Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yowsa - a farm-intensive weekend!

It must be spring!

After a fall and winter spent focused on new school, new city digs, and the whirlwind day job of Mark’s, the cycle of life is spinning full-force all at once here at Stop Sign Farm.

On Friday, came our first pig harvest. Performed by abattoir extraordinaire, Vashon’s own Farmstead Meatsmith, it was a surprisingly smooth and pleasant experience. I’ve resisted raising pigs for several years due to a sizable stack of harvest-day horror stories I’ve collected from friends and colleagues, so Friday’s humane and undramatic slaughter was a real relief. The hanging weight of our pork came in at 450 lbs – we done good! Thanks Tiffany!

While the abattoirs were doing their thing, I was doing mine in the greenhouse. Tiffany had finished the clean-up job I had started and now it was time to transplant and plant anew! Nothing like digging in the dirt and putting future salad into the soil to feel like life’s worth living.

Saturday, Farmstead called to say the butchering process was complete, and we headed over to start bagging cuts and hauling it into the car. And hauling. And hauling. Wow! Pork chops, roasts, and spare ribs – oh my!

Once all the basic meat was safely bagged up and in the cool car, it was time for our curing lesson. Brandon showed us how we’ll turn slabs of marbled pig into bacon over the coming week, how to cure the cheeks for Guaniciale, and how we’ll turn a giant, specially-cut leg into the delicacy of Prosciutto over the coming 2 years.

Let’s just say the SSF kitchen will be looking a little different for a while.

This morning I slipped out of bed at 6:30 and began pulling bags and tubs of wrapped meat into the house, separating it all into piles, then reusing the bags and tubs as my piles dictated, readying it for our rented freezer locker.

Halfway through, I got the word from Tiffany – baby lamb twins were just born out in the pasture! So, amidst the harvest of 5 months of pig-raising, I stopped to fill a bucket with warm water and molasses so that we could treat Mama Ewe right and make sure these new little ones got started off in the right direction.

Feels like Spring at Stop Sign is in full swing.