February 2020 Farm Round Up

It’s official.   2020 delivered the wettest EVER February, according to the Met Office.  Didn’t need their super-computers to tell us that – I think we knew.  First Ciara, then Dennis and finally Jorge blew in and caused chaos.  We had branches down, a fence shattered and several buckets relocated around the farm but we did better than many.  Whilst the fields are wet, we are not completely flooded although I must say, the mud has been … special!

But, life on the farm continues and the pigs are far more suited to this weather than the farmers.  They grow thicker coats during the winter, just like those shaggy ponies you see out on the moors, and their feet are designed to work well in mud – they don’t suffer foot problems like sheep do thank goodness.

The farmers are not quite so nimble – wellies get stuck on a regular basis but at least if you fall, the landing is a soft one 🙂

Piglet Watch

March will bring us our first piglets of the year – we have three litters due between the 3rd and the 15th!  That means getting organised and our expectant mums being moved to new paddocks – a new house, on their own, time to get settled before the chaos arrives.  First up will be White Tail – a young Berkshire pig who is going to be having her first litter courtesy of Boris, our Berkshire boar.  If you read this blog regularly, you will remember that we bought Boris last year – he had won awards in the show-ring but we did not know if he would take to his new role as a stud.  He could be a star or a dud – hence the name seemed appropriate!  Well, by the size of White Tail, I think we can safely say that Boris has proven his capability!  A first-time mum and a first-time dad!  Fingers firmly crossed.   

Next up will be Frosty – an experienced mum, on her 3rd litter with us – followed by her daughter, Snowy, who is another first time mum, but if she is anything like her mum, she will be a natural!  

Watch FaceBook for piglet photos, or come and visit – it is good for the piglets to have visitors, we like well socialised pigs!

Weather Update:

Spring is definitely on its way thank goodness.  The hedgerows are covered in buds, primroses are blooming, the catkins are out already and the grass in the empty paddocks is looking greener.  Can’t let the pigs onto the fresh land yet – we still have standing puddles and they would reduce the lot to a mud bath in no time.  They’ll have to wait a bit longer!   At least the days are more showery of late – i.e. it hasn’t rained ALL day 🙂  Saw a lovely quote online in a farming group last week “it has only rained twice this winter – one for 30 days and the other for 45 days!”  That may not be entirely factual, but it feels true enough!

The Guineas:

We’re pretty sure they have started laying – the boys have certainly started their squabbling which consists mostly of chasing each other with their wings held out to make themselves look bigger and scarier.  We’ve found a couple of empty eggshells – probably stolen from a nest by a rook or crow – but haven’t found a nest yet.  Will keep our eyes peeled but with not much cover yet, the eggs are very vulnerable to flying thieves who, literally, have a bird’s eye view!!

The Cottage:

We had some lovely guests last weekend, in the area for the BIG birthday party of some family who live nearby.  With all the fuss about Corona Virus, I think a lot of people are keeping their holiday plans on hold for the time being – we shall see!   If you are interested in a ‘staycation’ in a luxury cottage in the country, then check out pricing and availability here.  And we have a new FaceBook page, just for the cottage that highlights things to see and do in the area – why not follow it HERE.

This Month’s Interesting Fact:

Every month, to round up the Round-Up, I either have a rant (usually about misleading packaging) or try to throw in an interesting fact.

In fact, this month, you get two facts …

First up – did you know that in the UK, ultra-processed food accounts for 50.8% of the spend in supermarkets, whereas in France, it only accounts for 14%.  That’s quite a difference and I think we should be more like France … in that respect anyway! 

And the second one, an interesting thought in these Brexit negotiation times, 55% of pork produce (so that includes ham, sausages, bacon etc) consumed in the UK is imported!  If only we could produce pork in the UK, huh? 🙂