Long Shots, giggly piglets and bottles of beer.

This is the lane from the house to the gravel road. We are looking East.

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On the right which is the South side is the sweetcorn with the Maize up behind it. You can see how tall the maize (field corn) is when you see my tractor in front of it. corncorn-003

Also look at how much sweetcorn the animals have eaten so far. We still have plenty left which is a wonderful feeling.

On the South side of the lane is the hay paddock. After the rain the other day it has sprung into action and is growing beautifully.

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We can expect a third cut in three or four weeks especially if it warms up.

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And here is Mama, we have not seen her on the pages for a while. Yesterday my truck driver neighbour took the big lambs (and Mia) in to the little abbatoir. The meat we have produced this week goes to feed four families. Early Christmas presents. Giving good meat to families with wee children and the elderly,  and the hard working fills me with such satisfaction. And our own  families  freezers are almost completely empty, I have four packages of ground beef right at the bottom, we have been eating a lot of omelettes lately.

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When I went out yesterday evening  after dinner to feed out the last of the days sweetcorn stalks I saw a whole rabble of little brown bodies out grazing with Mama right down the back of Daisy’s Field.  The piglets were out and eating grass as fast as they could before they were discovered. By the time I had driven the tractor up from the field calling to them, then carried the sweetcorn to their pen they were all back in there squeaking with excitement. There is nothing they like more than to Run helter skelter when they hear the tractor coming.

I have closed their inside gate, so I can fill the hole in. I have to admit that I did not expect them to burrow like rabbits UNDER the fence!

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This lovely face is my only little gilt (girl) piglet. She and one of her brothers have been sold to a nice man (one of my American builders) with four children who is in the process of buying his own little farmhouse with a barn and buildings. He spent so much time out here this summer that he wants to begin his own little farmy. So she and her brother will be his first large animals.  In September his house sale goes through and he will come for his pigs and a few chickens. I told him never grow pigs without chickens, they are a perfect match.

Three of the other piglets have very surprisingly been bought by friends who want to raise them for meat right here on the farm. (In fact I could have sold them twice over.) Although this is a lot of extra work for me, I am thrilled that people are recognising that real farm raised animals are healthier, more sustainable and  worth the effort.  It is hard to describe really. I love feeding people good food. I am also a little proud knowing that these men see me as a farmer now and are confident enough to ask me to raise food for them. They recognise the rightness of visiting an old fashioned farm as a part of the cycle of their own family food gathering.  There is a place for us.

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Sheila lays at the gate and waits for the kitchen door to slam. Then she begins a low hullo grunt, waiting for me to start work.  I can hear her now, telling Ton that it is time. She is late.

Although a vet does not have the time to come out to visit a bad tempered sow, I have been in discussions. Charlotte is eating with gusto, drinking, peeing and pooping. She smells good and is not kicking at herself or exhibiting any symptoms of pain or fever. She has had the homeopathic remedies in her water since she was weaned from the piglets and is putting her weight back on fast. Her nose is cool and her eyes and skin are clear. So rest assured that she is not sick.  She will stay in the back pen for another few weeks to hopefully calm down then I am going to try to put her and Sheila together again.  At the moment she is ramming the side of her pen and barking at The Bobby who is grazing next to her pen. I can hear the tin sides of her windbreak banging from her angry snout.  You will remember that she came back from the Swine Herds place angry and it has gone on from there. When you think about it this has been a progressive aggression.  It has not come out of the blue. But she will settle down after her breakfast, and I will fill her wallow up again and she can have a nice sleep in the mud. I am very tempted by the bottle of beer a day idea!

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Minty and Meadow.  The easiest animals on the property.

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Good morning. The sun is up and I hear yawns and creaks coming from the verandah as the dogs and cats align themselves into their accustomed morning places waiting for their breakfasts.

I have nothing to do today but farm and preserve and cook. This is my favourite kind of day. I am late. I must hurry.

You all have a lovely day too.

your friend on the farm, celi

 

61 Comments on “Long Shots, giggly piglets and bottles of beer.

  1. I was on vacation and a group of Kiwi Mustang enthusiasts were staying in our hotel. I thought of you. They had the loveliest accents.

  2. I so love seeing that you have helmeted Guineafowl… when I posted on them so many said they had never seen them .. I felt a bit of an idiot as I was under the impression they had been sent nigh on all over the world… I now know I’m not wrong, they do exist in the USA…
    One question, is your little green tractor a John Deere.??

