From the Left

From the Left: Lady Astor, Alex, Carlos the Tiny, Aunty Del.  The summer herd. Small but good and hopefully productive.


The Tall and the Short of it.  No problems there at the moment.

Sheila has been moved across to her house in the field. Happily I might add. Now that she is alone I can leave her front gate open so she can wander down by the creek – once she knows the pathway she always comes back.  She walks along slowly. And come in when she is called. Slowly.  I could not do this when I had bees hives down there so though I  miss the bees,  letting the pigs roam for forage is a positive. sheila

But until then she is catching up on her sleep after being in charge of the Terrible Twins for the entire winter.  Speaking of the Terrible Twins – Molly and Tahiti, they have moved over to the West Barn.  They are still a little unsure about the change of location and were very vocal every time I entered the barn but they have a huge space now and will do well there until it is time to visit with Manu.

I will  bring Poppy home tomorrow after I have cleaned out her space. Easier said than done. The clearing out of the barn after Sheila and the Twins had the run of it.

turkeys and a peacock

I walk back and forth from the West Barn and here is what I find when I return to the house. My three companions waiting patiently.  I am surprised they do not follow me down the road! Soon though the gardens will  begin to be planted up with all of the spring vegetables so they will have to be confined for the mandatory two months. It is the same for all the big birds. They can take out a  long row of two month old carefully grown cabbages in seconds and then turn their beady eyes to the kale seedlings.   So they have to be locked up. Until the gardens are established the big birds  must stay in their palaces. Or we will have no food at all.

We are working hard on getting the vegetable gardens prepared for planting. Every year they get bigger so I have more food for my workers and guests.  And I still need more for the freezers and winter. The summer calendar is almost full we have lots of guests coming this year.

Yesterday had a high of 53F (11C) and last night a low of 48 (8C).  Way above average for this time of year but as the Old Codger says “I’ll take it.” Next week will be cooler but still excellent weather for working. It is raining now, so my first job of the day is the bring my cows up to the shelter. They will turn the fields into a muddy wasteland pretty quickly in rain like this.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love c

34 Comments on “From the Left

  1. You know, we moved our pigs to a new paddock yesterday. Unbelievably challenging. I do prefer the herding animals. There were many moments where we said, “what ARE you doing, pig?”

    • Hope you were carrying lonng sticks for the gentle bottom smacking. Mine just follow the bucket, the trick is never to let them catch the bucket. Glad you had a successful move though – in the end. c

  2. I love your size-graded cattle :-), and that is surely the most contended pig in the northern hemisphere right now. She is breathing huge thankful sighs of relief, like a maiden aunt who has patiently put up with rowdy visiting nieces and has now handed them back to their mother… Love the faint haze of green on the bleached winter grass. Spring’s on the way!

  3. “I’ll take it” seems a very common saying with regard to the weather. This old codger affirms.

    We got 0.43″ of rain according to my new electronic rain gauge.

  4. It all sounds happy and conTenTed… It doesn’t seem to take long for you to get back on top of the chores after a holiday. I sigh for a slice of your energy!
    We’re going to walk by the sea this afternoon, seeing as the sun is shining fit to bust.
    Lots of love,
    ViV xox

  5. We had our first spring storm yesterday. Lightening took out the power, hail covered the streets and roofs, and wind whipped everything not nailed down. Ready or not, spring is here. You are more ready than I am. It’s the season of WORK!! 😦 I had no idea those birds were paying rent. They look like they own the place. 🙂

  6. Well, that “faint haze of green” will soon turn to a deep lushness with this rain you are having. It won’t take long now. I think that’s one of my favourite things about spring in our part of the world, the utter lushness of nature. The world is waking up and we get to witness it each year. Our temperature hit 17 c. yesterday — clear and sunny too — apparently breaking a 10-year record for a high on this date… but it is scheduled to drop back to norms again today and for the next few days with your rain.
    Sheila looks so comfy in her new home again. I hope she welcomes Poppy when she returns to the fold.
    Hope you have a lovely day too! ~ Mame 🙂

    • Poppy will go straight to the barn close to her farrowing pen, no need to put her in with Sheila – she will have to come straight back out again in a few weeks.. best to stay close and quiet. c

  7. Rain here today as well but we have enjoyed some wonderfully sunny warm days as of late so it was time. Your cows and piggy look very content and happy.

