Friday, October 06, 2006

Summer pig roasts........Part 2

Pig Roasts - Part 2

Another posting from our summer expeditions and experiences to present to you today, this is part two of “Pig Roasts”.

Imagine, two pig roasts in one summer, both within one week of each other in calendar timing. We’d been to a pig roast twenty years ago, something unusual and an incredible oddity of the day for us and those present. The couple who had hosted that year’s dinner pig roast long ago had been my work colleagues and were originally from the prairies, where we are told, pig roasting is quite a bit more common.

This second pig roasting invitation of the summer for our family here in the east, was hosted by a couple from our church. We had been befriended by them the first Sunday we arrived at the parish church, and have gathered together several times since, visiting with all our family members, though they actually live quite a distance away from us. I wished they lived closer! They are full time farmers, something no one would guess, as both hold master degrees in science engineering (that’s how they met), yet chose this lifestyle and the husband purchased the family farm he grew up on, the sixth generation to live there and continue on with the legacy.

Acres and acres of country farmland

With eight children ranging in ages 2-20 (losing several along the way, very sad), we had much in common, including home education, though some of their older children now have chosen to attend a boarding school in the USA at the higher levels of college and high school. Our younger children living here with us hit it off immediately with theirs, and we wished another daughter in the west was present to meet their older girls too, as we know they’d be great friends.

Anyway, this is also the farming family I wrote about before, the organic farmers who produce seed, product and items with a booming organic business, shipping their organic seed, crops and meats locally and all the way to Asia, as well as other far away places in need of Canadian products. They even have their very own mill to sort, grind and bag products!

On to the pig roast then….

It was a lovely summer Saturday, with sun shining brightly inside the upper reaches of a clear blue sky, and the scent of a fresh sea air drifting into the vehicle on our drive to the pig roast location.

End of the carving session with happy hosts, the cook and guests

Upon arrival, we noticed all the campers and tents pitched in the back grassy area, families who had taken the opportunity to gather together the day before and camp on location to save them from the drive the next day. Evidence of a large campfire was still present and the teen group especially was still bleary eyed, waking up from a long, late night of assisting with the basting of the pig cooking. We knew this invitation and gathering was to be something special for us immediately, as the day began with a scheduled morning mass first before luncheon festivities and events of the day, held in “one of the huge barns”. Almost giggling with laughter when entering the huge sliding barn doors, admittedly it was a great set up, though odd for us! Apparently this was the eighth annual roast which many of the same families present attended every year, including many relatives of the family hosting it. So though it was old hat to everyone else, we had to hide our smirks when entering the “church barn”.

Our "church" barn

Our older son was chosen to serve on the makeshift wooden pallet altar, though no cassocks for the boys were present to suit up in. He was honored to be (shoved by one of the three wonderful kid loving priests) into service along with others, as being new to the area; he hadn’t really been able to participate much before now. It turned out to be a special time, reverence was high and the mood pleasant, as all attempted to sit, kneel and stand in the lowly barn, something humbling likened to the Christ child’s birthing place we thought. Personally, I’ve never sat on hay bales as seating before inside a church, nor shouldered closely next to a large combine machine either. Oh, a little dirt didn’t hurt anyone when down on our knees, and no one gave it a thought. We were united in spirit and happy to be there, though a slight distraction to those present praying, was the smell of pork floating through the air from its stove nearby inside the very same barn, fresh coffee aroma brewing and glorious platters of food contributed by the many families present, displayed and in full view (if we turned around slightly), on two very large tables distracting our senses, lifting us higher, right up into the presence of God thanking him for the incredible heavenly gift of smell…laugh.

Acting silly pointing at the gal over the camera

In all eight years of the annual pig roasting feast, one particular young priest took on the duty of playing "pig roasting head master" each year very seriously. He tended to the meat dish from start to finish, a pig raised by the farming family, though he was the one taking it to the butcher, picking it up, preparing it for the roasting and ultimately carving and serving the entire dish up. He was delightful and comical to observe at his appointed station, and provided all present with a super charged energy and charm, attracting all to the memory of the day. Yes, he was fun, fun, fun!

The pig cookery

Making "oink, oink" noises and laughing heartily
showing off the pig's head on the platter for all to see.

Not only did he take his cooking duties seriously, waking through the night to take turns basting the animal, he also led the volleyball and football matches he had rounded up and produced teams for, which each team's spirit was something else to witness. Like a blockade, he called all to their selected teams, became immensely competitive, and led the exciting sport games to their finish, challenging many and enjoying every minute of it himself. Like a big kid, he had such a good time, wearing himself out and all present playing in the process.

Game time! Lots of participants, many teams.

Our children vanished on me, all participating in some sort of activity, though I did see them eating first, here and there throughout the day, a few came to join in the fabulous hay ride through their fields, others deep in the competition of sports. I wasn’t going to tag along on the hay ride initially, choosing to take pictures instead as the children came to join in, then a few mothers decided “let’s go too”, and on we hopped, happy we did.

Wagon ride anyone?
So popular, both sides of TWO wagons were filled.

No path, no problem. Carving out his own, the tractor mowed down corn field crops to allow fo the lovely tour of farmland.

Add a whole whack of water guns to the festivities for the younger boys, and what else but smiles, chuckles and thrills while they ran and ran everywhere, hiding amongst the huge crops, many barns and out buildings, garden area, and fence sidings, pooped by the end of the day. Much to the parents chagrin, those water pistols were provided by the priest (!), remnants of the boy’s camp held recently, the rascal we blamed, as we dodged shots here and there when the boys were nearby.

Water gun culprits attacked this stage coach with
their pistols (hay wagon ride) and delighted in hitting
the targets with cool moisture output.

Little children mossied about playing in the playground area, watching the sports, taking a ride on the hay wagon, and generally visited.

My little friend with the same name as me.

All our children didn’t want to leave, begging to stay longer, though their daddy who was called into work that day unexpected, was on his way home and we wanted to meet and be with him there when he arrived.

Fierce competition in the fields,
incredible plays with son (in green shirt
upper right side) loving it all.

What a great memory! What a great day! Thank you to all! We were so grateful to be included and everyone had a blast! Looking forward to next year’s roast already, we’ll be there!