Thursday 14 August 2014

50% Success

Anne and Simon's pigs ready to go. 
An early start this morning has me nipping round our own livestock doing 'breakfasts' and releases so that I can couple up the trailer and hit the road by 07:45. I am headed for Mentor Anne's (and Simon's). Their 2 cross (traditional) breed pigs are ready to go on their final journey and we are providing the haulage vehicle, our little Fiat and trailer.

See also Anne's blog if you like, on .

Temporary pig 'race' through the hedge
The pigs' paddock is in the corner between their drive and the lane on which they live, but has been, up to now 'behind' a hedge. Coming in, small and in their crate, the pigs could be hauled up the 100 yards of driveway, round the end of the hedge and back down the garden to their paddock. It was not really feasible to walk them back all that way, so Simon had hatched a plan to cut a hole through the hedge, lining it with pallets to make a mini 'race' leading to the trailer parked at the drive/lane junction. We both knew that the pigs might not want to go where the electric fence had been even though it was now turned off, and that they might not want to cross Simon's wooden 'clippetty clop' bridge over a ditch made of pallets.

50% success - one loaded. 
In fact neither of these hazards fazed the piggies at all, and we quickly got one loaded using the bribery of a bucket of meal and boiled spuds. However as a professional display of good pig wrangling, it was at that point it stopped being our finest hour. The 2nd pig hated the idea of getting cornered in the confined narrow space of the 'race' and was having none of it. Three quarters of an hour of trying included some near misses where Simon's feed bucket almost almost almost coaxed her in but then she'd spook and bolt, and 120+ kg of pig is not anything you can stop of it decides to barge you out of the way at a squealing gallop. I was tied up keeping pig #1 in the trailer, so Simon was just working up a good sweat on his own and the pig leading him a merry dance.

Narrow delivery lane. Topp reversing skills needed.
Time was running out - we needed to be at the butcher's for ten and anyway, Simon had a 'date' for 10 a.m. We decided to go with just the one pig, block the hole in the fence and head for town. After that decision what remained of the 'mission' went back to being plain sailing, an easy drive into town, a successful reverse into the narrow delivery lane and a problem free release of pig #1 to trot happily down the concrete into the butcher's lairage. A 50% success then and Anne will re-book pig #2 for a later date at which we may well enroll some extra man (or woman) power, but Anne tells me that pig #2 will now ONLY be fed from a bucket and will be coaxed down the race a few times as practice for her own big day, possibly next Thursday.

Left to right, Steak Lady, Mr SL and Liz.
For me, then, a whizz back home where we were to receive a visit from Steak Lady, Mr SL and 'Auntie Mary' (sister of Mr SL), down to have a look round the place and see all the new 'lines' (bees, pigs, goslings, this year's sheep) as well as to give Liz her Birthday presents (a little early!). We also fed them of course with many of the ingredients being home grown and the bread home made; they were delighted with that. They had arrived bearing various other gifts too, including some empty jam jars, so when they left we packed them off with their own vegetable crate.

Auntie Mary gets some 'tay' down her. 
They are currently in mid move, from Portmarnock down to near to the Silverwoods, with all the B+B students now 'evicted' to other homes and quite a lot of the furniture and 'stuff' already moved down to County Laois. The place they are buying has, allegedly, a rather fine and luxurious shed in the garden with heating, lighting and fancy worktops, so all the 'children' are full of curiosity as to the fate of that. Even more notable was that there was a fancy 'rabbitry' - a building also with heat and light, lined with rabbit hutches, but apparently the vendor is taking that one with him/her.

One of our honey bees on a leek flower
Meanwhile, no sooner had I posted bemoaning the lack of our bees using the flowers in our garden, than they suddenly are all over some leeks we left to go to seed over the winter. We have also seen them on hollyhocks and around the Kitchen Garden, so maybe the dearth of wild flowers is forcing them to look more locally.

That is it for this one. Catch up with you again soon.

1 comment:

Anne Wilson said...

'The best laid plans of mice and men', and all that Matt, never mind, another go next Thursday, at least we all know what we are letting ourselves in for. What surprised Simon was the fact that it was the least friendly pig that followed him, the one that likes her tickles was having none of it. Once again, many thanks.