I seem to have a good scheme going - you drop off all your windfalls, and I will give you a pack of bacon or sausages (when we have them). Everyone's happy and the pork tastes great! Bring on the apple sauce.
The porkers have been a great help with some wild parts of the garden. In preparation for another hectic summer, we put them in to " destroy " during the day for a week, and the walled garden is now ready for planting. The porkers it seems are a lot brighter than me, they had left a corner of the garden untouched; when I went with my 2 spaniels to explore the corner, we soon realised there was a very active wasps nest! Poor dogs spent the afternoon with anti-sting soothing medicine - how bright of the young pigs!
The porkers have also left all the shrubs so I have been picking the black berries, thinking of all the jellies and jams I should be making with them. I would have given them to a great village character, David, but he has sadly past away. He was the master of turning any hedge row offerings into something delicious, everything was always beautifully labelled and the first produce to be auctioned at the village Harvest Festival. It was good to see the village Church full for David's funeral, sadly the church is far from full on a normal Sunday, resulting in the Penhill Benefice no longer being able to afford to pay for upkeep of our village Churches. It will be odd to be travelling to other Churches for our local services, but clergy and funds are scarce and that is the reality.
Duchess, the Berkshire sow, is expanding slowly, not as large as last time, but this seems to be the difficulty with having a boar, you never really know when the event will happen; potentially she could farrow (give birth) any time after next Wednesday! The 29 Bainbridge primary school children who visited us last week were thrilled at the idea of piglets in time for half term. The reason for the children’s visit, ages ranging between 3 - 5 years, was to learn about goats and goat's cheese; having enjoyed the book ‘Three Billy goat's Gruff’. Black Adder was on sparkling form, but I think Harry the sheep was the favourite, he was bigger than most of the audience and I noticed there was very little goats cheese left after the tasting.
While we are still on pork - we have taken delivery of some very tasty Gloucester old spot cross bacon - when word is out it won’t be around for long, especially after the breakfast customers have enjoyed it! I love the proper long streaky bacon you can wrap around anything.
Joy! The pet lambs have gone! Feeding time is so quiet and orderly now. I think the gimmer, which is the little girl pet lamb, will be staying on at Swinithwaite as a grown up, but the boys will be stored for extra rations.
Talking of extra rations, it is amazing how a change in your routine can change your shape; my poor husband, who is doing only essential walking about has got a little rounder! Hopefully, when he is allowed to attack the hills again, everything will change.
I have had a little extra pressure to cope with this week with Tim my farming assistant legging it to the Shetlands and Mandy my manager hot-footing it to some beach in the Med! So, to unwind a bit I took a day off and went fishing. Thankfully this time there was no rain, but with the wind in a different direction we had to learn a right handed double spey cast. Sadly, nothing was tempted by our flies, although this could have also been the wedding chatter as one of the team has just got married and our instructor, Brian, has a daughter getting married next July, so lots to discuss! We very much enjoyed the day but I will definitely wear thicker socks next time.
Fortunately, Craig our chef is home after his travels around America; it is good to have him back in the kitchen again!
I had to cope with the first anniversary of my Mother dying this weekend. Everything was fine until the photos started turning up – below is one of my favourites. I think my Mother is asking me when did I last clean Harry's head collar, It must be in the genes as all my childhood memories are of me being outside with animals; we had a lot in common!
Hopefully I can use my interests to benefit other youngsters as we invite the public to share in farming life and help people to understand the relationship between us and the countryside.
I have been invited to an afternoon of magic today - just what is needed!