Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Back in the Pig Game

The new pigs in their new home. 
Our biggest news by far for this post is a story I feel I have been living for 9 weeks already (or even longer); the arrival of our 2017 pigs. We placed our order for these before they were even born and through a regular supply of pictures sent to us by breeder Adrian we have sort of been with them through their births, first steps outside the ark and their early growth. Many of these pictures have been posted on here. We (and you) have not had to wait till that arrival day, pig under each arm, iconic first picture.

Not much room for these two to rattle around in our dog crate.
In the latter case, this just as well as we have not been able to collect these pigs till they were 9 weeks+ old. They are HUGE! Monsters! They were part of quite a small litter (5) so they were bigger at birth than "normal" and their Mum, Iris is a particularly good milker. When we saw them, at last, we gulped a bit and wondered if two of them would fit into our dog crate for the run home.

The Empress emerges from the ark. 
In fact, they did, all be it with no room to slither about as we went round corners. One more week and we could have had a problem. As it was, we reinforced the crate with a ratchet strap to stop any "bursting" and they settled down on their tummies with their tails sticking out through the bars. We were glad it would only be a 20 minute run home. We unloaded them by opening the side door of the crate so that they didn't have to worry about turning round or coming out bum-first.

Bumble bee on apple - more blue skies!
The size of them (I can't wait to get a first weight estimate) was also the reason why I never got the iconic pig-under-each-arm shot this year. It would have been a powerful aul' lift and to keep them quiet if they chose to wriggle while Liz readied the camera. We were beefy enough, Liz and I, to lift the crate plus pigs on and off the wheel barrow but decided to quit while we were ahead.

A dog in the same field as some poultry and nobody is
getting eaten. Progress
Sue and Rob were with us too, collecting their pair on the same day. They solved their problem a different way. As well as the choice of 5 by 9-weekers we already KNEW about, Adrian had driven down Sunday to last year's breeder (Dermot) in Wicklow with the boar-piglets to get them castrated and had come by two youngsters at a growth stage 3 weeks earlier AND from a huge litter. These lads were TINY and would be half the price of ours and we could have them if we preferred a smaller animal. Sue fancied them so Rob put both in one cat basket and walked back to the car with those. No wheel barrow required.

Quince blossom
All parties are back home and our respective purchases have been shown their new arks and straw-beds. Ours have also had a light supper of apple and have been out and wandered round the paddock for a quick explore. We will go and meet them properly tomorrow. We hope they will be very happy here and will not give us any problems. Huge thanks to breeder Adrian and to his (and all of ours!) 'Mentor' Dermot who is like a vigorous one-man campaign to re-introduce the Oxford Sandy and Black breed to smallholders. Also to supply every wedding or event happening in Ireland with a hog-roast. He certainly gets about.

There have been some impressive pics of the fires on Social
Media. This one was on Facebook. 
Our hot, blue skies weather continues and everything remains dry. The skylines in various directions are regularly marred by plumes of smoke from wild fires burning through the heather, bog-turf and even forestry. Our most impactful one was a big one across both sides of the main road South from Castlerea down towards Ballymoe.

We had to drive down that road to help deliver a friend's tractor for a repair and we were quite lucky the road was not closed. There were half a dozen "fire engines" on site and many police, forestry and Civil Defence vehicles. One verge was burning so hot that the car's fresh-air ventilation drew in quite a blast of heat even though the windows were closed. The fire had already engulfed square miles of the bog-heather and was looking like it was about to invade the nearby forest. I was down there again today and they had got it out and the forest looked as if it had escaped.

Yes it's only 20-22 degrees but come on, this is Ireland.
That's HOT by our standards. 
With everything so tinder dry the fire-fighters must be exhausted from one fire after another and they are all presumably hoping that the break in the weather forecast for Friday brings a huge dump of rain.

Joints scrim-taped and filled.
Much more parochially, we can report good progress on the kitchen. The plasterer has come at last and done the honours on our ceiling, wall and archway. He has done a really good job and we are delighted with him. He was really good around the join from flat plasterboard to our deliberately exposed stonework wall where he has done a job every bit as good as our 2012 lads in the Living Room. Thank you very much Michael D.

I guess we'll have to paint it now! The new plaster.
That's probably enough for this one. If I think of anything else, I will add it to the next post. Good Night you new piggies. Sleep safely,


Elizabeth Cottuli said...

I am NOT "beefy": I am strong. 💪

Matt Care said...

Ooops, yes. Sincere apologies for the slack use of language and a synonym that just plain wasn't. We'll go with "strong", I think.