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Say hello to the new Boy Patrick
He has abit of growing to do.But then he has a job to do
Image taken on 2/5/2005 7:44


What a good looking chap he is. And what a good choice of name too!

‘If you see a hog, kick it.
It’s either out, has been out,
or is thinking about getting out.’

Yes, they do think. Or so I am told. “Very intelligent”... “Smarter than dogs”.

Well, useful animals. Self sufficient. Omnivorous. Able to metabolize almost anything that lives or once lived. A large digestive system and an equally large body to carry it around. Hams and hocks. Not to mention insulin and sow’s ears.

A pig none the less. A hardy, efficient food machine. Nothing wasted either on them or from them. In the heyday of the family pig, literally every part of the animal was used ‘everything but the squeal”. I’ve heard that an ideal pot greaser can be made from a square of hide and fat cut from the base of the tail. The tail being the handle.

That other white meat doesn’t inspire Aaron Copeland suites. ("Pork, the other white meat" and "Beef, it's what's for dinner" are two US ad campaigns, well known here. The Aaron Copeland bit 'Rodeo' is the soundtrack for the beef ad) Not for lack of flavor or variety you understand. You will never taste a sweeter, moister chop than you will from a home raised pig. The roasts and tenderloins can be eaten two or three times a week with satisfaction. The fat is white and smooth and sometimes so soft that it can be crushed with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. A list of recipes for trimmings and sausage would have no end, and while some require cultural indoctrination and a taste developed in innocent childhood (blood sausage or head cheese for example), most are wonderful. There aren’t enough ribs.

But the bacon, oh the bacon. Much maligned by the cholesterophobic, vilified by those who know only its weak cousin wrapped in plastic in the supermarket. It is the manna, the essential stuff of the pig, nay, the essential stuff of life. You may think that I exaggerate or that my senses have been impaired by reduced circulation to certain regions of my brain. But until you have experienced true bacon; from a home fed pig, cured with the rind on, in finely ground salt and brown sugar, at 39°F for two weeks and then smoked with maple wood for twenty four hours at 100°F, sliced thick and then slowly browned. Until you have been there you cannot know, truly know, the happiness, contentment and serenity that flows from a side of bacon hanging in your cellarway, and also know that if anything I understate its importance in the grand scheme of things.

Only time and patience are needed. I built a smokehouse in a weekend from “stuff I had laying around” and it stands like a shrine at the edge of my woods. Many quiet fall nights find me watching the sky and feeding the fire. Bacon and hams and turkeys. It’s kept me from mischief.

The pigs downfall then isn’t in what it provides. It’s an attitude problem. Watch the way they walk, the careless shrug of the shoulders, the way they watch you. Don’t look too deeply into their eyes. You may think with some guilt that you will soon pack them into the freezer, wrapped in white paper, to be eaten at your whim. The shock comes when you realize that they are quietly considering the size and tenderness of your butt. Right now, and not later, without any guilt at all. Oh we shouldn’t look, we may see ourselves.

There is an old story about a farmer who after feeding his pigs, has a heart attack and falls in the pen. When their grist is finished, the pigs eat him. Yes, a good reputation is gained by many actions and lost by one.

Now a goat in that same situation will eat your pants. Sheep will walk all over you.
Chickens will peck you bloody.
But a cow, a cow will lick your face. The Bovine is deeply concerned with your well being and knows that your fortune and theirs are intertwined. They need you and they know it. Long long ago, the ancestors of the modern cow met man. Great, shaggy, long horned Auroch cattle and hairy men with sticks and stones. At the time, the cattle had a slight advantage in reasoning and figured ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. And so they guaranteed their survival and created Herdsmen. A bovine insurance policy for the survival of the fittest. It was one of the last decisions they had to make. Forget all that stuff I said about bacon. Buy a good cow. I know of a pair of Milking Shorthorns, three years old. Len.

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