A Dot on the Horizon

Do you see that Little Dot on the Horizon? fields

It could be a box, or a bag or a bucket blown in the wind but no -That is Tima.

Looking back to the house she is This far from home. Searching the fields for that one little forgotton kernel of corn. fields

It took the dogs and I ages to walk her home. She was quite puffed by the time we got to the back gate. But she does need the exercise my little fat pig. kunekune pig

The first chapa.  A chapa is a piece of iron on legs that you place over an open outside fire and cook on. Sometimes they are curved like this sometimes a big flat sheet of metal. Or  you can use a cast iron pan if you want to. There are no rules. All you want is Solid Hot Metal! Fede tells me this is how they cook in Argentina. His family cooks on the chapa every weekend.


John found a very old heavy steel disc blade in one of the barns, he ground off all the rust and made a trivet for it  and after I had cleaned it again and seasoned it, Hugo made a fire in the garden and we cooked steak with potatoes in the coals and mushrooms over the open fire. Hugo and I sat around the glowing coals and talked under the stars , one side hot and one side cold, turning ourselves like slowly roasting chickens, long after John had gone to bed. The weather was still and cool, and with no insects it was a perfect night to cook like an Argentinian. We will be doing this again and again until it is too cold. I love it.

After the potatoes were cooked I smashed them flat with my hand (very fast – they were hot) then scorched either side on the chapa creating the perfect crust, serving  them drizzled with pesto.


Talking of disc blades The Plonkers have almost finished turning over their field. This is part of the plan as in the spring this will be sown in alfalfa.


Sheila is more inclined to lie in the sun than turn over a field but yesterday she and her considerable bulk took out TWO fences on her way to find the boar, scattering little pigs and calves and chickens in her wake. She took a bit of convincing that this was inappropriate behaviour and is now on lock down with Poppy. She is a big pig.  There are very few fences that can stand up to her when she puts her mind to it. And thankfully she very seldom puts her mind to it.


This week Hugo and I (among other things) will put the blueberry bushes to bed for the winter (they need mulch and rabbit protection), continue planting up the glass house in winter greens, prepare the beds and plant the garlic and tow all the hay making equipment back to the West Barn.

Then prepare the West Barn for the cows and Manu to move in next weekend.

The weather promises to be mild and gentle so we will have a good week I think.

I hope you have a good day.

Love celi


33 Comments on “A Dot on the Horizon

  1. Good morning!
    The chapa. It looks fabulous. Great work. A masterpiece. I envy you for your great skills. So everything’s prepared for Fede to come back, isn’t it? I love those nights at the fire – haven’t had it for quite a long time. Sheila longs for the Boar? A new story to be told…
    I wish you to have a successful and a beautiful day!

  2. In South Africa we call your chapa a ‘skottel’ (dish), and by the way they are fabulous for breakfast frittatas. Par cook potatoes, chop and cook bacon pieces, add potatoes, tomatoes, parsley and lightly beaten eggs, stir a couple of times and enjoy 🙂 Naughty Tima, and here we were sort of expecting another cute litter of piglets. Manu better rest up for a busy January 🙂 Laura

    • That sounds like something to copy, even if it will have to be cooked indoors.

      What a wild and busy day you have had, culminating in a quiet chatty cookout.

      I hope the weather holds off until you’ve got the cows and Manu settled over the way.
      ViV xox

  3. Love the chapa and it looks very professional so John must be quite an expert at creating what you need. I love that thought of talking around the warm chapa while the world is still. You live a wonderful life. 🙂

  4. Disk harrows make the best barbecues, too. I had a friend who took his everywhere, together with a trivet formed of metal rods held together in the middle with a steel ring. He’d light the fire when he got to his campsite, set up the trivet and disk and by the time he had the tent up, the coals were glowing and all he had to do was get the steaks and onions and mushrooms out of the esky (chilly bin/cooler).
    Bad, wandering Tima. Anyone would think she was starved, but I think she must share your gypsy propensities. And as for Sheila, the Farmy cougar, in hot pursuit of a boar… is that a good sign, do you think, interest in the boys? Or is it all too late?

