And bacon

The last week seems to have been swallowed up by the same darkness that has settled so resolutely into the mornings these days. My alarm clock slowly brightens for half an hour before it starts chirping like a bird, but the first thing I see is stars outside my window. My morning run is not happening in those conditions so I have to find time to get outside in the middle of the day. I’m not especially good at making that happen, I did today and it was so mild and sunny at midday that even the bees were out shoring up the winter stocks from the feral borage that lingers in the garden.

DSC_3656 DSC_3657 DSC_3659

An hour later it was gray and wet again, and I was feeling especially satisfied with myself. But I’m jumping ahead with this talk of today; we have some catching up to do. Gah, these photos from making blood sausage seem like an age ago:

DSC_3599 DSC_3601 DSC_3603 DSC_3604

Pig butchering generally went as well as we could have hoped for our first take, but man did it take it out of me. It was physically taxing on a whole different level than say, butchering chickens, in a way that I hadn’t fully anticipated. Which makes perfect sense when you figure they probably weighed in the neighborhood of 250 pounds and there were exactly two of us on the crew… and really more like one and a half if we’re being fair. We spent a full day on the main task of getting them ready for the butcher shop, but there was plenty more that spilled into the next couple days – making blood sausage and curing jowls and burying guts and the piles of laundry.

(The laundry. After two washes of our work clothes with OxyClean and a vinegar rinse and everything else I could think of, they still smelled unmistakably like pig guts. I seriously considered just burning them but sucked it up and bought some Tide. I never thought I would prefer that awful perfume to anything but I can honestly say it was a relief to open the washer and smell anything other than warm innards. They have since spent some long hours outside to mellow.)

So far, the blood sausage has been our only taste. It was delicious, but it’s done. The face bacon will be ready for sampling very soon. And in about a week, we’ll have a whole freezer full. And then I’m hoping I can exhale, and believe that we really did manage to pull it off – from fencing to escapee weiners to the endless hand-grinding of field peas to pig butchery. (Although really it will be when the friends who bought in report back that it tastes good.)

I really am looking forward to that first chop.

And bacon.