    • Yes that is a John Deere. And it is a hard working little machine too. And there are piles of Guinea Fowl around here, most of the little farms have them.. I did not realise they came in other colours ’til i saw a white one.. c

      • I love the little JD… had one on the last golf course I worked on.. it was the most reliable hard working equipment I had… could do anything…

  3. I came in late yesterday afternoon and was sad to read about Charlotte … I didn’t comment because I didn’t have anything of pragmatic value to add, and too many questions as usual 🙂 My instinctual reaction was that she may be ill or even that she was as horrified by that boar as we all were! Now maybe she feels it is Sheila’s fault for the absence of her babies – who knows. Enjoy your day on your lovely Farmy. Laura

    • I don’t think that pigs think about things quite that much. My feeling is that she is a naturally nervous pig and like some dogs when she gets frights she bites. The boar, the piglets, the separation, Sheila suddenly appearing, me suddenly appearing, trucks and vehicles coming and going, anything like that and she reacts with aggression. She will jump up and bark from fright then race to the gate and bash it. (injuring piglets) Pigs are not people and they are not as bright as people like to say but they do have good memories, they learn routines and calls and they react to stimuli. Some of the sounds they make (Sheila crying from the Iodine for instance, remind us of children). But the worry is that Charlottes reaction to change is not to go still like most pigs, but to rise up and bite. However some time alone with no disturbances may help her balance out. We will see. It is a new challenge that is for sure. c

  4. You’re going to LOVE this….Little Man Niko was sitting in my lap just now, while I was reading today’s missive…he saw your header and gasped, “OH! It’s the Lion King!” 😀
    Have a great day, Sweetie…we’re making Baby Steps back towards ‘normal’…whatever that is 😉

    • Oh we are disney land! Excellent! He has a good memory for colour.. I am glad things are settling down again. What will happen next i wonder.. c

  5. Congratulations on the sales and the recognition that you truly are a farmer. You are making progress in the eyes of those nearby who now see your value and the value of eating right.

  6. I’m excited you’ve sold your pigs and you’ll be raising some for others. We’ll be harvesting the 1st of our heirloom sweet corn in the next few days. Exciting stuff! Have a great day, Celi!

    • The chickens clean up after the pigs, so there is no wasted food attracting flies and no piles of poo in wet heaps the chooks scatter it all over to dry, their straw is turned and aired daily and pigs love eggs! perfect fit! c

  7. So good that your neighbours and kin are supportive of your endevours, there is no doubt that you can sell them on the idea of pasture raised pork and it is good income for the farm.
    My neighbour came today to make some changes to my pig pens in advance (hopefully) of Baby’s farrowing and subsequent laying in. I have been influenced by your experience with Charlotte and realised that I need something more substantial than my curent “smoke and mirrors” operation if Baby becomes a protective mum who does not want me near the babies. I now have a very big, initially shared, pen that is big enough for all of the waiting babies to gather on one side whilst Baby lies down on the other prior to the milk bar opening (ala Char’s snorting instructions to her babes, she is an amazing mum in this regard, I can only hope Baby has this gene too). Then another pen behind it with a hole between the two that that will intially be the creep until the babies get big enough to need their own space, then it will become their pen when the creep hole is closed. Both pens will have access to the same new outside space so that initally I have a place to feed baby if she is fractious about me coming near her small babies and will later serve as a feeding space for the piglets when they are bigger and need their own space to eat seperately and away from mum. At this time Baby will be able to return to her existing outside space from the big pen or even further away if weaning requires this. This set up actually involes five gates (not to mention all of the logistics that has gone in to the thinking about it, feeling quite brain quite drained now!) but I think it is worth it in the long run as it will cater for a whole range of different possibilities in the future such as sick pig ,new pig, visiting Boar etc. Phew, what do you think?
    One day I have an ambition to make my commens much shorter!

    • I think that sounds like a good plan. You have thought much further ahead than I did and this will pay off for sure. I also have gates that will move and make new pens and it is very useful. My pig man Keith told me something interesting. He said for the first 24 hours stay right away from mother and babies. Make sure her feed and water are up to date, though she will not want either for hours and hours, then walk away and leave her in absolute quiet. he believes I lost piglets due to that jumping up and down that Charlotte did to investigate every noise as a threat. A good thought for you and I. Also remember that farrowing can take a long time, Charlotte took over an hour, so don’t panic if there is a long gap between piglets. How exciting. Glad you have a neighbour to help with the building! c

      • I am not further ahead of you , i have the benefit of your experience and I appreciate your candid sharing. You’re right, so lucky with my neighbour who is probably more concerned with getting it right than I am, he is also the husband of Joy (two engaging goldens) who intoduced me to your blog, I am blessed to have such great neighbours.
        The actual birth bothers me less, seems to me pigs are good birthers and do not have the “wrong way round, too big to get through” complications that other livestock have. This fits in well with Keith’s “leave well alone for 24” philosophy. Anyway the reality is that it could happen when I am at work so it is a bit of a relief to know I am not that intrinsic to the process, I bet it doesn’t though, it will happen on a wet cold early morning, when I am supposed to be somewhere else for something “important”.

