Actually it’s been a pretty good week all in all. On Wednesday we got some of our crias sheared. There’s always a bit of a discussion about whether we should or we shouldn’t cria shear, but the fleece does seem to benefit if you do shear them. They do look really cute if slightly bonkers after shearing.
Thursday saw the birth of what finally proved to be the last cria of 2013 with the arrival of Imogen’s cria. Imogen is one of our agisted females and I have to say that I worry more about those girls than any of ours. Ridiculous isn’t it! All went very smoothly, but it did make us look a lot more closely at the two remaining girls yet to drop. One of them was our special girl, Fallowfield Athena, and the other was another agisted female. Athena did really look pregnant, the other one less so, but after doing spits at the weekend, we realised that neither had held on to their pregnancies. Looking on the bright side, at least it means that when Mike and I disappear on Friday for a couple of days – yes we are having time off! – We won’t be worrying about a possible birth in our absence.
Then on Friday, we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary (not 39th as I had originally thought it was!) There was no way that either Mike or I could have imagined when we were married all those years ago that we would be celebrating 38 years on by curing bacon and making sausages from our pig that we had just got back from the butchers. Ten out of ten for Simpsons of Cockfield near Staindrop for their sensitive handling of the pigs and excellent butchery. They also made us the best black pudding from the pig’s blood that I have ever tasted. I exaggerate not! So guys, if you are trying to find the perfect Christmas present for your better half, just follow Mike’s example and buy a couple of pigs! No brainer actually!
Curing the bacon, pancetta and prosciutto was really easy and great fun – not tasted any of it yet of course but I would recommend you check out www.sausagemaking.org for all your supplies. One of the frequent criticisms about rare breed pork is that it is too fatty. Our pigs completely bucked the trend as it was the leanest pork that I have ever seen. We made quite a lot of sausage, but I suspect that we might get the butchers to do this for us next year. I rather think that theirs might be superior to ours, although ours do look the part. One of the best bits though was making chorizo last night. If it tastes half as good as it looks then we are on to a winner.
Mike had a trip over the border on Sunday with Houghton King as he had a couple of hot dates with two of the alpacas belonging to John and Juliet Miller of the Border Mill. It was good to have a catch up with them and to hear of all the exciting developments with their business.
Then just to round off the week, we had a visitor from Scotland yesterday who bought 6 of our females who will be the start of his new breeding herd. It’s really good when you get someone who is so positive about alpacas and wants to start with a quality herd. So yet more of our girls will be going north of the border in a short while. Not quite like exporting to Sweden but exporting nonetheless!