, especially as I have never seen the film; I can only guess that it has entered my subliminal mind as I scoured the internet for information on the root of the problem.

You will all be pleased to know that it was an industrious Polish company that managed to fool the Irish into believing that the packet of horse meat that they shipped over to Ireland contained beef; simply by changing the label!  It also seems that they have been getting away with it for over a year and that Silvercrest (the company who process the meat into burgers) have lost the contract with Burger King to supply burgers, as a result of the scandal; it’s only worth 30 million Euro per year, so no great loss! That’s a lot of burgers, so where else have they ended up? All over Europe by all accounts, I just haven’t the time to check exactly where; although Spain and France are mentioned, not that they would worry about horse meat, nor indeed do the English. Cheap food tastes good, who cares what it’s made of?

The whole point is, is, that what we believe to be eating may have no relation to what we are actually eating. I know this of no surprise to many people, myself included, but its a sad state of affairs that the scandal now seems to have turned into the ‘devastating effects’ that this may now have on the Irish beef exportation market; surly the emphasis should be on tightening the regulations so that we can trust the label on the food we eat?

Anyhow, I don’t want to become a bore on the subject; although its possible I already have, I just wanted to put a little bit more information out there on the off chance that it might change one persons mind. And that that person then stops buying food without giving a thought about where it comes from, and decides instead to check the provenance of the food and makes an informed decision to spend a little bit more money for a product with a known history.

Incidentally as a certified organic farm we are now shipping pasture grown, free range pork joints for the unbelievable price of just……..:)

I had always wondered why I hadn’t seen that many horses in Poland!

And what do the Poles think about it all? Just the same as the majority of other  news reports, there is no health risk so don’t worry about it! http://www.thenews.pl/1/12/Artykul/125614,Poland-investigates-Irelands-horsemeat-burger-claims

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A funny old day

As you know my days are filled with dog walking, blogging (reading more than writing) and more recently trying to watch the film recommendations of Beetleypete. The list that I was working to expanded today with another list from Curnblog, who’s blog was recommended by Pete, getting more work is not an option: i don’t have the time! I won’t for a minute proclaim to understand what these two film buffs are talking about, their opinions and critique are far beyond my simple thinking; but they do make a very compelling argument and reasoning for why I should want to watch a particular film’; so thank you both, I’ll let you know how I get on.

After my morning walk with the dogs I know that Gosia will be awake from her Dutch slumber and we chat almost every day whilst we drink our respective morning cups of coffee and tea; although it’s quite likely that this is my third cuppa of the day. Skype is a wonderful thing and I just hope that it remains free in the future, I will refrain from being a cynic at this point just in case I upset the karma.

I have mentioned leaf and twig once before as he (I’m guessing) provides me with a daily smile, and today’s post was no exception. A picture of a tree that has at some stage in its life tried to avoid something, you will have to follow the link to know what I mean. On seeing todays post I was compelled to send a quick comment as I had also seen such a tree in the local forest.

Determined to try and find this tree again today, so I could take a picture, I headed out on a two hour walk with the dogs, and could I find it? No, and I felt certain I knew where it was! But as I had the camera with me I thought I would take a few photos, if not for you (the reader) then for Gosia (the reader) who I’m sure will be happy to see the dogs having fun and also to appreciate that it is still cold in Poland; never mind the –7 in Holland 🙂

So homeward bound and after my walk I followed my little routine of feeding the dogs, popping to the local shop for a beer or two, or three (if I haven’t purchased in bulk earlier in the week) and then settling down to an evening in to watch a few films.

But no, as I entered the kitchen I was confronted with an almost panicked mother in-law and as I was only able to understand one word in five I failed to grasp what was going on; had I done something wrong to offend my hostess? After ‘hiding in the kitchen for 10 minutes, taking the time to feed the dogs and then pop to the closest shop; which was closed, I pondered what could possibly be happening. I had worked out that someone was visiting, but had no idea why this had sparked the reaction that it had.

Of course everything has a simple explanation and once the guests had left I was able to work out, through various mimes and gestures with the occasional pidgin Polish word thrown in for good measure , that the local priest had just popped in to bless the house. It was probably just easier to keep me hidden away than to try and get me involved, which I’m grateful for.