        • You will know when she is ready, other than the usual signs of imminent birthing she will lay there and look at you and her eyes will tell it all. If you look at her and say are you miserable Baby and she just sighs and looks back with the saddest eyes you will know that her time has come.. c

          • this is great info cos we are not there yet, she is still running towards me udder a wobble at feed time, maybe we will get the infrustructure completed before she is weary and birthing.

        • Re escaping piglets, seriously the best thing about keeping pigs is that they will always come back. The thought of food, the mere possibilty of food, the pavlovs dog resposnse i.e. tractor = corn, means they always come back, it is the pig keepers delight!

          • I thought about this this morning, when they all ran in from the field .. my worry is that they will get into the corn fields but i guess the same will apply as long as they know their way back they will come to the sound of my voice.. I have blocked up another hole this morning though and will go and find the electric fence, so i can GIVE them a field to graze on.. I love them grazing! c

  8. So much news today, the lambs, the meat, people buying your pigs but for you to raise – you are a “proper” lady farmer – but we already knew that 🙂

  9. Those piglets are little more than a gang of mischievous imps, just waiting for you to turn your back so that the devilment can begin. Now they’re digging under fences. What will they do next?
    Have a great day, Celi!

  10. So glad that some people around you want to sample the taste of beautiful, carefully reared pork. Some delicious lamb for others too and indeed mutton, so out of fashion for some reason. It’s sad about poor Mia, but great that she will have an alternative value to her life.
    Christine

    • It was sad about mia, but we all know that letting her endure such agony had to stop. And yes, happy well fed children on grass fed meat, without a hint of chemicals is a wonderful thought. c

  11. great news about the piglets. it must be so satisfying to be thought of as a farmer, which you are. will you be having more piglets in the future?

  12. I absolutely love reading your blog about your life on the farm. I myself don’t remember much about farm life. Mommy adopted me at 3 weeks, so it’s really hard to even imagine me on a farm but I was once upon a time. It’s neat to see how my other half lives waddling in the mud. Thanks so much for sharing (Hogs and Snout Kisses). I do hope that Charlotte is better behaving today. XOXO – Bacon

    • Bacon, do little tiny house pigs like you like water as well as the big pigs? I bet you get a paddling pool in the summer when it is hot? I have never even seen a pot bellied pig in real life so I did wonder.. c

      • 🙂 I’ve just started recently going outside. Up until a couple of months ago, I was solely an inside oinker out of my own choosing. Mom would carry me to/from the car and I had a strict anti-nature status. But I’ve been out a couple of times for short periods. I absolutely LOVE to play in the bathtub. It’s one of my favorite times. Mom has to scoot me out after a while cause I get in there stomping my feet and blowing bubbles in the water. Mommy says if I continue going outside, she will get me a wading pool. I’m looking forward to that believe it or not. She’s going to put it on the deck for me to play in. XOXO – Bacon

  13. Love the shot of the piglet having a mud bath. They are all the rage these days and women pay fortunes for them! 😉

  14. Hmmm. I was just thinking about that beer, and remembering my horse days and how some horses, particularly those that had tempers, really enjoyed the beer and it did have a calming effect. I wonder truly if that might help Charlotte? Perhaps she’d see it both as a kindness and a treat, plus the feel-good buzz afterwards. A positive routine she could look forward to, not that she doesn’t already have lots of positives in her routine. You are such a great farmer, Celi, and deserving of any and all nods to that effect.

    • Plus if it is Guinness it will contain iron and give her a boost. When I was pregnant I was told by doctor to drink a glass of Guinness a day! But that was in the good old days when beer wasn’t frowned on so much LOL

      • I was told that a glass of stout a day when breast feeding was good for the milk! fantastic!! it was too, i swear! c

  15. I always enjoy reading about your farm life and the satisfaction your receive from the hard work.
    I hope you are compiling all your blog posts for your book!
    It is a lovely day.

