A last-minute reprieve (528)

by Max Akroyd

Scene from our front door

Today was meant to be the day to have our boar killed. After many weeks of anxiety, I’ve reached a kind of equilibrium in this regard: the regret at losing my enormous, porcine friend balanced, after some research, by the realisation of how much food this barbaric act will provide for our family… As well as a sort of companionship he has delivered a formidable soil-turning performance, effectively creating my potato beds and lots of hollows to plant cucurbits into and thereby the possibility of the mother of all pumpkin patches! 

I won’t write his full obituary yet though: more snow last night means the roads between here and the butcher’s house may prove hopelessly slippy. As I write this snow is falling in great clumps again; the kids are getting so layered up that, when they fall over outside, they risk forming a giant snowball hazard…

At noon, the butcher will make his decision whether to travel and the pig – currently grumbling about his late breakfast – will have his fate determined.


A stay of execution was granted. The sun’s heat was just too puny to thaw out this part of Finistère and the pig will probably be around for a week or so yet…

Without the anticipated butchery taking place and snow all around, I had to resort to the unfamiliar concept of  ‘getting ahead with things’. This meant clearing out the “Top Barn” which will accommodate the meat hens early next year; self-sufficiency in chicken is an early target for 2010. It’s a fine barn – too good for junk – and a little effort yielded thirty six square metres of excellent future hen house.  Should be enough room for at least twenty birds once I’ve built them a little run on the outside.


The Top Barn