A funny piggy video to share!

Just for fun, I’ve got a video to share. This is Curly and Pinky, taken on Monday (or Tuesday, can’t remember!). When we got to the farm, Curly was making really strange noises, and I wanted to record them as Jo had never heard anything like it in a pig, and I just found them so funny! I don’t know how I held the camera steady!

Just so that you know, Curly is the smaller pig who starts off on the right. Enjoy!

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Photo updates

To finish off my updates from the past few days, I have some photos to share.

sulky pigs

This is of Pinky and Curly, sulking because we had taken their ark away from them while we were in the process of moving them to fresh grazing. They decided to nap on the straw that we had left behind and pretend that their pig ark was still there!tail

This wasn’t intended to be a picture of a pig’s bottom, but ended up being one by the very nature of what I wanted to show you. Isn’t the curl in Curly’s tail just gorgeous! He has the perfect pig tail, with the perfect twist! I love it, and couldn’t resist taking this picture!

black chick

Mama Silkie had three chicks recently, and this is one of them. Jo is hoping to get them to be friendlier and more approachable by handling them regularly as chicks, so this was me holding the black chick at feeding time one evening.

2 chicks

And here are the other two. Aren’t they just the cutest things? I really hope I don’t turn out to be allergic to feathers!

dark bay

Obviously, this wasn’t taken at the farm, it is of course Cardiff Bay at night. Ten o’clock last night actually, when Jo, handsome and I were on a wild goose chase, trying to find out where the Doctor Who filming was happening. We didn’t find it in the end, which was disappointing for us all. We had been given a tip that the crew were parking in a particular car park in the Bay, and we found all the trailers and suchlike, but no sign of filming. So we thought we’d check the actual Bay area and the ‘Torchwood Hub’, but no sign. Ah well, c’est la vie!

fab

And finally, this gorgeous boy has been my constant companion for the past few days while I’ve been diggin the vegetable patch, never leaving my side! He’s a lovely dog and it has been lovely to have his company. His name is Fabulous, and I really think he lives up to it!

Quick question…

…do any of you think that I could be allergic to chickens or pigs?

I’ve been having various blood tests recently, which show that I’m allergic to something, but the doctor can’t put her finger on what. Jo said that I should ask whether it could be pigs or chickens, given that I frequently cuddle members of both species when I spend time at the farm. I didn’t really think anything of it, until this evening when I’ve got a really runny nose (sorry if that’s too much information!), a sinusy type headache (seems to be focussed on the front of my forehead and behind my nose) and a general feeling that something’s not quite right. Or am I being over-sensitive to my symptoms, and just tired from a busy day, headachey after unaccustomed time in the sunshine (I did have a headscarf protecting my head from the worst of the sun) and sniffly after moving the straw from pig ark to pig ark?

Any answers/advice?

Cheers!

Gardening fun

So, I’ve been largely absent from cyberspace for the last couple of days, due to the demands of Jo and her budding vegetable garden! I’ve had a lovely couple of days, spent entirely outside in the health-giving fresh air and sunshine, picking at the ground with a fork when the mood took me, or otherwise watching Jo do the hard work while I commented and made general encouraging noises. A very satisfactory state of affairs!

Friday was a day off for my children, due to a teacher training day, which meant we were able to spend the whole day with Jo. Handsome spent a lot of time becoming Midge the Dog’s best friend, while Cheeky manfully stripped to his vest and trousers and hacked away at the ground with all his four year old strength! We had a picnic in the sunshine, and Jo and I ended the day with large omelettes made from her own chickens’ eggs and flavoured with sausages from home-reared pigs. Yum!

Yesterday (Saturday) was an unexpected treat for me, as at the last minute I offered to spend the day with Jo again, leaving the children with GG to prepare Mothers Day surprises for me (more on that later). She picked me up after breakfast and we had another really lovely day (which she documented here), making some small progress on her future vegetable garden. Digging really is harder work than I had pictured it would be!

I wasn’t a huge amount of help for the actual digging, due to the cold that I think is much, much better after all that fresh air, but she says that it was helpful to have me there to groom Snipe (who is moulting profusely) and help make some of her other jobs go a little faster. And anyway, I got to spend time playing with all the pigs and making friends with some of the chickens, so I’m happy!

I really have too many photos to write a cohesive post, interspersing them here and there, so I’m just going to put them in a big splodge here. Sorry!

 Handsome and Cheeky get gardening!

Handsome and Cheeky get gardening!

The weaners arranged themselves in size order ready to be fed!

The weaners arranged themselves in size order ready to be fed!

I looked to my left whilst eating my lunch...

I looked to my left whilst eating my lunch...

...then I looked to my right!
…then I looked to my right!
I know for a fact that Jo would never approve of this sort of begging behaviour – because as soon as she started to walk back up the garden towards us, the dogs assumed an air of nochalance and wandered off, as if expressing an interest in my sandwiches was the last thing on their minds! 
Speckle and I became good friends yesterday

Speckle and I became good friends yesterday

Once we realised how hard digging was, we set the weaners to work on the other segment that needed sorting!

Once we realised how hard digging was, we set the weaners to work on the other segment that needed sorting!

