Archive for September, 2009

The Daft Brush strikes again

Yesterday evening, I was happily pottering about in the field, chatting to the pigs and generally enjoying the last of the day’s warmth. Midge was snuffling about in the long grass and Snipe … well, I hadn’t seen her for a wee while but the last time I did, she was in the middle of the field, by the path.

Suddenly, the peace of the evening was shattered when my phone rang.

A young, male voice asked “Have you got a Golden Retriever?”.

My first thought was that it was a very strange version of one of those phone calls.

Then I thought that Snipe isn’t a Retriever, she’s a Labrador.

Finally, the penny dropped and I managed to grasp enough common sense to say “Oh bloody hell, is she out on the road?”.

The young guy confirmed that she was and I peered through the gaps in the hedge until I spotted my missing dog with a middle-aged woman and two lads on mountain bikes.

It turns out that the woman had been driving past when she saw a dog sitting on the grass verge, looking quite content but very much alone.

I know that pose. It’s the one she uses when she gets half way across the field, decides she’s going no further, plops herself down in the grass and stays until I return, whether it’s five or fifteen minutes later!

She pulled over and Snipe greeted her happily (traitor!). The two lads chose that moment to cycle by, so she flagged them down (not having a mobile of her own) and one of them rang me…

The thing is, Snipe had gone wasn’t more than about twenty feet from where I was but having gone down the bank, across the stream and then up the bank on the other side, she’d clearly managed to lose herself and was therefore waiting to be rescued!

Snipe - 28 September 2009

Snipe - 28 September 2009

B often describes my dog as being “daft as a brush”. I generally defend poor Snipe but in this case……

Fun in the sun!

Yesterday was one of those days that flew by, the kind that you wish you could preserve, re-visit, or hold in time forever.

Ok, so it wasn’t the best start, as the runt of Pinky’s litter died in the night, but I knew that was coming and given how weak he was, despite my best efforts to bottle feed him, his death was more of a relief than anything else as it meant an end to his suffering.

It’s funny, all three gilts (girls) are strong and healthy, but the three remaining boars are much weaker and I’m quite concerned about two of them, so I’ll be bottle feeding them, not to replace Pinky’s milk but to top it up. So far, they are resisting my efforts, which I think is a good sign, but I’ll persevere, just in case!

The day started cloudy, which was fitting, but the sun broke through the clouds and burned hot in the sky for the rest of the day. Jennie and her clan came over for the afternoon, and we played with the piglets, had a picnic in the orchard, walked the dogs down to the river, visited all the pigs, played with the piglets again … Good times!

Perky, Fergie, Scrumpy and Brini - 27 September 2009

Fergie, Scrumpy and Brini relax in the morning sun ... Perky (on the left) keeps eating!

Bailey - 27 September 2009

Bailey also enjoyed the sunshine and spent most of the day lying on the cool earth with the hot sun on his back

Pinky - 27 September 2009

It was too hot for Pinky so she settled down in the wallow to cool off

While the adult pigs were chilling out, the piglets had some playtime:

And then, worn out, some snooze time:

Pinky's piglets - 27 September 2009

Pinky's piglets sound asleep ... at last!

Having spent the day being charmed and entertained by the piglets and their antics, I hastily finished my chores and just managed to get everything done by the time the sun went down:

Sunset over the field - 27 September 2009

Sunset over the field - 27 September 2009

And then over to Jennie’s for a bowl of her husband’s delicious chicken curry.

Yup, despite the bad start, yesterday was a good day.

Hush-a-bye, piggy

Yesterday morning, all the cool pigs went back to bed after their breakfast:

Brini - 26 September 2009

Brini - 26 September 2009

Pinky's piglets asleep in the straw - 26 September 2009

Pinky's piglets asleep in the straw - 26 September 2009

The good news IS the bad news…

I had a missed call and an answer-phone message yesterday, announcing that my local abattoir is reopening after nearly six months. Since I’ve been calling them every few weeks to find out if they were any closer to reopening, they’ve put me on a ‘priority list’. Since I tried several times yesterday to return the phone call but was unable to get through, I rather think they’ve put half of south Wales on the list.

It’s the news I’ve been hoping for, but dreading at the same time.

I’ve got too many pigs and while the field is fertile enough to support that many during the summer months, now that we’re in autumn, the grass is quickly running out and I need to preserve some for winter.

Curly, Brini and Bailey are all on the To Go list. Pinky will be on there once she’s raised her piglets. Scrumpy keeps going on and then I take her off again. But the first three need to go this side of winter. I only have the freezer space for one at a time, so the order of departure is quite significant.

It doesn’t make much difference to the land if Curly and Brini are first on the list but if Bailey goes first, I can put Tia in with the other sows, thereby reducing the number of pig enclosures from three to two.

So today, I need to book him in. And I don’t want to because he’s My Boy and has never done anything wrong.

Bailey - 8 May 2009

Bailey - 8 May 2009

Once I’ve got The Date, I’ll put him and Tia on the last of the summer grass, make his last days enjoyable. Poor old boy…

Stay-at-home Dad!

Mum (Pinky) went outside to do her thing:

Pinky - 22 September 2009

Pinky - 22 September 2009

Dad (Curly) was left in charge:

Curly and the piglets - 22 September 2009

Curly and the piglets - 22 September 2009

Luckily, he’s great with the piglets:

Now, if I can just arrange that Lottery win so I can stay and play with them all day…

Mind your manners!

Classy, guys, classy:

Bailey and Tia enjoy an apple - 21 September 2009

Bailey and Tia enjoy an apple - 21 September 2009

Pinky and the piglets!

I’m pleased to report that all seven piglets survived their first night and were sound asleep between Pinky and Curly when I arrived at the farm this morning.

I’ve taken loads of photos, but thought you might appreciate this video as well:

And here’s a photo of the piglets in the ark with Pinky and Curly:

Curly, Pinky and their piglets - 21 September 2009

Curly, Pinky and their piglets - 21 September 2009

It’s so frustrating – after today, I don’t get another day off until Sunday, which means I’ve got loads of work to do around the farm. But it’s also my last full day to sit and stare at the piglets! Anyone fancy giving me a week’s wages so I can stay here and watch the little buggers grow?!