Conscious that I was still beerless (I know it’s not a word) I thought I would head out again and further afield to one of the other three shops available to me within half a mile. I’m not sure why my normal shop was closed but its quite possible the priest was running to a schedule and the shop was only a couple down on his list, so I had to think ahead and headed for Zombecks’. This may well be the wrong spelling, or even the wrong name, but that’s how I remember it. I do know that the son of the owner worked in Jersey (Channel Islands) for a while so there was a possibility that someone might speak English, however upon arrival it soon became apparent that the vodka was the native language and a slight recognition from the owner of the shop resulted in several Na zdrowies and shots of vodka, This may well be the reason why I’m posting now and making grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and rapid changes in direction of topic. Maybe not!

Thankfully I enjoyed a feast of sour cabbage soup (I will remember what it’s called tomorrow) followed by goulash with barley, accompanied by pickled gherkins; so my constitution should be good, especially if I only drink one of the beers that I bought.

But now to settle down to ‘Le Reine Margor’ or possibly ‘Gods and Generals’, most likely the second option whilst my vision is struggling with subtitles.

Dobranoc!

It was that cold my MP3 player stopped working!

It’s not actually that cold, but it is true that my MP3 player stops working when the temperature is below zero. It took me a while to work it out as I thought the battery was on the blink and the unit was no longer holding a charge, but then after several experiments it appeared that I could get my player to work if I held it in my gloved hand. Strange but true! I’m glad I solved the problem before the Archers omnibus on Sunday.

But that’s not the reason for this post, in fact there is no reason for this post; it’s just a bit of a ramble.

Gosia seems to be doing well in Holland and the work isn’t too hard (maybe it is, I’m making this up), if anything I think she would like to find another job to help make the days pass quicker; I have of course reminded her that I’m still waiting for her to make my crocheted underwear in the hope that would distract her for a while and keep the hooks in motion, but it seems she can’t find a coarse enough yarn for the purpose! Although I understand that as the cold weather hits Holland she has being busy crocheting hats.

To her delight she has discovered that the largest covered market in Europe is on her doorstep and the Turkish market in particular is full of wonderful foods and spices at a remarkably low price, so fresh fruit and veg is the diet of choice; so much for my objections to globalisation! I pointed her in the direction of Food and Forage Hebrides for some great spicy recipe ideas.

I’m looking forward to visiting her as soon as the opportunity arises, I spend my days thinking of excuses so I’m sure I’ll come up with a plan soon:)

My earlier thought about knitted underwear reminded me of a great film that I watched recently ‘The Hairdressers Husband’ which then reminded me to tell you about Beetlypete again, who has started a fascinating series of posts on great films from around the world, which in turn has led me to try and discover some of the wonder he has found in the many titles he recommends. Well worth a look, even besides the film reviews.

As it is Friday today meat is off the menu, a tradition that is rooted in the dominant catholic religion of Poland, not that I mind this at all as I can quite happily survive on a vegetarian diet; only occasionally getting the urge to eat red meat! But I do get this urge and that is why we intend to keep animals for meat in the future, not so that we can gorge ourselves silly with fistfuls of blood dripping flesh, but so we can have a controlled and balanced diet; knowing where our food is from and knowing how it was treated before it reaches our plate is something we want to achieve. We experimented with lamb this year and even though the slaughtering was a little traumatic we needed to go through the process to make sure it would be a viable idea for the future. Gosias family is already converted to this strange meat so I can see a small flock developing this year.

Having conducted a bit of research yesterday following the ‘My Lidl Pony’ scandal I was shocked to find that many small farmers, crofters, smallholders and even some of the bigger players in the market have culled their herds of pigs this year as the cost of feeding is now greater that the price offered by the supermarkets. This article on the animal slaughter, brought to my attention by Stonehead provides more detail, but with an expected pork price rise of between 15 and 50% predicted for next year I’m hoping to buy some good breeding stock to help support my Polish family as pork is by far the most widely eaten meat in this part of Europe. Mind you hopefully one of the consequences of this drastic action will be that pork is produced and sold at a more realistic price in the future, at least it may give some of the smaller free range breeders a chance to sell and make a bit of money for a change.

Mind you these things are all a long way off and I need to get off my lazy backside and get on with the house before I have any time for all this animal husbandry, never mind all the other plans that seem to be floating around in my head. Unfortunately the ten day forecast and predicted low temperatures are still putting me on hold; along with my Walkman 🙂

 

I was in a Tesco cafe and the waitress asked if i would like anything on my burger, I said yes, I’ll have a fiver each way!

I’m not too sure how far internationally the news has spread about the discovery of horsemeat in beef burgers sold in Tesco’s, so apologies if the above joke leaves a blank look on your face. Of course you may not find it funny, the joke that is, which may equally leave you with a blank look!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21038521 This BBC article should provide you with a better overview of the news.

