Monday, July 27, 2009

“ To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.” Charles Caleb Colton

(1780 – 1832: English cleric, writer and collector, apparently well known for his eccentricities.) Which is an over-elaborate introduction to tell you that I’m (we are) published again, hooray! Rush down to your local news stand and purchase the current (No. 61, Autumn 2009) edition of Permaculture Magazine, where, nestled in amongst other excellent articles on such topics as sustainable beekeeping, converting to pedal power, reading the landscape and how to make a shaving horse (that’s a green woodworking tool and nothing to do with beardless horses, before you ask) is our article, entitled “Les Porcs in Permaculture”.

Whenever I write, I always ask Gabrielle to read it through and say what she thinks. It’s an interesting process as the more one reads and re-reads something just written, the more blind one becomes and my writing is always improved by Gabrielle’s editorial ministrations. It’s fair to say though, that after her extensive and beyond-the-call-of-duty input to “my” permaculture pig article, it was only fair to submit it under both our names, so great had her contribution been. Many factual books are jointly written but I wonder whether a novel has ever been published under two names?

Still talking of writing, and of pork and pigs, I contribute, once-a-month, to an American blog called Not Dabbling in Normal and this month’s contribution, entitled Tout est bon dans le cochon is about carcass balance: helping the British pork farmer out by using French traditional cooking. To briefly explain, British welfare standards are higher (i.e., better for the pigs and more expensive for the farmer) than those in mainland Europe but their pork is sold in the same market, making it hard on the British pork farmer. It seems, in England, that consumers are only interested in the loin and the back legs; the rest gets exported to Europe, with little profit to the farmer, i.e., poor carcass balance. The answer is to eat all of the pig raised with higher welfare standards, thereby maximising the farmer’s profit and encouraging that way of farming and treating animals. In making use of every morsel—for devising devilishly cunning ways of transforming every bit of a pig into delicious recipes—the French are, of course, the renowned experts. To read more, click on the link above.

An email popped into my Inbox the other day, announcing that I’d got a “pingback” (my first) from that American blog. One of the vagaries of writing in the 21st century, it tells me that someone has linked to my story. Godfrey Family Farms, in Marysville, California, have read my blog, agreed with the sentiments and then linked to it in their own blog on pig farms and pork for dinner, which is worth reading. Seeing this sort of connection from the other side of the world makes the blog worth writing.

The photo shows Alice, one of our younger neighbours, getting to know our recently arrived pair of Berkshire weaners.