    • Yes, I’m very curious about Sheila and her interest in the boar too! Perhaps it isn’t too late? Maybe she’s just a late bloomer? Our oldest pig is 4 and 1/2 years old and she is still breedable and very much interested in Jethro, our boar.
      Celi, any chance of a ‘play date’ between Sheila and the boar. She just may be ready to ‘sow her wild oats’ now, as they say! 🙂

  5. What a piggy little pig that Tima is! Your meal under the stars sounds so nice. It’s really foggy here today. Hopefully the sun will poke through later but it doesn’t look too promising. Have a nice day.

  6. So much going on…my head is spinning a bit after this post. From very naughty Tima to frisky Sheila- pigs will surely find ways to restructure your days Miss C. I am so impressed with the Chapa and can almost taste the over-the-fire meals that will come from it. Can you put smell into your posts by chance 😉

  7. Mmm, when you wrote Chapa I immediately thought of my favourite Indian flat bread called chapati, but that’s cooked on a tava. Similar though. Now I want a chapa…except I’m not allowed open fires here in the city. Even more reason to move to an organic farm. 😀

  8. Such naughty pigs!
    That chapa looks fantastic – I’ve got a big cast iron griddle that I can put on top of the cooker, or on a barbecue, but it’s nowhere near as cool as your new toy 😉

  9. No wonder you needed a nap yesterday. With all that ahead of you, I’d be looking for a snooze too. Looks like the animals are having a last good run before winter keeps them in. I love cooking over an open fire. The food tastes better than over the stove I think. Hope you are having a wonderful day. I imagine you’ll be so busy you won’t know how fast it flies.

  10. When I read about Jon Stewart and his wife starting a sanctuary for farm animals, I had to wonder if they know what they’re getting into. Rescuing a pig or two is great when they’re small, but when they’re big…well, YOU know how that goes! The same goes for other farm animals, they are wonderful but they’re not dogs and cats.

  11. Maybe Tima needs one of those tracking devices, so that when she wanders off you just follow her bleeping…

    A very good afternoon to you and the farmy, c. I’m running late today. And I have no good and/or interesting reason for that. Just late.

  12. You have such a wonderful farmy- even with the hijinks of some pigs escaping! Cheers and I will be trying out those potatoes…yum!

  13. That sounds like a perfect meal, cooked in the perfect way! In Spain, in Winter, most houses where we are don’t have central heating, just open fires. Many folk use something called a brasero (brazier in English maybe?) which is like a smaller version of your chapa and trivet which is filled with hot coals and put under the table (usually a round one). The table has a long and heavy blanket under the tablecloth (hopefully a fireproof one but it is rather dangerous and would be thoroughly disapproved of by “Health & Safety”. You then sit at the table, toasting your lower half, with the blanket tucked over your legs to trap the heat. The top half of you is kept warm with eating and drinking!

    • Hah, a similar thing is used in Afghanistan and in the neighborhood countries, too. Wonder if there and in Spain are increasingly outbreaking fires in winter…

  14. Herding pigs leaves herding cats for dead!
    Food cooked on an open fire outdoors tastes better than anything, and a cooking-warming fire evokes a kind of magic that resonates back to our ancient beings, I think.

  15. Love, love, love the chapa! I want one. Will have to add that to the husband chores. We actually already have a perfect stand since our fire pit bowl has rusted away. Goodness! Some bad piggy goings on there today.

  16. I can only imagine sharing evenings, farm life and conversations with you will be a lifetime memory for Hugo. The Chapa shows that you take in what your wolfers have to offer too. That is real living. xx

  17. Had to let you know, yesterday I was expecting a stepson and step son-in-law coming in the afternoon to bow hunt with their respective spouses coming towards evening with a casserole and dessert. I ended up with two additional step daughters, one with spouse and three adult grandkids for dinner. I had mixed up the Chapa Bread you mentioned and had them all swooning over it! A little butter, a little basil dipping oil – it was wonderful. A boisterous hilarious evening was had by all!

  18. I like your use of an old disc. My husband made one into a base for a Christmas tree but now I may be searching the scrap heap to see if I can find another one to make a chapa – what an excellent idea.

  19. As frustrating as it was finding Tima and getting her back home, I think we all understand that desire to break loose from the crowd. Time gets away from us while wandering and foraging. How good it must have felt for her to nose around and be a real pig, rooting up the land and finding tasty morsels. 🙂

  20. The chapa sounds delightful! Sheila will have a much longer walk to get to Manu at the West Barn. I wouldn’t have expected Tima to wander so far.

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