I have to say that this discovery does not surprise me, aware as I am of some of the methods of food processing that the modern world uses to provide us with low cost nutrition. In fact nutrition is probably the wrong word to use as it is often the last thing considered by the manufacturer of a product which simply has to come in under a certain price point and fill the space in your stomach.

The biggest drivers of this need for cheap sustenance seem to be the supermarkets, of course we drive them by our demand, but they seem to have provided the catalyst in the first place; the promise of low cost food all in one convenient location was too much of a temptation for the masses to ignore and now we have reached the point where they dominate the retail sector and supply about 75% of all our food.

Of course with such a dominant position in the food supply chain they can use their power to drive down prices to provide us with low cost food, but their ability to purchase globally enforces unfair market conditions which then leads to a decline in the market of locally grown and reared produce, as they simply cannot compete. That is unless you produce a substandard product and \ or use unorthodox methods to make your product at the price point demanded of your supermarket purchasing department. No wonder horse meat ends up in your burger!

The really worrying thing about this is that if it wasn’t for an Irish government departments decision to carry out an investigation then this could have gone unchecked, which also means that it is more than possible that it has gone unnoticed for many years, even decades and may well effect a bigger part of your shopping basket than you would like to think.

The inability and sometimes reluctance of some countries, even those within the EU, to adhere to the food standards that we have drafted over many years in the UK; it is hard to believe that those without any framework at all have any obligation or inclination to follow our rules. Their rules are those dictated by the supermarkets, and if all they have to do is tick a box to say that the pigs where not fed on other animal products or that the meat is only from one type of animal then the box will be ticked, and very rarely checked.

But I wonder, will an incident like this actually change the shopping habits of people who insist on spending less than 10 % of their wealth on the most essential of all things, or will they simply continue to eat whatever is put in front of them irrelevant of ingredient or nutritional value as long as the price is right?

I could go on, and on and on; as I am sure you have guessed I’m not into globalisation and can only hope that one day the cost of transportation or the mass failure of monoculture will drive the cost of food to a realistic and sustainable price point allowing the majority of people to eat locally produced food once again without the temptation of chickens from China or pigs from Poland sullying our dinner plates. Well I might eat a pig from Poland, but then I hope I will have reared it!

By the way, thanks to Chris Oliver for the joke; it was only a matter of time before they started to fly and also thanks to Friends of the Earth and the USDA for the spattering of statistics I used in this post.

And one final thought, the French and Italians spend almost 7% more (nearly twice as much) on their food than we do in Britain, I wonder if this has anything to do with their gastronomic traditions, love of food and pride of its regional origins?

A recipe

I know its a little off subject, but then the more I look back over my posts the more I realise there is no real subject, although I’m sure my niche in straw bale building and composting toilets will come into it’s own as time passes and the sun begins to shine once again.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a little bit of the food heaven that I live in. I have eaten this cake on several occasions and recently put in a special request, so thanks to Gosia for humouring me and sharing her secrets; even though the recipe can be attributed to many famous chefs on the web, Gosias is the best one I’ve tasted 🙂

To keep it simple, for me, it’s a two bowl affair. A wet bowl and a dry bowl; so the first thing you need is two bowls.

For the first (wet) bowl you will need:

3 eggs, whites and yolks separated

200g sugar

300g cooked beetroot (about 3 medium sixed) Wizzed up in a blender

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1 teaspoon vanilla extract or if you have pods go for it, use them now!

200ml olive oil (or veg oil)

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At this point I should explain that all measurements are estimated and a deviation of 10 even 20% is allowed. Gosia didn’t say this, but I watched what was going on and reading the scales wasn’t one of them 🙂

So start with the eggs, separating the yolks from the whites, or the other way round, and add the sugar to the whites; get a mixer and spin them up until the sugar dissolves. DSC05973DSC05974DSC05975

Now add the yolks, beetroot, vanilla and oil; continue to mix

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I once had a shirt that colour, but not for long!

Moving swiftly on from my fashion mistakes, take your second (dry) bowl

Sieve and add the following

180g plain flour

50 g coco powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch salt

Mix them up

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Add them to the wet bowl

Ok, so far so good, just give me a minute to check what happened next.

That’s it, remember not to mix them too much as this may make the cake ‘heavy’ although Gosia did also say that she doesn’t believe this; but then she didn’t mix it too much, so what do you believe?

