Archive for August, 2009

How was your August?

Looking back through my photos from August, I was pleasantly surprised to find several that, in total contrast to the soaking I received yesterday, suggest that August hasn’t been as wet as I believe:

Midge - 6 August 2009

Midge - 6 August 2009

Brini - 7 August 2009

Brini - 7 August 2009

Scrumpy - 8 August 2009

Scrumpy - 8 August 2009

Some of the hens - 11 August 2009

Some of the hens - 11 August 2009

Jo and Snipe - 13 August 2009

Jo and Snipe - 13 August 2009

Pinky - 18 August 2009

Pinky - 18 August 2009

The farm - 29 August 2009

The farm - 29 August 2009

Happy pigs, wet Jo!

I waited and waited, but the rain didn’t stop so I put on my second skin, erm, I mean waterproofs, and ventured out into the wet to move the pigs.

I know now why I’ve never moved the pigs in the rain before and won’t again (apart from exceptional circumstances).

It was miserable.

Still, the pigs are happy, and that’s the main thing.

Fergie, Brini, Perky and Scrumpy - 30 August 2009

Fergie, Brini, Perky and Scrumpy - 30 August 2009

Snipe wasn’t, though!

Snipe - 30 August 2009

Snipe - 30 August 2009

Bloomin rain!

Yet again, it’s raining. Which isn’t necessarily news, at least not for my British readers, as I suspect you’re all in the same position as me, having more or less lived in my waterproofs and wellies for the past two months. In fact, I haven’t needed to water the veggie garden since June!

In fact, it’s rained so much this “summer” that I’m used to it. But today, it’s just annoying. Until the Christmas season kicks off at work and we return to our 10pm closing time, I’m stuck working days. I managed to sneak out of work yesterday afternoon, which meant I was able to clean the chickens out and change their water etc, but today is my first day off since Tuesday and I won’t have another one until Friday. I checked the weather, and it looked ok for today. Cloudy but dry in the morning, rain this afternoon.

So, I left B to get a taxi to work instead of me dropping her off as I set off for the farm at a ridiculously early hour, so that I could get all my morning chores done and then move the pigs (Brini, Scrumpy, Fergie and Perky), their ark and their electric netting onto fresh ground before the rain sets in this afternoon.

But I hadn’t even finished feeding the pigs when it started drizzling … and by the time I’d finished, it had upgraded itself to rain. It’s been two hours, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

So I either leave the pigs until Friday, and keep my fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain then as well, or I say to hell with it, and move them anyway.

Being in the rain isn’t the problem, though I’ll be hot and sweaty from moving the ark in my waterproofs, it’s keeping the bedding dry while I move the ark that’s the issue. Not to mention the fact that not only has B wasted money on a taxi she needn’t have got, I’ve also done myself out of a much needed lie in…

Bloody British summers, GRRRR!

How things change in a year!

Today is my blog’s first birthday and the 12 months since I sat with Jennie in her sitting room setting up the blog seem to have flown by. So much so, that it’s only by looking back at the photos from the past year that I’m reminded of how much has happened and changed in the last year.

As you’d expect (I hope!), for me, those changes are best illustrated by the impact that the pigs and I have had on the field.

This is how it looked when I drove down to south Wales one rainy day last August to build the pig arks before moving the herd down:

Jo (and Snipe!) hard at work building a pig ark - 22 August 2008

Jo (and Snipe!) hard at work building a pig ark - 22 August 2008

Now, that part of the field looks like this:

The field - 27 August 2009

The field - 27 August 2009

I know I haven’t completely eradicated the Himalayam Balsam or the bracken, but we’re getting there!

I just can’t get over the difference a year makes. Well, one year and an immeasurable amount of hard work… It feels good 🙂

Candy floss clouds

I wish you had been with me at dusk yesterday to share the sight of the sky as the breeze blew the rain clouds away to the east, revealing the remnants of a blue sky, in which hung the half moon and the most wonderful arrangement of white, fluffy clouds. As the sun hastened eastwards with the rain, those balls of cotton wool turned into pink candy floss – you could almost hear the fair ground music.

Yes, I wish you had been with me to see that.

I also wish I hadn’t left my camera at home …

Marrow-tastic!

I planted my courgettes quite late so I’m only just reaping the benefits of fresh, cut-that-day, home grown deliciousness. Judging by the way that the vines are creeping here, there and everywhere, all I can say is that it’s a damn good job I like courgettes!

We decided to let one grow on and try our hand (well, B’s hand, to be precise!) at stuffed marrow. Although I was tempted to leave it much longer, just to see how big it would get, I cut this beauty when it was the length of my forearm, from my albow to the tip of my fingers!

Marrow - 22 August 2009

Marrow - 22 August 2009

B made the stuffing from minced beef, leeks, garlic, mushrooms, soy sauce, herbs and some other ingredients that I’ve since forgotten (which is why she’s a far better cook than I). And it was wonderful. Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to the gods of courgettes, not forgetting B for putting it all together!

