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Wild camping, filming, willow withies and butchering half a pig

Been a bit busy recently having a thoroughly good time. Excitingly my first batch of willow, for weaving, arrived. It's been semi sorted into thicknesses now and I've worked out my next batch of baskets and got what I need (hopefully!) soaking in our pond. More pics of that to follow!

It gives me butterflies looking at this next picture!!

I'm just back from a weeks wild camping on the land, with two very good friends who have their own film production company - Snowline Productions.

Snowline Productions shoot in the alps - picture shamelessly nicked from their site.

They do amazing short films and documentary footage, mainly of snowy mountain peaks and wild places. It's worth a look at the footage they have on their website, stunning work!

Yes, these are tent pegs, mmmm, interesting...

Last week their bread and butter work was filming tents going up for a reputable outdoor company. They roped me in to help put up the larger of the tents and I took the opportunity to do lots of camp care, cooking and carving. It was very satisfying! I didn't manage to photograph anything I cooked and I'm thoroughly ashamed of what I carved so there'll be no photies of that abomination!! There was casseroles, dumplings, curry, chappattis and soup. Then there was the pub - The Beggars Roost Inn, Exmoor! The best pub food I've ever tasted actually. The atmosphere was amazing, just what you want out of a pub on a cold night. Good music, warm fire, great company, amazing food and a friendly landlord.

Autumn this year is a triumph. These pictures don't do it justice, but the hedges are looking amazing and the light, at times, is incredible!

As part of a barter for the rental of a couple of our fields our neighbours gave us half a pig and showed us how to butcher it and make all the different cuts and sausages! It was fantastic to learn the skill and get all the meat! The pork was a berkshire and ironage pig cross (an ironage pig is a cross between a traditional pig breed and a wild boar). The meat is unbelievable. Great colour and flavour when cooked. Hidden Valley Pigs

I've never done butchering before and I was very apprehensive! Seeing half a dead pig, head intact did deeply unsettle me. However, it's important to me that if I'm going to eat meat I understand, really understand, where it has come from. Pork is meat from a pig. Everybody knows that, I know! But I don't think I really knew that. Now I feel I do. I watched this pig grow up across the river and now it's roasts, chops, bacon and sausages in my freezer. That's the reality of meat.

I still have reservations about the spiritual aspect of eating meat. But right now I am thoroughly of the opinion that eating a small amount of meat, to supplement our diet at this time of year in this country, is the most environmentally sound thing to do. So I just have to get on with it until I can prove otherwise.

Oh, it's hard though.

Now playing: Cocteau Twins - Seekers Who Are Lovers
via FoxyTunes


  1. Oh Hen, those willows look fab,I can't wait to see what you make with them.

    How are you, hun, are you settling in ok? Thanks for the kind comments you left for me :)

    Take care

    Kim x

  2. H,
    You rock.
    Had a great week, thanks again for all your help and delicious food last week. Oh and thanks for the plug!

  3. Oh you lucky thing, I so want to butcher a pig! Goodness, that sounds odd...your willow looks like a beautiful spread from Country Living, can't wait to see what lovelies you make!

  4. Hi Hen,
    That willow looks gorgeous - you've got a really nice selection of colours there. Well done on managing to butcher the pig - I know I'd find it difficult but, like you, I think its really important to really understand what meat involves. Great skill to have too!


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