Now for money saving tip number two, number one was to use the water from boiling the beetroot to make barszcz czerwony. but number two is to use old butter or margarine wrappers to line your baking tin.

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Then pour in your mixture, making sure lick your fingers clean of any that tries to escape, including that left in the bowl.

Throw it in the oven at 160-170°c for about an hour, maybe 50 minutes is it’s a good oven (check with a wooden skewer, it should be dry as you pull it out) , let it cool and eat

Crumbs

I might add some more pics tomorrow as we debate whether its better with cream or custard; we tried cream and it went down pretty well :), but I’d like to give custard a try, if there is any left.

Food, glorious homemade food

As the smells from the kitchen drift through the house I type contentedly, smiling to myself; in the knowledge that my belly will be full of wonderful, traditional, Polish food, sometime soon.

Pierogi (ruskie and kapusta), golabki, sznycel, krokiety, kotlety, krupnik (not the honey vodka), bigos, kapusniak, to name but a few of my favourite Polish dishes, I enjoy them all so much that my Polish vocabulary centres around food more than any other subject; I can talk a good meal 🙂

Of course I’m lucky to be looked after so well by Gosia and her mother, both fantastic cooks who still use traditional methods, to create food for a household of seven people fit for a king. How do they do it?

I think the key is tradition, a tradition that has evolved from simple living and survival; old fashioned values and the hardship of communism. A way of life that Gosia and I want to return to, without the communism 🙂

Whilst discussing the subject earlier today it suddenly dawned on me that the household is surprisingly self sufficient, even though I was involved in the planting of the vegetables in the spring and the harvest of the potatoes later in the year, so much more went on around us whilst we were busy with the house.

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Today’s activity is great example as the cottage kitchen industry swings into action for Christmas. Cakes, pastas and pastries are all made with flour from grain grown in a shared family field, Gosia and I took the grain to the local mill to have it milled into flour; 100Kg of grain provides you with 50Kg of flour and 50Kg of husks which is then used as chicken feed. The mill owner takes a little over £2 for his part. And of course you can’t bake without eggs, so it’s just as well that there are roughly twenty ex battery hens hiding out in the old barn at the back of the house who’s diet is supplemented with the grain waste. Any jam and marmalade fillings will be courtesy of the many fruit trees and bushes we have back in Pstrongova, ok the sugar was bought in to aid in the preserving, but that’s about it.

The Pierogi will be stuffed with a number of fillings, Cabbage with wild mushrooms (kapusta), plumbs (ze sliwkami) and cottage cheese with mashed potatoes (Ruskie, my favourite); with the exception of the cheese everything else was grown or foraged. The cabbage will be from the 100Kg or so of sauerkraut that is made every year from the summer harvest, the mushrooms come from our autumn foraging, the potatoes again are from the harvest earlier in the year, with enough stored to keep the family going until next year and the plumbs will be from our trees that we preserved when we had a glut.

Barszcz, white and red will be prepared from scratch, again using our own flour and beetroot, not to mention onions, garlic, carrots, root parsley and other vegetables. And then there is a vast array of pickles and preserves; gherkins, peppers, mushrooms, a variety of salads, cordial and compotes’.

In fact the only things that will be bought in will be the meat, with the exception of our own lamb, the fish, a few condiments and dairy products. Although you don’t have to go back too many years when this was all produced in house with a cow and pigs sharing the barn with the chickens; it was the only way to survive in a communist Poland. Move out to the smaller villages where we are building our house and it is still the norm.

All in all we reckon the family unit is about 75% self sufficient in food; hopefully we can up that number once we finish the house and start working our own land and take on a few animals, but then I’m sure I’ll be telling you all about that as and when it happens.

Got to go now, fresh made noodles with apple sauce on the menu and I’m getting hungry typing this 🙂

Lazy winter week

I know that the norm is to have lazy summer days, but we were busy, so as the snow piles up and the temperatures drop, settled in the warm comfort of Gosia parents home in Rzemien; we thought we would have a lazy week. I say lazy as we haven’t done any physical work or completed any practical tasks, other than change the antifreeze on the van. Instead I’ve read blogs, added a few posts and sorted through the thirty thousand plus photos that have accumulated of the years. When I say sorted I mean filtered the duplicates and tried to add some kind of meaningful tags to those that remain to help me sort through them in future. There is still much work to do, but at least my backup has shrunk in size by 30GB and I’ve being reminded of many happy memories as I filtered through the poorly referenced filing system that I have created since the age of digital photography took hold of me.