Three dogs for a week!

The apple of my mother’s eye is her Labrador, Teal, who is Snipe’s full sister, albeit two years her senior. She really is one of the sweetest, kindest dogs you could hope to meet, with all the vitality of her breed, but combined with a gentleness that (alas!) Snipe is yet to discover!

Teal - 19 August 2009

Teal - 19 August 2009

Mum went on holiday with one of her friends last week and with no-one at home to look after Teal, B and I became the nominated dog-sitters. It took Teal a couple of days to settle in, especially around the pigs (who she did know when we lived at Mum’s), but she swiftly made herself at home, and she and Snipe rediscovered their old game of “tag” (they play it just like children, but at three times the speed!). Midge was delighted to have her old pal back in her life, snuggling up to her at night and cleaning her obsessively whenever they came in from the rain.

Teal - 19 August 2009

Teal - 19 August 2009

In fact, night times were the only sore point. We decided that two dogs in the bedroom is the limit: although we let them all into the bedroom in the evening when we were watching TV, at night, we banished the trio to the kitchen. From the way Midge was crying on the first few nights, I think she would have gladly swapped Teal for the opportunity to re-enter the Forbidden Land!

Midge, Teal and Snipe - 21 August 2009

Midge, Teal and Snipe - 21 August 2009

We took Teal back yesterday, and it’s amazing how quiet the house is. The dogs were thrilled to be back in the bedroom, and it was such a relief to be greeted with only one Labrador tail when I woke up this morning!

Jo and Teal - 21 August 2009

Jo and Teal - 21 August 2009

We’ll gladly have Teal again, if Mum goes away, but we’ve decided that unless we win the Lottery and buy a big house, two dogs is the absolute limit…

One year on…

Oh my, somehow I have managed to miss the first anniversary of my move to south Wales! Today’s the 25th, I moved the pigs down on the 23rd. Ooops!

Hasn’t time flown by?

Knowing the date was approaching, and considering how much blood, sweat (and tears) it’s taken to turn the field I rent from a paradise for the 3 Bs (bracken, brambles and balsam) into a paradise for the pigs, I wanted to write a post filled with photos comparing “then and now” but since I forgot the actual date, said photos have not been taken.

Still, my blog’s first birthday is also approaching, so I’ll do something similar then. Maybe.

One year? Wow!

Rainbow over the field - 2 September 2008

Rainbow over the field - 2 September 2008

1,000 comments!

Congratulations (and thanks!) to Suzy for posting the 1,000th comment on my blog!

Yes, I know that many of those 1000 comments are by me, and that the total also includes several trackbacks, but even so… 1000!

As a prize, I’ve decided to award Suzy with a bar of Cadbury’s fair trade chocolate that Jennie blogged about the other day. Suzy, email me your address and I’ll send it over to you!

Thanks to everyone who has voiced their thoughts on my posts and musings… I wish I could afford to send you all some chocolate!

Radio Ga Ga

For years now, I’ve been an avid listener of Radio 2, listing my favourite shows as Sarah Kennedy’s Dawn Patrol, Wake up to Wogan, and Chris Evans’ Drivetime, as well as Mo Dutta and Alex Lester at the weekend. I stopped listening to Jeremy Vine’s show a long, long time ago, simply because I can’t bear political talk shows.

However, a few months ago, I found that if I had the radio on while I was listening to Ken Bruce, the entire show could pass without me hearing a word. Then I stopped listening to Steve Wright, after a series of awful “interviews” that were cringe-worthy and embarrassing. Then they ditched Mo Dutta (or he left, not sure which) and replaced him with Zoe Ball. I tried, really I did, but I couldn’t take it, not so early in the morning! And then Alex Lester vanished, replaced by Emma Forbes, who also failed to grab my attention. When you bear in mind that I get up at 6am, a good radio show is as important as my first (and second!) cup of coffee.

To fill these gaps, I tried a multiple of different stations, from local stations like Real Radio, Red Dragon, and Radio Wales, to national stations such as Classic FM and Radio 3.

B got me a digital radio for my birthday in January, so I’ve also been experimenting with digital stations, and finally discovered The Arrow, which plays non-stop rock music. I’m currently listening to We Will Rock You and was serenaded a few Mondays mornings ago with Sweet Child O’ Mine – what a way to start the day!

The only downside to their non-stop playlist is that there’s no news, no traffic and no time checks. So I now spend my mornings rushing around at the last minute, though at least the beat of the music lends me extra haste!

At the farm, I don’t have a digital radio, so listen to Classic FM, despite their extremely annoying and constantly repeated adverts. I haven’t got a clue what I’m listening to, but it’s very soothing, and provides the perfect backdrop to the day, sun or rain.

What radio station(s) do you listen to?