Excitement on Green Pastures

Excitement on Green Pastures – 27 February 2009

Just to show that there is excitement on green pastures, here is the latest at 18:30 GMT today, from the English Farm:

We have just had someone pop in to tell me the piglets were running down the lane to the neighbours. Of course, as an approach is made they run further and faster away!! A quick call to ‘The Boss’ elicited a short and sweet response: “BlighterS” (or something like that, I may have misheard – but he had left the gate open) I managed to get five back to the pen that were still on the farm and the other, well, I mused, he’ll come home when he hears nuts dropping into the trough.

‘Head Herdsman’ is now back and, having climbed through the hedge to the lane, he gave the stray piggy a swift horoscope in the form of a green, size 9! Said pig is now back with mum (Peg, a free- thinking type, “let them find their own way” type of girl!) and happily troughing away.

Tales from the other swine section – we had Lil who farrowed four and had a fantastic wall-to wall carpeted straw den, rather large for the number and comfy beyond compare as far as pig pens go. Was she happy? NO! In a word! She wanted to move away from this private abode and bunk up with her two sisters (Jules and Win) who had farrowed about a week later than her.

They lived next door in another rather large residence, timber framed, well bedded with en suite facilities at one end. Having negotiated two vertical pallets used as dividers, Lil is now part of the newly formed, ‘Beverley sisters’ tribute band’ who seem to share motherhood equally of the 20 piglets. We have yet to determine whether each piglet knows its own mum and feeds from her or whether they simply put out the feelers for any teat, grab and suck for their life.

This of course defies all-natural behaviours of pigs in that one set of piglets should, in theory, fight the next and the mothers should defend them to the hilt and not let other sows near them. A ‘funny-farming-fenominum’ we have here. We can only assume that the same boar defiled all three gilts and they are swapping stories as we speak with the piggies musing over their wayward father. Answers on a postcard please.

On the bovine front, the castrated steers on the right side of the barn (Rolo’s {I’ve got horns so leave me alone} mob) fervently defy their physical capabilities and believe they have something to offer the fruity Angus heifers on the left side of the barn given that they spend at least 50% of any given evening serenading the young black girls.

This is all well and good but it only serves to lead astray the batch of Hereford suckled steers in the pen next to the AAs who will inevitably attempt some sort of pole vaulting response over the dividing gate, with ensuing catastrophe no doubt.

Moving onto poultry – the 6 that became 5 then 4 then 3, grew to 8 with a purchase by the husband and then to 14 with a gift from a neighbour (when I say ‘gift’ I mean exchange for a bale of hay or two) Now in most folk’s calculations, that should give us a good dozen eggs a day. However, these are exceptional hens that seem to follow the ‘free-roaming-anything-goes’ nature so evident here at The English Farm. They lay when they want and where they want and as The Husband is not keen to climb up and down the height of the barn on a daily basis so we only get a handful of eggs every day – when they do appear, I am wary about writing a laid date on the shell.

Now we love the ‘Freedom foods’ concept as much as Hugh Many-Names but trying to track down eggs in a hay barn with all the nooks and crannies that exist between bales is challenging to say the least. Our girls are wonderful characters as long as they don’t come too close to me (slight feathers- flapping, not-for-me phobia) We have Mrs Blackiehen, Mrs Snowywhite and at least a dozen of Mrs Betsy Browns and have discovered this afternoon that they love out of date Frosties.

The sheep by comparison are positively boring. On the last 50 to lamb now – yippee! Sadly the last 50 are the breed that are inherently independent, “…no thanks, I need no help to lamb sort” – but the very ones that love multiples (3+) and tend to need the help when they have a head emerging and no chance of lambing alone. The Husband, who was known as a mean forward for the local YFC Saturday team (some years ago, I should add), is quick to execute a full-on tackle worthy of anything Jonah would have demonstrated – such devotion to his girls!

Anyhow, that’s brought you up to speed with a little titter, I hope. I have to go now as we are expecting someone round at 7 and Jon (an old neighbour of mine from a previous, quiet life) for the weekend at 9:30 and I still haven’t made the beds, hoovered or put supper on…..the usual military precision organisation that befits this well organised establishment.

Any reference to physical cruelty in the form of green wellies, pallets and rugby is purely illustrative and therefore unworthy of referral to the RSPCA!