Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meat Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our meat saga! Before we got to the butchering of the beast we slaughtered last time I posted, we said goodbye to our second calf. The usual manoeuvring ensued to get her onto the truck. Cows don't like to be singled out. They are herding animals and they prefer to move around in a mob. So even though we only needed one heifer (that's the term for a girl cow that hasn't had babies yet!) from our small herd, we still needed to move them all up to the cattle yard where we'd separate them. 
The deed done, the cows and bull were shuffled back to their paddock.
Thursday II (another original name!) looked through the yard rails at me with a very forlorn look... 
And just like that, she was loaded on the same truck that brought her mother to the farm just over two years ago.

The following day she was put into a pen and auctioned along with a couple of our neighbour's steers. The price we got for her was very reasonable, considering the poor state of the cattle market. Heifers don't usually raise as much money as steers, so our neighbour took great pleasure in letting us know that it was his steers that made our little heifer look so good. Thanks Graham!
I love visiting the cattle auction. It's the little things that fascinate me. There is an oversupply of testosterone. The fashions are impressive and the auctioneers' voices are loud and booming as they compete with the bellowing of the cattle.
The origin of the cattle is listed on a sign on the pen fence. And here's our sign. 
Thursday II with her sale details stamped on her backside.
One last look and she was sold! Bought by another local farmer. 
The auctioning is frantic. Heads nod imperceptibly, fingers raise in agreement and you never even get to see who the final buyer is.
I took this photograph of these four beautifully coloured beasts. My decorator's eye fancied the red one as a floor mat.
There are all sorts of interesting folk at the auction. Like I said, the fashions are always interesting. The fellow with the black shirt and red hair asked me if I wanted his phone number.... I said 'thanks, but no thanks'.
It was Andre's first visit to a cattle sale. Here he is with our lovely neighbour, Graham. Graham is nearing 70 and he still works the cattle sales, climbing over pen rails, prodding and moving the beasts around for the prospective buyers to view from all angles. Farmers never retire!
It seems our month has been taken up with cows and meat. The morning after the auction, we were up very early to get started on the cutting up of the beast that had been hanging in the mobile cool room for 21 days. The sun was just breaking as we grabbed our coffees and headed into the shed. 
Isn't this lovely? We never tire of the view. The cabin is nearing completion. Very soon we'll be taking bookings for the B&B that we're turning it into.
If you sit on the cabin verandah, then this is the view that will greet you in the mornings. 
Our butcher arrived on time at 6.30am and the work began. He hooked the cool room up and reversed it right up to the shed door.
Tables were arranged 'just so' and Chad began to do what he does best. He turned four huge lumps of meat into delectable cuts, just ready for cooking!

I love Osso Bucco. The meat is sticky and oh so tasty. It's the beef equivalent of a lamb shank in my opinion, except the shank is a shin and it's much bigger!

As Chad cut, I bagged the the meat while Jayne and Andre' labelled and stacked the different cuts into piles.
We are set for steak!
Chad made around 12kgs of sausages. Watching him turn the long worms into links is amazing. I must learn how to do that! 
Two full tables later and our meat is all ready for the freezer. 
Although we had regular sausages made by the butcher, we made our own Boerewors too. Somehow it takes much longer than when Chad does it! 
There are spices to be scorched and mixed. Frans looks after the coriander seeds on the stove. 

Kneading the meat to mix all the ingredients is next. 

Finally we start feeding the sausage mix through the skins. This is a slow process. One that we will hopefully speed up next time with a faster sausage filler! eBay, here I come!
The swirls of sausage grow as we keep going.
Besides sausages, we made dozens of burgers and here Granny Pat is making meat balls for pasta and soup. Once the weather cools, we'll make our annual supply of biltong. It's a bit like beef jerky, but has many more spices.
By now you'll be used to my ravings about living from the land and making the most of what we grow. To show that we're not exclusive beef eaters, here's a pic of a pie we had a couple of weeks ago. Yep, little Bunny Fufu (or Phu Phu or Phoo Phoo!) is no longer hopping through our lettuce beds! The pastry decorations were a nod to the hunter.
The vegetable garden is giving us plenty of zucchinis at the moment. We're eating them every which way! The ones we forget to pick that grow into huge marrows, we blitz and freeze for soups and relish.
I have to restrain myself from pulling spent plants out of the veggie garden when I know there's one last harvest to be gathered from them. Below are a number of scraggly looking dill flowers. But look... they're going to seed! Just what I want. I collect the seeds for future planting or use them in the kitchen. They're delicious in potato salads and I have been known to toss a few into my bread dough mix.
A morning in the vegetable garden towards the end of Summer usually results in the compost bins getting quite full!
The fennel is gone, leaving lovely clean, empty spots to sow new seeds.
Spinach, lettuce and other green leaves make it into the chook house where the baby chickens, mother duck and ducklings are given a chlorophyl treat!
We are light on with our egg supply at the moment. Well, it's been a while since we had more than 7 eggs a day. Some days we only have three. This spells CONSPIRACY!

Granny Pat collects the eggs each day and gets most frustrated when she knows the hens are hiding their eggs from her. Frans, by chance, spotted a new hole in the side of a fresh hay roll. He hesitantly put his hand into the hole
On his mind of course was 'snake'...
This was his reward! Clever girls aren't they?!
For now it seems the heat has passed us and the promise of Autumn is just around the corner. Till next time... enjoy the beautiful weather. 

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