The dogs have also benefitted from this state of torpor as I have settled into the routine of taking them for a walk before breakfast and then again in the afternoon before darkness sets in, their usual freedom restricted due to the proximity of the road. I remember my sister once telling me that dogs will appreciate you more if they don’t have your constant company or attention, and I have to agree; they live quite happily in the old kitchen with the warmth of the wood burner and the chance to sneak a treat as Gosias mum cooks up the next fantastic meal. When I do appear at the door at the scheduled time I’m greeted as if I’d being away for a year and the ensuing chorus of whimpering and barks leave me no other choice but to take them for a good long walk.

I’m working on a page about the dogs so keep your eyes on the top menu of the blog, I thought they needed more of a permanent place rather than just a passing post, so watch this (that) space.

Gosia, on the other hand, always finds something creative to do with her time and along with crocheting several hats, scarfs and about a third of a 72 panel cot blanket, she has made cakes, biscuits and pizzas. I will try and convince her to let me blog about it one day as I think the odd recipe or crochet lesson would be a welcome addition to my otherwise mundane mumbles; let me know what you think? I’ll need help to convince her.

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Teabags, Marmite and mustard

The three things that any food wholesaler should be importing into Poland, because try as I might I can’t find them, not even in Tesco; I’d like to make it clear that Tesco was a last resort as I hold them and many other supermarkets responsible for the demise of country life and community, so I avoid them whenever possible (I’m sure I’ll post about it one day).

So it comes down to three things, three things that I crave and need in order to make a life in Poland, and if I ever found myself on that famous Radio 4 island and had to narrow it down to just one, it would be teabags; English teabags, strong teabags, teabags that turn the water a mahogany colour, not some insipid dishwater shade of grey. I think it’s a conspiracy by the Scottish company of Lipton not to make a proper English teabag as their brand dominates much of Europe, depriving me, an Englishman; nay a Yorkshireman, of a decent cup of tea!

But don’t worry, I came prepared, several visits over the years before our final migration readied me for the future and 1200 teabags, 5 jars of Marmite and an assortment of English mustards made the journey with us.

However if you are heading this way then spare me a thought and a little space in your suitcase and pop in a few spare teabags 🙂

Sheep, mutton, hogget and lamb.

Our first attempt at keeping livestock

As I mentioned in Ba ba Black sheep we kept a couple of lambs over the summer to fatten up for the freezer and we intend to do the same again next year, possibly keeping a couple of ewes long term, I thought it would be a good idea to document things in a little more detail.

Armed with a book I found a book on ebay a couple of years ago ‘ Backyard Sheep Farming’ I thought we had enough information to get started; first things first though, lets look at the equipment list:

  • Fencing: We decided on electric as it was cheap and flexible, very important if you intend to move your sheep about. We managed to pick up 500m of wire, 100 insulators and an energizer that can be powered by battery or mains for less than £60. We had wooden posts left over and reclaimed from when we set out our batter boards marking the house foundations and I utilised the orchard trees if they formed the perimeter of our paddocks. I also just happened to have a couple of old spare car batteries that I have kept in cold storage, just waiting for a purpose. Once charged up I alternated the two batteries once a month to keep the system live.
  • Housing: As a Yorkshire man I had not imagined keeping the sheep indoors, even if that’s what people do in Poland, however it does get hot in the summer so I knocked up a shelter against the side of the old house to provide shade if required. The shelter is about a meter and a half square made from old shuttering planks and some ashfelt left over from the foundation damp course, all very thrifty stuff.
  • Food: What’s green and grows all over the place? Grass, and we have plenty of it; although I had read that sheep don’t like long grass, so I topped the long grass in the orchard with the tractor a couple of weeks before the lambs arrived. We also invested in a ‘salt lick’ which supplements the trace elements if they are not present in the normal diet. The salt lick was placed in the shelter. We also used a bucket and plastic trough for water, both positioned in shaded areas to stop the water heating up in the sun. We did splash out £10 on the trough, but it later became one of our mixing bowls for the earth plaster on the house, no doubt it will be a trough again in the summer 🙂
  • Lambs: Apparently you are able to buy lambs on the black market in Poland if you know the right people. We bought two and completed all the paperwork (which I won’t bore you with) They were about 3 months old and weaned. the lambs cost around £120 for the pair, although this cost was shared with our friends Steve and Dorota; the deal being that we would keep them as long as they arranged the slaughter; a deal which worked out well.