  8. I’m glad you’ve had a mild winter this year – you had your fair share of cold over the last couple of years 🙂

  9. We are getting some lovely rain right now and it is that nice gentle kind that just makes me feel so settled and soothed. The cows look wonderful and of course a very happy and content pig sounds it out . 🙂

  10. Yes! Our garden expands each year too! Last fall we put in two more giant raised beds, and Jack sowed clover in them which is almost ready to be hoed under and the beds planted!!! Exciting!!! And our spring garden plants in the greenhouse are just about ready to go in the ground! Lady Astor, Alex, and Aunty Del are all pregnant, right? Can’t wait to see your birthing schedule you talked about yesterday! Ellie Mae, our pregnant Gloucestershire Old Spot will farrow the first week in April, and then at least 3 of our 4 goats will start kidding the second week of April! I can’t wait!!! 🙂

  11. Sheila sure looks relieved and, I’m sure, will very much enjoy having her peace. Carlos certainly is the Tiny, is he likely to get any taller? I know he’s a Dexter and they’re not huge, but he might have some difficulty come that time his services are needed. I think I’d like having big bird lumps on the porch, they look so content. I recently saw a pattern for a knitted shawl that mimics peacock plumes, all in white, airy and etheral, it brought sweet Godot to mind, especially the way they had it displayed for the photos. Stay dry and have a lovely day.

    • Oh yes – carlos is just a calf – not even a year old yet – though he will not be needed for the big girls – but next year he will be fine with heifers and his own dexter wife.

  12. Nice to see the herd and to know that everything is settled. It must be fun planning the planting and looking forward to a big productive garden.

  13. Oh, I forgot to say. I saved that lovely audio of Sheila talking and when my 7 year old granddaughter came for a sleepover this weekend I played it to her. She LOVED it and we both oohed and ached at the wonder of Sheila talking, right on cue each time. The farm travels so far into many hearts all over the world, and now into this young heart. That seems so wonderful, for a city child to visit the farm.

  14. My Ohio granddaughter finished her schooling 2 semesters early, so had planned to travel until it’s time for college. I suggested she get in touch with you and maybe do some WOOF-ing…she is great with animals. Well, she took the WOOFing part of my suggestion, but has chosen Argentina… contest really, I’d choose Argentina over Illinois too 🙂 She leaves tomorrow, lucky thing.

  15. Hello Ms C! I’m not sure if you remember my piglet questions from last month (castration, Fe injections, eye teeth, tail docking…) but I have an up date. Our sweet Willow did indeed deliver 11 very strong healthy babies and all but one is male. (Can you believe all those little boys?) Each of the piglets are robust and active and @ 4 weeks are eating big pig food and happily still nursing too. Our sweet Willow is a good mother and with lots of fresh eggs and Jersey milk along with her regular diet is holding her weight well. They are a delightfully happy family and our children (and neighborhood children) spend lots of time just watching their piggies antics. We went with your recommendations and did not dock tails or clip teeth. The castration took place 2 weeks ago and though it took about 2.5 hours went smoothly. My next question is when do you wean the babies? The internet and some old time pig growers in our region claim that the pig mothers will not wean their babies and the farmers instead must step in to separate them. What has your experience been?

    • Congratulations – you and Willow are doing SO well. That is an excellent result. I leave them to seven weeks before weaning. Maybe eight – some people do six. It mainly depends on the health of the Mum and her teats and how much your wee fellas are eating – they are being fed in their creep area right? Then this is the space you will use to wean them. Feed them heaps so they cut back from their mother. On the day, when they are all in their creep fighting for their food and distracted, quietly shut their little gate and lead Willow with her food out and FAR AWAY. Be very prepared. Close gates behind her as she follows you. It is always best for the piglets to continue in that space and to move the mother, otherwise the wee fellas lose weight from the fright of new surroundings. Then lock them both down with no hope of an escape for a few weeks. Cut Willows feed back to the 4 pounds a day so she dries up.. Neither of my sows cared much when I weaned their babies as long as they could not hear them. After a while feeding becomes painful for them. But you are right – they will not wean them themselves. But with lots of preparation you can do this easily. Let me know what you think and once again Excellent to have that many babies survive and grow. She will cycle back into heat exactly 21 days from weaning. c

  16. I sure love Aunty Del……such a special reminder of Daisy…boss……awwww
    The farmy continues to be my first stop/ visit each day….thanks C…’s comforting to visit each day …. I may not comment too often but a day without the farmy is a day that seems amiss….

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