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Alex Tourehote

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since Feb 15, 2016
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rabbit chicken woodworking
Mayenne, France
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Recent posts by Alex Tourehote

Hi David,
here it's been very dry compared to Paris/East of France. Last time we had rain was about 3 weeks ago I think... It's been very hot the last few days, double digging raised beds with a 1 year old srapped on my back is hard work.
I built a greenhouse which is about 7 metres by 5 metres. It's resting against a barn, South facing with plastic corregated roof and wooden structure. I hope it will stand and protect our 36 tomatoes plants....
Oh, and we have 3 baby chicks !
Busy working on an extension to the house now, and fighting the system against that new law against homeschooling that they've announced yesterday...
what about you ? have you been busy ?
4 years ago
Hi Rod,
can' help at the moment I'm afraid, but I have friends who could in La Manche. I wil lsend you a personnal message with their phone number.
4 years ago
Erwin : I though about asking local butcher, but I doubt they would be very helpful... They would automatically advise on using curing salt I think... Asking neighbours would be more helpful than asking "French-diploma-trained butcher", but the one I asked only knew about dry curing, with curing salt..
I will try to call a butcher tomorrow anyway...

no greenish look to the ham now, the smell is quite nice, comparable to the pig's smell (which is actually the pig's fat we use for cooking... so much fat on those kune-kune it's unbelievable)

here are a couple of pictures taken after cooking the ham. I suppose I should have taken pictures before we cooked it.... (and if you cannot see the pictures, then sorry, I am (was ?) still trying to work out how to put pitures on here...

I read a blog post from Sugar Mountain ( ) which reassured me a bit...
if I'm posting tomorrow then it means that the ham or the soup I made from the stock was safe !!!
4 years ago
Hello! Does anyone here have experience with wet curing?

I put two hams each weighing 3kg to cure in brine according to the recipe in the river cottage 'pigs and pork' handbook a week ago. Took them out today and I have a few concerns. Firstly there are some discoloured parts, the meat is just very dark in some places and I'm wondering if I didn't manage to fully submerge them. Secondly I brined them in a big stainless steel pot and now I'm reading that they mustn't go in anything metal??? It was kept very cold and it all smells fine, the dark meat just looks dark but not bad per say. Finally I haven't used the nitrate salt because the book didn't ask for it and I figured ham would be ok without?

I've never done this before and I'm feeling terrible that I may have wasted this meat!!!

Thanks for any help

4 years ago

Sean Kettle wrote:
The plot is part of Lammas ecovillage, in North Pembrokeshire. We first visited to attend a course on One Planet Development and subsequently found our land. We're hoping to go down that route, it's a great scheme. Shame it doesn't extend to the rest of the UK. Or the world...

You're very welcome to come visit us once we're up and running. I reckon we'd be up for a house swap with you if the rain gets too much

great, we might come and visit them in late July (we're going to the homeschooling festival down the coast) as we are planning on visiting a few people doing the One Planet Development thingy... I will let you know, you might be around there then !
4 years ago
hi Sean,

congratulation to you and your wife, and well done on your design skill !
I need to have a look at that sketch-up thing.

Where in Wales are you ? Are you planning on setting up a One Planet Initiative scheme ? We sometimes dream about moving back to Wales, and that scheme tick a lot of our boxes......
4 years ago
Hi Kyrt,

that's good news ! since the pigs broke into our chicken-run compost system I could not think of where to put the left over meat...
I'm going off topic, but what about pig's poo ? can it go straight into the veg garden ? Whenever I collected some, I've always put it with our dry toilet compost....
4 years ago
thanks a lot Olga and Karen !

it seems that I manage to get the pictures on the 1st post after all, and we end up with 2 identical massive aerial view on the page.... sorry.
I will try to put recent pictures when I find the chance. There are some old ones on my wife's blog (which has been put on hold for a while now, unfortunately) :

We finished making sausage and headcheese yesterday, so now on the list of things to do there's DIY on the house and preparing the garden - as well as learning to make our own cheese !
4 years ago
urgh can't get the aerial view to load, sorry
4 years ago
Hi Everyone,

I am Alex, married to a Welsh lady, and dad of 3 little girls, leaving in a small farm house between a prairie and a forest. So far, not bad for our Ingalls family re-enactment.

We have been here for 4 years now, doing up the house (a 350 years old (or so) stone house) and doing the garden, planting some trees, raising chickens, rabbits and pigs (kune kune, we dispatched / butchered our first one this weekend). We are also homeschooling and I am working full time, so things are not going as fast as we would like !

The chickens coop was already there, and the pigs are staying in one of the outbuildings. I have attached pictures of one of the rabbit movable tractor I made (for some reason which must have something to do with my poor IT skills, I can't paste the pictures into the text of this post, sorry).

I'm adding a screenshot of our land (1.1 hectare). things are also slow because I can't make a decision on how to use the land ! if you have any advice please don't hesitate, but it's hard to say from just an aerial picture
North Field and South field are used by a neighbour (he gives us some money for taking the hay in one and putting his milking cow a few weeks per year in the other), but I could take it back whenever I can think of a use for it (greenhouse and rows of potatoes etc . ? planting some super-willows for our Esse woodburner?)

We have split part of South Field for the pigs' fields. I am now considering using [i]pig field 1[/i] to increase our veg patch (greenhouse + rows of potatoes, beetroots and pumpkins/squash for the pigs) as well as adding a pond. There would be a good rain catchment there (+ water from all the guttering of the house) and if we decide on doing a grey water system (that's "phyto-épuration" in French) it could go in there too.
So I might have to change the fences for the pig again, which would be a pain, with it being done already and the pigsty being at a perfect location as it is. Oh, well, another day another[strike] mistake[/strike] learning.

I might pop some more pictures of the veg patch, house, pigs etc if I find the time and if you fancy having a look at them !

4 years ago