I initially set out the fence with two wires spaced at 30cm and 45cm from the ground, providing about 150 square meters of grassland around an old wild plumb tree for shade along with the shelter that I had built; this took me about 3 hours to complete.  After the short journey from their previous home, quite stressful for all I think, we reversed the van to the paddock, let them find their way out and closed the fence behind them; easy!

I did stay and observe them for some time to check on their general well being and to make sure that the fence did the trick. I have read in several books that electric fencing is not the best solution for sheep as the wool can insulate them, the one thing that isn’t often mentioned though is that sheep are quite intelligent and once they have had there first shock (about 30 minutes after they arrived) they stayed away from the fence; or at least for the first month or so 🙂 I did become a little worried in the first week as they didn’t appear to be drinking, but then the water level started to slowly go down, I did later read that they get most of the water they need form the grass, especially when its freshly grown. However we still provided fresh water on a regular basis and if you watched them for long enough you would see them taking a slurp or two. As they lived relatively close by to the stable they were checked every day at least once, more often than not several times a day. They became quite a draw for any visitors, especially if they had children; many a time I made the mad dash to turn off the electric fence before a small hand reached out to touch the sheep:) Unfortunately I didn’t always remember to turn it back on again which may explain the few times that an escape took place.

After about 10 days I decided to expand the fence to cover the entire orchard, splitting it in two to create a second paddock. The intention was to graze them in one half, then the other, to prevent the build up of worms and parasites; in reality this never happened and they ended up with around two acres of grass and orchard to charge around in, more than adequate I thought, but I will plan better next year.

We then settled down to a long hot summer and with the generous help of our neighbors added beat leafs and oats to their diet, only a fist or hand full each day. They also enjoyed a couple of young fruit trees that I had inadvertently left within their reach along with windfall apples and plumbs; seeing the plumbs go in and the stones spit out was funny to see. We also discovered that they had a fondness for dried bread which then became the treat food that they would follow you anywhere for. In the end we could call them from over 50 meters away and they would come running (bouncing) towards you for the promise of a little dried morsel. This allowed us to open the fence up every now and again and let then run free around the barn and stable and the greener grass on the other side; I even took them for a walk to see the house and surrounding area, well over a miles walk!  I have since read that they are as intelligent as dogs (don’t tell Jackie and Scooby) and can recognise faces, which goes some way to explaining their tame behavior  Incidentally the dogs showed the lambs no aggression and we had a few entertaining face off’s between them and the young male who always seemed to chase the dogs off in the end 🙂

In the end though we knew they had to go, it was something that we had planned right from the start and especially as the male was starting to get boisterous;  I was worried about my ability to handle him anymore, even with a loaf of dried bread to hand 🙂 I wont go into detail of the slaughter as there is not much to tell, it was over and done with quickly and we split the carcasses so that we could share out the meat with Steve and Dorota. We did our own butchering and have enjoyed several glorious meals to date; a couple of roasts, a curry and a shepards pie; the meat is sweet and tender,although I would like to hang the carcass next time to improve the flavour and make butchering easier.

For the record we collected over 50Kg of meat, for £120 plus capital expenditure of say £80; which should be be spread over say five years; £16 per year, so 50Kg for £136 = £2.72 per Kg. The cost to cure two fleeces was around £38 if you include transport costs.

Lessons learnt and plans for next year

  • The electric fence works well, but can be breached if they really want to, so keep your sheep tame(ish) and they will be less likely to go too far if they break for freedom. You could of course build an expansive fencing system.
  • Make sure that you have separate paddocks to allow the movement of the sheep to prevent worms and parasites; I have further reading to do on the subject but the principle should be followed.
  • Buy some Verm-x, organically certified worming treatment.
  • Make sure that any male lambs we buy are castrated and the tails docked (male and female)
  • Buy two ewes from a registered source for future breeding, preferably a recognised rare or traditional breed.
  • Use an abattoir for the slaughter and slaughter later in the year, November onward. Consider keeping one on as a Hogget (12-18 months old) before slaughter.
  • Make sure the carcass is whole and hang for a least 10 days, as long as the slaughter is done later in the year it should be possible to do this at home.
  • Keep the fleeces, I want that jacket Gosia 🙂

Anything to add? Any pearls of wisdom will be received with gratitude, especially if specific to Poland and in English 🙂

And if your interested and want to read more there are some great things on the web as well: The Accidental Smallholder  is a top read covering a wide variety of smallholder subjects.