My shorts are on – it’s 5.30am. I have come outside to write my August copy, after all, surely in July it should be nice enough for that. I pace around the garden to try and find a nice spot to sit, but it’s a chilly morning so I have settled in the tipi, looking out through the garden path, blanketed in purple catnip, to a froth of overflowing flowers beyond.
The radio is on next to me, quietly enough to soothe me into another day without distracting me from writing. The news is on and Boris is clinging to power. By the time you read this, he is likely to have disappeared into exile and we will be in a frenzied jostle to find a new ‘leader’.
Behind me in the paddock next to the cafe I can hear the gentle banging of the feeder as a large group of growing piglets take an early morning feed. The grass is long, way higher than the piglets, and it’s brown and seeding. Often it is hard to see the pigs as they meander through the Savannah-type landscape. There is no way I can count them at the moment. After I write this I will feed the rest of them. Having finally reached our herd total of 500 pigs, that’s quite enough!
Quite incredibly, apart from a few boars that we have to buy in so that we don’t inbreed, all our pigs have been bred from our original pair. Animal selection is important as with any breeding, although our approach is far less scientific than the large commercial pig farms. Of course, our main criteria is shape and speed of growth, but also big considerations for us are temperament and ease of loading! As I carry out nearly all the pig work on my own, pigs that work with me are a big help.
We have sows farrowing every day at the moment, one a day, in a paddock just over the brow of the hill. The sows make their nests and gently pop their piglets out, one by one. I have been checking them through the night quite often as we have a pesky fox trying to steal