Nana Irene is the worlds best pie maker !
Official and fact, am telling you . Anyone within a whiffs distance of one of these fresh pies coming out of the oven is going to get grabbed hook line and sinker. She has her pastry down to a fine art and whatever goes into the pie is always a winner, my freezer always has an apple or meat pie “a la Irene”..
I am a lucky daughter in law trust me. So needless to say we love it when Nana comes for the week or weekend .
I think Nana Irene is one of our most frequent visitors and that’s not a bad thing especially with her kitchen skills .. oh and did I say she makes an epic glazed ham. Anyway enough about pies , for now and on with the month of September.
It was another busy month, and mainly one about livestock , I had been looking for some Tamworth weaners( 3 month old weaned piglets) for a while, and happened upon some for sale not far from Grobdale.
So off me and Lauren went, one Friday morning and came back with 4 beautiful red haired gilts (female pig not yet had piglets)
The pigs soon earned names. Nora because she was nosey and noisy, then the others quickly became Edna, Rita and Lottie for no particular reasons, we just like old lady names it seems, and they suited them.
We chose Tamworths to try first, as we were looking for a hardy breed with good meat qualities .We liked what we had read and heard, that they are the closest to our original wild boars , and that since they were not that popular after the war they had not been used in breeding programs to come up with the best commercial pigs .Therefore they were the most pure ,piggy pigs and we wanted some..
Oh and apparently they make the best bacon !
We decided that our favourite of the fab four was Nora , she is so sociable and easy to be around so she was our choice to keep and try to breed from once she was old enough , more about that later.
The pigs have turned out to be Andy’s favourite, he loves feeding them and being their “scratch’o’matic”, pigs absolutely love a good scratch don’t you know..
The next purchase was a starter flock of Herdwick sheep. Again we wanted something hardy , able to cope with the outdoors life here in Dumfries and Galloway up on the Glen and so Lakeland hill sheep it was .
I found a few for sale in Dalbeatie a few miles away and Tom our shepherding friend offered to help me check them out and bring them back if we liked them . Off I went cash in my pocket smile on my face . I knew the breed were a chunky kind of sheep however they are most certainly sturdy units and so when I returned to the farm a couple of hours later with four sheep in the trailer Andy couldn’t believe the size of them.. he thought I’d bought 4 rams !
The next day Tom and I returned to pick up Henry an unrelated, proven and registered pedigree Ram , a most handsome chap ! the boyfriend for my lovely ladies, and completion of my new sheep family all we needed now was to make some lovely Herdwick lambs to build the flock and try the meat( if we got too many ram lambs). Henry has the most lovely temperament, Andy I think was a bit impressed …
The next animals to arrive were sheep however not ours , we rent out some of our land and my 5 new sheep were about to be proper out ranked with 300 ! Easycares ..
I can only see a wash care label attached to a sheep when I hear that breed name it always makes me smile however apparently its nothing to do with the wool wash cycle required its all about how easy they are to lamb and care for, they even moult their own fleece !
Getting the sheep from the huge lorry at the main road down our lane proved to be a bit hairy but a lot of fun. The sheep all looked a bit grubby and green when they arrived,
however after a couple of days they perked up and all the fresh grass and fresh air really brought them round.
So now we were a farm, I think.
We have chickens, pigs, sheep and a dog all we need now is a tractor and apparently a whole list of other machinery and gadgetry ..
By this time the garden and poly tunnel were giving it there all, and producing all sorts of lovely fruit and veg.
Every time I looked there was something else to pick or pickle.
The poly tunnel had been planted up by the lovely Naomi and we inherited the most prolific cucumber and courgette plants known to mankind ! None of it went to waste, we ate , pickled , chutneyed and made new friends with gifts of fresh or preserved garden produce.
The “glutney” recipe is a River cottage favourite of mine because you can adapt it to use up pretty much anything you have a glut of .. This is possibly the start of my ‘Self preservation’ range ..
We are still eating these jars of lovlieness in February as I write this , though I do confess to using the odd jar as a thank you or slight bribe.
A chance conversation in the local post office and the passing of a jar of jam procured a bounty of windfall apples to supplement my little pigs diet ..
Anyway, none of the apples found their way into one of Nana’s famous pies but am proper looking forward to making pies with all this meat we are cultivating here at Grobdale ..
Shepherds pie , pork pie mmm going to be good ….