Feliz Navidad

We culled the geese on the Solstice.  We didn't plan it that way, it just happened to be the only day that all involved could do it.  And in the end it was most appropriate.

I was quite concerned about the killing of the geese.  After all, a self sufficient lifestyle is what we hoped for when we moved here.  But always at the back of my mind was the thought that I might not be up to it.

The whole thing was very quick, very quiet and the geese did not suffer in the least.  Which was a huge relief.

Once the plucking began and then the gutting it became less about the geese and more about learning how to prepare food.  And food preparation and cooking is what I am good about.

The Spanish way of preparing the goose was not quite what we were used to.  Traditionally the Spanish housewife did not have an oven in the house so all food is jointed into pot size pieces and fried or pot roasted on the fire.  We had to step in to prevent our lovely goose dinner from being hacked up into bite sized joints.

Next time we shall have a kitchen blow torch on hand for burning the fine hairs from the goose since Agosto's solution to this problem involved waving the whole goose into a fire which he set on the ground... the result being quite a scorched and singed bird.

We cooked our goose in a Chinese style with a rub of five spice and used the fat to roast our potatoes.  There wasn't a great deal of meat on the goose but we were prepared for this and had a piece of shoulder pork which had been soaked in brine with spices for 24 hours before slow roasting in the oven.  Needless to say dinner was delicious.

All in all Christmas was hectic.  We paused the olive harvest (total so far 600kg) for two days festivities with our family and then began again.  On Monday we shall be back with two carloads of olives for the co-operative.  We still don't know the price we shall get for the olives.  There are loads of rumours but we do know that everyone has had a bumper crop this year, this means the price will go down... the farmer doesn't make any money in this process.  It's back breaking work and we go to bed every night totally exhausted... tired but happy.

We still have about 25 to 30 trees to harvest but many of them were not well pruned last year and the foliage is very dense and the olives very hard to get at.  It's all a learning process and after the harvest we will be trying to get to grips with the intricacies of pruning.  Having joined the co-operative, we have made a commitment to being serious farmers and that means learning everything we can in order to maximise our profits.  A friendly Spanish neighbour has offered to be our teacher in the art of pruning.  New Year approaches and we are very optimistic that 2014 will be a wonderful year.  At least we are going to do everything in our power to make it so.


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