Thursday, March 21, 2013

The pig, the mouse and the swallow

Yesterday we took delivery of our pig. Or to be more accurate our half pig, nicely packaged into freezer bags, all 32 chops, 24 steaks, 16 joints, 2 packs of ribs, 1 fillet, 1 kidney, 5kgs of casserole/sausage meat and 4 trotters (must have been a freak of nature). We knew the piggy before he met his destiny, so are happy he lived a free-range life and has travelled very few miles. I’m not sure total self-sufficiency is something we could ever achieve, but this is the next best thing. If anyone has any great recipes for the trotters do please let me know – Ade is keen to try them as they are a delicacy, but I confess to never having eaten or cooked them before, thank you. I may have been a squirrel in a previous life as I am never more content than when my food cupboards and freezers are chock full, plus I am a real hoarder. We shouldn’t need to buy meat, except the occasional free-range chicken for quite a while now.

french village diaries pigs
Hello piggy
What did slightly spoil my good mood was finding our walnut store had been broken into. I do appreciate it has been a particularly cold, wet and horrid winter, but I was one unhappy bunny to find Mr Mouse had found our walnut crates. Thankfully this has been the first time in eight years that we have had this problem, but I will admit to setting a trap (or rather getting Ade to set it) last night. Live and let live – so long as you are not invading my space and my food storage! Having never set one before we wondered what food to bait it with, cheese – everyone knows mice love cheese, or chocolate – I was sure I had read this was good? In the end Ade used a shelled walnut and Mr greedy tempted by the fact he didn’t have to crack the shell himself fell for it – gotcha! The trap has been reset just in case word had got out to the village mice that our bumper crop of 2012 walnuts was up for grabs.

french village diaries walnuts harvest
These walnuts are all mine. Thieves will be prosecuted.

Now for something extremely exciting that happened this morning, while sipping our coffee in the garden the first swallow swooped overhead – yes! I wish you could have seen the silly, happy dance I performed up and down the garden; as for me this really does mark a turning point in the seasons. Nature is so much cleverer than we are and if the swallows feel now is the right time to return then it can only mean spring will again return and the weather will get better. Now to walk the dog – in the drizzle, oh well!