Sleepy dogs, at the end of a busy day. I love how friendly these two are!

Sleepy dogs, at the end of a busy day. I love how friendly these two are!

Reception committee

So, today GG and I went up to the farm to feed Jo‘s pigs. She had to be somewhere else and usually I don’t mind helping her out, so we made the trip after collecting the boys from school. That was where the problems started. Apparently, her pigs like to have their dinner at about 3.30, and so when we arrived, nearly an hour later than that, we had a surprise when we noticed Tia and Scrumpy waiting for us by the gate of the field. Normally, they are confined within their own, fenced, paddock. However, hunger (or boredom, or sheer devilment!) drove them to break out of their pen and come to find us. We have no idea how long they had been out, although we noticed significant holes, recently dug, along the path to the food container!

reception committee

This was not the only thing which struck us on getting out of the car and into the field. Have a look at the photo below; according to a phone conversation which I had with Jo after we got home, these used to be neatly stacked sacks of waste vegetables, waiting to be added to the compost heap or lasagne garden. Bless! We did our best to pick up the larger vegetables, but as it was almost completely dark we had to abandon most of the sprouts to their fate! Sorry Jo, but just think; those little sprouts will condition the ground just a little bit around the container van so that it will be that tiny bit better drained and the grass will be infinitesimally more luscious later in the year!

precompost

And just to prove (to Jo) that GG and I didn’t have a Machiavellian moment and chuck the veggies all over the place, here in the next photo I managed to (quite blurrily, I’m afraid!) capture a picture of the culprit!

the culprit

Bad Tia! I also have a photo of my husband, expressing his current opinion of the pigs using only one finger! I’ve deicded to refrain from posting that though, as this is a family blog!

Bailey the boar had also done a Houdini and managed to get out of his enclosure, although he was more concerned with trying to work out how to get back inside rather than in exploring the perimeter of the field. And I suppose I should say, in their defence, that all three pigs quite happily went back into their pens when we brought their dinner buckets to them!

I’m hoping that it will be a little while before Jo next asks us to pig sit, and that she will have taught them a). patience and b). manners by the next time I visit!

Confused pigs!

So, to add to Jo’s account of her ambitious cockerel, Captain Flint, I offer this photo of her confused sows, Tia and Scrumpy!

Tia and Scrumpy

While we were moving Bailey and Brini’s pig ark this afternoon, we noticed Tia and Scrumpy getting a little ‘familiar’ with each other. Just to clarify, they are both girl pigs (for any townies reading who don’t know what sows are!), but are both in season as well, and obviously desperate to continue their line!

I suppose the old saying really is true; any port in a storm!

Boxing Day on the farm

BaileyOn Boxing Day, in order to give Jo and B the chance to spend some time with their family, we agreed to do the afternoon pig and chicken feed. When we saw the weather we were glad that we were doing it. It was a glorious day, crisp if not deep and even! The sky was blue and it was my idea of a great winter’s day. GG decided that he’d like to come with me and I readily agreed as it’s far nicer to share good times with someone rather than appreciating them alone.

chicksSo, we got to the farm where Jo had laid out all the food ready to be delivered to the three pens. We did the chickens first as they tend to go to bed quite early and I didn’t want them waking up hungry in the night! We were able to see the new(ish) chicks as well, which was really lovely. They’ve grown such a lot since the last time I saw them, and are proper miniatures of their mother now. chicks and mama silkieI spent ages trying to get decent pictures of them all, and chatting to them!

Then it was time to move on to the pig feeding, which takes considerably longer, even though there are only four pigs now at the farm. You have to spend time with Tia and Scrumpy while they’re eating because Tia is a slow eater and Scrumpy will do her best to nick some of Tia’s dinner if she is left to her own devices! GG has made friends with Tia recently and so he stayed with her while I kept close to Scrumpy, giving her a back scratch while she was eating in the hopes of chickensslowing her down! She was quite well behaved on Friday though, and apart from nudging at our legs a couple of times to try to get to Tia’s food, she left her in peace. Then we gave them their ‘pudding’ of bread and vegetables, which they were very pleased to see. I made them both sit down in order for me to feed them the first bit of bread by hand. Scrumpy was happy to oblige, but Tia was in a puppy-like mood and was bounding around me rather than sitting nicely, and ended up jumping up to get the bread from my hand! I’ve never seen a pig jumping like an excited dog before, so it rather took me by surprise!

After finishing with Tia and Scrumpy’s food, Briniwe moved over to Bailey and Brini’s enclosure. There we followed a similar pattern with GG taking Brini her food while I gave Bailey his bowl. They are both quite well-mannered pigs, neither rushing to get to the other’s bowl although they do leave the last mouthful of food in order to rush over to the other’s bowl and check that they both had the same! Once again, they enjoyed their afters, and once again I spent lots of time taking pictures, trying to get the pair of them to pose in attractive ways before the daylight completely left us!

All in all, being at the farm provided a welcome break for us from the steady, continuous process of eating into a stupor which our Christmases seem to have degenerated into! We relished the prospect of being out in the open air, and had we not been constricted by the daylight fading and by the expectation of our family that we would be returning quickly, we would have loved to have spent more time in the peace and quiet with the animals.