  16. I don’t know a single person who works anywhere near as hard as you do, Cecilia, nor anyone who deserves the satisfaction and reward of such efforts. I am astounded that you are willing to take on even more work by raising the pigs you’ve sold. Just incredible.
    I’m very sorry about Mia, but you made the right decision. I am wondering about Tilly. Is she still about? (Her picture graces my dining room table…among others of your vast broods.)

    • Oh yes Tilly is hanging about with Mama. She is a quiet wee girl that one and will be a lovely healthy ewe when she grows up i think.. c

  17. It sounds like a good day for you. Those pigs are so silly. It’s good to see Mama and the girls.

  18. I too was going to ask why ‘a must to have pigs and chickens together’ thanks for the reply to ‘misswhiplash’, now I know. I learn so much about farm life from your posts, I do not always leave a comment but I do read the posts.

  19. This is all so rich and satisfying. Your dream is coming true, and it’s great that local people are wanting to have good healthy meat; also that you are inspiring others to create their own farmies. This is how change happens, from the grass roots. It’s very encouraging.

  20. You are so busy, Celi! The farm is humming, and the industry is evident all the way across and continent and an ocean. Glad the piglets are going to be around on the farmy for longe; it seems to me a very nice place for a pig to live.
    Hope Charlotte cheers up soon.

  21. You are so insightful I am sure you realise, but your efforts and little farmy are paying forward in so many ways, feeding those who need it, inspiring would be farmers, and educating and inspiring those of us who enjoy the ‘old fashioned’ idea of good, clean food. And you write so well too! Thank you.

  22. I haven’t read the comments, and am a city mouse indeed; but you said charlotte came back from her time with the whatsamacallit and was angry; ppost traumatic pig syndrome; was she mated; might not have been good? love your post; stay wonderful

    • Yes she must have had a hard time,she definitely got in a fight with him, she just does not like other pigs. c

  23. Hi Celi, I don’t think anyone has yet recommended Rescue Remedy for the aggressive Charlotte? Or maybe that is what you meant by homeopathics. It is certainly worth a try — it’s homeopathic stress relief for animals, avail. on Amazon. It is known to work. Best of luck with this big challenge!

  24. Not only is your builder inspired by life on the The Kingdom of Farm your influence has touched us as well. We need your advice, Celi. It’s about meat chickens. How long do you feed these birds before they become dinner?? A large chicken coop here on the dairy farm will be divided and given a separate run for these birds. Virginia

    • This is the first time I have grown them but my research tells me to fatten them slowly and give them piles of greens. I am expecting it to take me about ten weeks, from woe to go. I have heard them taking only 6 weeks but that seems crazy. mine are already getting feathers though. They will do very well in your coop, and later you can leave the door open so they can get into the fields for a rummage .. they will come back at night to sleep. What an exciting development. What kind of birds are you thinking of getting.. c

      • Now that is still in the research stage Celi. We’ve just taken delivery of two of this fat meat chickens from a farmer friend and now we are inspired to “grow” out own. XX V.

        • You should too, just imagine all the scraps from the kitchen and weeds from the garden that you can turn back into tasty roasts, what a thought.

  25. The good and the bad . . . so Mia and the Murphies have departed and omelettes may be on the menus but a few times a week: it must break your heart just a tad every time that happens . . . as you say four families will benefit . . .Hope every hope that Char comes ‘good’ – was kind’of hoping you might be able to reverse the gilt sale, but that is hardly something possible under the circumstances . . . From right across the globe I am willing that wonderful hay paddock to grow: the third cut as large or larger than the last and you would be home and hosed . . . pleasant evening, Miss C 😀 !

  26. That’s an amazing field of maize. Your tractor looks like a toy in the field next to it. Those piglets seem to be testing the limits – of the fencing and your patience. They remind me of little children pushing to see what the limits are.

  27. I imagine that Charlotte thinks someone has run off with her piglets and that’s made her cross, not to mention those hormones.
    Maybe Sheila should have a go at being mum next time 😉

  28. Is so good that you are providing good quality and healthy food to so many families… but I honestly couldn’t do it, I’m sure I would get so attached to the animals that I probably ended with big Noah’s ark 😉 I think that what you are doing is wonderful, really! 🙂
    G

  29. Curious! Why pigs with chickens (I hope to get chickens in the future and I know we will be getting pigs). If you have written about this, would you direct me to the blog title? Thank you much!!

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