Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

When the pigs are moved, there’s time for snuggles

Hurrah! I’ve finally moved all eight pigs onto fresh ground, which is a massive relief for me and them. Ok, I’ve cheated a little with Tia and Bailey and have only moved the 100m of electric netting that makes up their enclosure, not the ark, but it means that 70% of their enclosure is now made up of fresh ground, including a soft area for them to make a wallow if required, and the cover of several trees to give them shade. If I get a chance, I’ll move the ark this week, so the ground in front of its current spot gets a chance to rest, but there’s no rush.

Tia and Bailey - 21 April 2009

Tia and Bailey approve of their new patch

So, eight happy pigs.

Which meant I could take some time to administer belly rubs and receive some piggy loves in return:

In the pig ark - 21 April 2009

In the pig ark with Perky, Scrumpy, Fergie and Brini

Perky and Jo - 21 April 2009

Perky thinks she's a lap dog

Thanks to Jennie for taking those photos (!!!!!!!!!!!) on your much needed (and deserved) break from planting all those potatoes!!

From climbing trees to the search for Doctor Who

Yesterday was another wonderfully sunny day and I spent some time doubling the size of the four pigs’ enclosure with their second electric net, giving them a circumference of 100m. No idea what the total area that makes – most of my GCSE maths has been absorbed into the unused dark matter of my brain!

Brini, Scrumpy and Perky were thrilled with their expanded enclosure and happily set about exploring the wilderness I opened up underneath a long-suffering tree, suffocated by brambles and dead branches, through to the reeds and grass beyond.

Incidentally, I’m hoping that the soft ground where the reeds are will serve as a better wallow than the area by their water bowl:

Perky - 20 April 2009

Perky enjoys the fruits of her labours. It's hard work, watching your human carry nine buckets of water across the field to refill the bowl every some pig empties it into the wallow...!

At first, the trio simply watched me, but soon figured out what I was doing, and by the time I’d cleared a path through the bramble forest, they were vigorously helping me. Brini and Scrumpy were distracted by the fallen brambles (they love the leaves) so Perky was the first one through:

Perky - 20 April 2009

Perky was the first to discover the treats beyond the wall of brambles

Fergie, on the other hand, was not impressed, partly because she gets quite confused when things change and gets lost somewhere new, but mainly because I was intent on cutting down brambles rather than dedicating the time to Fergie Belly Rubs. Never mind, she’ll soon find her way about!

While I was clearing the brambles, I made a wonderful discovery. The tree, once cleared of unwanted stranglers and the odd rotten branch, is perfect for climbing! I’d was just working out how high it’s safe to go when Jennie, who had spent the morning working on the vegetable garden, came to inform me that it was most definitely Time For Lunch:

Jennie - 20 April 2009

Get down from that tree! It's time for lunch!

It’s good to know that tree climbing is still as important to me today as it was in my childhood. Thirties, be damned!

The day passed with laughs and impressive displays of friendship (Jennie didn’t just touch the manky fruit, she handled LOTS of manky fruit. Best. Friend. Ever.) but didn’t end when the sun went down.

They are currently filming David Tennant’s last episodes as The Doctor in Cardiff and having made the discovery that they were definitely filming somewhere in the Bay area last night, we decided to go on a bit of a hunt.

Sadly, although we found their temporary base, not only did we fail in our bid to see any filming (on the grounds that we never found the location!), we also failed to achieve the main objective of the mission: not a sight, not even a glimpse, of Mr Tennant.

Ah well, it was a fun and unique way to spend the evening, and it gave me the chance to test out the night settings on my new camera phone:

Cardiff Bay - 20 April 2009

Cardiff Bay at night

Feral garlic?

A while ago, there were some cloves of garlic in the fruit and veg I get for the pigs from my local greengrocer. Even though I knew the pigs don’t eat it, I still chucked the cloves into their buckets and thought no more about it.

Until yesterday, when I saw something rather unexpected whilst checking to see how the grass is doing on their old patch:

Feral garlic?!

Feral garlic?!

All in all, I counted six plants! I’ll probably transplant them later on when my veggie garden has been dug but they seem happy enough where they for the moment. Having said that, I like the idea of “feral garlic” so I might just leave them to it, though that does mean I can’t put the pigs back on there until after they’ve been harvested. If they survive, that is.

Asleep on the job

Apologies to all of you who must be bored rigid with my witterings about digging the vegetable garden but it’s taken over my life so the fact that it’s also taken over the blog is inevitable.

I’ve finally developed a rhythm and a system and found today’s efforts to be extremely relaxing, not least because it feels like I’m finally making progress. I’m still not sure how many stones I should be removing from what’s proving to be damn good soil, but I’m picking up as many as I can.

