Busy times on the smallholding (444)

by Max Akroyd

The steady stream of jobs which need doing around the farm at the moment has become a river. Thankfully the weather is so glorious that it’s all a pleasure: a cold misty start soon gives way to a warm, sunny day. We really need some rain to make the soil workable again, but when the weather as sweet as this it’s hard to seriously will it to turn sour.

The next stage of the tortuous pig plan was enacted this morning. Big pig did a fine job of turning over her old area:


Well done big pig!


I spent a few hours setting up her new one. She is is now enjoying a brand new stretch of meadow:


You go girl!

This pleasure is tempered somewhat by the company of the guinea-fowl in her new domain. The boss of the guineas is a fine specimen but aggressive and noisy, although a lot less so when faced with 16 stones’ worth of big pig! I’ve yet to decide the fate of these interesting but – frankly – stupid birds. Some will soon be for the stewing pot for sure, but I’ll also be keeping a few for breeding purposes. This fits nicely with the arrival of breeding pairs of geese and ducks – as early as this Friday – in exchange for piglets. Building their enclosure is on the (long) list for this week too. When the sowing of seeds gets done, I’m not sure! Perhaps a night shift…

Before that the four piglets we’re keeping are moving to the barn which the guinea fowl have just left. I’m dreading picking our piglets because I know the ones I don’t pick will not have as nice a life as the ones I do. Oh well, a stint of barn cleaning this afternoon will keep my mind off such weighty decisions. And yes, I also have an appointment with some gooseberry bushes! 


The mulching with plastic of a neglected soft fruit bed planted a year earlier is possibly not the greatest way to spend the afternoon. In fact, sweeping out an old cow stall in readiness for the piglets’ transfer tomorrow seemed pretty good fun in comparison… But at least it’s done and by the end of the row I had this obscure skill down to a fine art. Which is just as well because the final bed to be done isn’t a mixture of  currants and gooseberries like today’s: it’s all the latter in all their spiky glory!


Just one more to go...