People per Hour

Monday 27 June 2011

I’ve been doing my litter vigilante bit this morning. Someone had dumped an oven (which looked to be in quite good nick) on the side of our road. It had fallen down a steep bank & was resting against a large tree fern. I’ve been driving & walking past it for a few days thinking we must do something. This morning I drove Luke to the bus because we were running late & stopped on the way back. Having tied a stout rope to the back of the ute, I used it to lower myself down the bank, tied it onto the oven as best I could & then towed the latter out. All the fixing points snapped so I had to do a bit of (wo)manhandling as well. It was far too heavy for me to lift onto the ute, so it’s now sitting – somewhat incongruously – right on the edge of the lane. While on a roll, I drove just past our gate, switched into 4WD, clambered into the blackberry bushes with a rope & tied it onto an old van cab that has been there since before we arrived. Mostly it’s so buried in brambles that it can barely be seen, but lately it’s been more visible & has niggled at me. It took several snapped ropes before the ute finally heaved it too onto the side of the road. I’ve rung the council & hopefully they will come & collect them today.

While at it, I picked up the various beer cans, cigarette packets, bottles & take-a-way wrappers that the four-wheel drivers chuck out of their cars en route to or on return from joyriding in the hills above us. Sometimes people stop & empty the contents of their cars onto the side of the road, including dirty nappies & an ashtray load of butts. I wonder at the type of people who would do this. Do their own houses & backyards look like rubbish dumps? Perhaps that’s why they also treat the environment & everyone else’s backyard as tips too. It beats me why someone would drive 8km from the main road up windy dirt lanes in order to dump an oven, when there is a tip twenty minutes away. They must have spent as much on fuel as they would have done on tip fees.



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It has been a bit of a meat-fest here the past few days. On Thursday morning I left late to pick up the meat from George (the pig) & Manny (the goat), having plucked & gutted the rooster that had been killed the day before. I arrived at the abbatoir at eleven o’clock expecting the staff to be champing at the bit ready to leave, but instead the abbatoir was a hubbub of activity. Vans & utes vied for position & butchers sliced expertly at the carcases hung (in this cool weather) in full view. It was all rather fascinating (except for the fact that I ended up being there for an age instead of the few minutes I was expecting). Perhaps the fear of the abbatoir closing at the end of this month had galvanised people into action – it certainly influenced my decision-making.

Back at home all the meat was unloaded into the cold, erstwhile TV room (currently vacated: the TV has migrated into the lounge next to the wood burner). Luke came home on the bus (stroppy) & we finished all the outside jobs together before I phoned into the frog (Forest Reference Group) meeting on behalf of the WWPG. A deal has been struck at last between the ENGOs and industry (yeehar!), however, it still remains to be seen how much of our patch (West Wellington) we can save (http://wwpg.info). But back to the meat – that evening I was up until late slicing, dicing & sorting. The pork was finally all consigned to the freezer (chops, stir-fry strips & roasts) and the curing vat (the hams, cut into sizeable lean chunks). The following evening Manny was reduced to 4kg of mince – with just a knife & hand-mincer. I put it all through the mincer twice to ensure it was fine with no chewy bits! The plan had been to make various flavoured burgers & rissoles & freeze them ready to cook, but it was too late & I was just too tired. If you’ve never tried goat, it’s a cross between lamb & pork, finely grained & delicately flavoured.