On Monday, Snipe tried to help me by retrieving all the stones I was throwing out of the patch but as I don’t let her play with stones, it really didn’t take her long to connect the cross tone of my voice with her actions: she brought me the squeaky green ghost as an apology. She chewed it for a while and was obviously watching me tackle the turf, since, to make up for her earlier indiscretion, she helped out:

Snipe helps dig the veggie garden!

Snipe helps dig the veggie garden!

Yesterday, however, all my “helpers” spent the afternoon snoozing in the sun:

Snipe

Snipe

The weaners

The weaners

Midge

Midge

I doubt I’ll be digging much over the next few days, as the forecast looks rather soggy, so if you’re lucky, I might find something else to blog about! Maybe…!

As the sun shines, so I dig

Yesterday was my third day of digging the veggie garden and I’ve finally developed a routine and a system and have, I hoped, figured out what I’m doing!

It’s going well. Progress is still slow but much better than on the previous two days. The trouble is, it’s going to start raining this afternoon so I have a feeling that now that both I and my muscles have figured things out, I’ll have to stop. Meh!

And the weaners are still having fun on their patch, though progress was not as fast as on the previous day. Some were keen to keep working for their grub, but others were happy to take the chance that I’ll feed them and love them whether they sleep or dig!

B and the weaners - 22 March 2009

B and the weaners

B was finally able to spend a non-rainy day at the farm with me and it was so lovely to have her around. She often helped her father in his vegetable garden when she was a child so was able to offer lots of advice and helpful tips, but mainly I just enjoyed her company and conversation. We don’t see enough of each other and spending a day in the sunshine was a real treat. In fact, I’ve been spoilt rotten with company over the past few days so today will be very quiet. Too quiet, I think.

Dig it baby, dig it!

Yesterday was a tough day, as my aching muscles are only too willing to attest this morning. It was a lovely day: the sun was shining, the sky was blue and a cool breeze refreshed and regenerated: a perfect start to spring even if I was barely aware of the fact until I caught up on my blog reading last night!

I managed to talk Jennie into spending the day with me at the farm and had forgotten how much pleasure can be gained from doing one’s usual routine in the company of a wonderful friend.

We spent the morning getting the chores done and then planned to spend the afternoon in the orchard, where I would continue digging the vegetable garden and Jennie would sit back and enjoy the sunshine, get some fresh air into her lungs to beat her lurgy, groom Snipe, who is moulting by the bucket at the moment, and attempt to repair my trousers, which have decided to fall to pieces for no apparent reason: maybe an attempt to get out of digging?

But when we went to the orchard, the previous day’s efforts looked somewhat lacking:

The veg garden after Day 1 - 21 March 2009

The veg garden after Day 1

With the rest of that patch to dig, plus another of a similar size, we decided to call in the reinforcements:

The weaners on the vegetable garden - 21 March 2009

The weaners on the vegetable garden

With those four working on the second patch, I carried on with the first. Progress was, however, slow. My arms and back simply did not want to co-operate and it took me a long time to warm my muscles up and get them to do anything useful. And then, typically, just after Jennie joined me in the digging and we got into a routine, we came across a very large stone:

Jennie finds the boulder

Jennie finds the boulder

It took us a v.e.r.y l.o.n.g t.i.m.e to dig that wretched stone out of the ground, though we entertained ourselves with stories of buried treasure and Roman coins.

Jennie and the boulder - 21 March 2009

Jennie and the boulder

Being March, the hours of daylight available for digging were still limited and with the weaners to return to their enclosure, and all the pigs and chickens to feed, we were forced to call it a day.

It really didn’t seem like anything had changed!

The vegetable garden after Day 2 - 21 March 2009

The vegetable garden after Day 2

Still, at least the weaners had fun and I’m hoping that a second session today will, if nothing else, get rid of the grass, which will make things a lot easier!

The weaners on the vegetable garden - the results! 21 March 2009

The weaners on the vegetable garden - the results!

Things are looking up, however, as the weather forecast for the next couple of days has changed and it might not be raining on Monday after all, which means I get a bit more time to dig. Maybe!

Don’t suppose anyone fancies a day in the sunshine, working on their muscles and fitness?

Nah, didn’t think so!!!!

Busy, busy, busy!

Bailey, Tia and the dogs - 19 March 2009

Bailey, Tia and the dogs - 19 March 2009

While these guys have been relaxing and chilling in the sunshine, I’ve been digging. And digging. And digging. And yet it doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved very much!

It looks as though it’s going to rain on Monday so I’ll be spending the weekend with a fork in hand so please forgive my likely online absence over the next couple of days. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be outside yourselves during this spell of good weather and won’t be reading this until it rains anyway…!