Sweet and Heart came to #Blissfarm for the sole purpose of being fattened up for slaughter.
People told me not to name my dinner. Names are too personal. It would be better to keep some distance.
That seemed contrary to what we’re trying to do with our #countrylife with our massive veggie patch and our animals: grow our own and approach sustainability, one carrot and, well, one lamb at a time.
‘Sweet’ and ‘Heart’ were chosen because when they were delivered, they were frightened, skinny, dirty little lambs, so their names were an affirmation.
They might have been on the bottom of the farm rung but I like to think they enjoyed the three months they were with us, guzzling the green pasture and the bread treats they could grab before they were bucked by Webster, the greedy goat.
Three months wasn’t long enough for me to learn to lamb whisper though. Sweet and Heart’s fate was ingrained in their DNA. They kept their wary distance. But I once managed to woo Sweet to the fence and hand feed him bread until his little soft lips nibbled at my fingers. Other times, a little less certain, he’d stand half a metre from me and stomp his hoof, demanding bread. Heart was never so confident and always stood behind his smaller friend waiting for the castoffs.
I booked them in to Craddoc Abattoir for their date with destiny.
When the time grew nigh, we herded them into the pigsty for safe keeping: the equivalent of the last supper with knee high grass and untouched clover.
We collared the animoolz in preparation for their journey – a little practice for what was to come – running back and forth, hoping the neighbours weren’t watching, corralling, and the classic rugby tackle came in handy.
Dear Sweet, ever more compliant was the easiest to catch, but Heart true to form, always knew this day would come, resisted to the end.
Delivery at Cradoc is Sunday any time between 12 noon and 5 pm and being inexperienced in these matters, we started our preparations early.
Our hopes for a low stress departure were not to be. There was just more of the same: running back and forth, hoping the neighbours weren’t watching, corralling, and the classic rugby tackle.
By some miracle, eventually they both tore into the tiny pig home to hide from us and from where we were able to grab and carry each sheep to the ute.
The most difficult part of the process, was not that the animals were going to slaughter but the stress we caused getting them there. Theirs and ours. My little Sweet had the hardest time of it. Conversely, Heart recovered well and stood on the back of the ute and contentedly snacked on the bread we threw in with them.
There’s a lot city folk have to learn about farm life. That’s me and the Lovely Deputy.
On this Sunday, we discovered 1. Lambs are really agile 2. Lambs are really heavy 3. We have a lot more to learn about herding animoolz so as to reduce stress.
Google is our friend and each experience with the animoolz is an opportunity to learn more and increase our skills. We’re taking a different approach to feeding the animoolz their treats. It now only occurs in the new paddock with the race. This way, we have a lever to help on the day of reckoning – whatever that day may be.
The next challenge will be the second attempt to get Rosie through a race, on a trailer and off to her romantic vacation.
If you’re wondering what happened to Sweet and Heart, we picked them up eight days later, ran each cut through The Other Girl’s vacuum sealer and put them in the deep freeze. There was around 16 kilograms of meat of each animal and they were slaughtered and butchered by Cradoc although you can choose to have another butcher do the work for you.
What I’ve made so far:
12 hour Indian lamb – this a beautiful Gourmet Traveller recipe that would be great for a dinner party or a weekend when you have more time. Eleven hours for us because our legs were a bit smaller than the recipe called for.
Ancho marinated chops with chilli beans, guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.
I’ll be buggered if I can find the recipe now but the marinade involved steeping two dried ancho chillies in boiling water for 20 minutes, draining and processing them –without seeds – with cumin, Mexican oregano, seasoning, honey and garlic, maybe? The chilli bean recipe could be lost forever. I make guacamole in any fashion I have time for but the most labour intensive is: avocado, lime juice, yoghurt, pico de gallo (chopped tomato, garlic, coriander, lime, olive oil, chilli), pomegranate seeds, grated parmesan cheese, Mexican seasoning, extra cumin, coriander and salt and pepper. The tortilla chips have featured here – Making dinner for Melanie Tait.
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