Tamworth pigs enjoying the sun and playing in the mud on the farm

It’s not over yet, but I know its going to be over soon, I can feel the change coming…

What do I talk of? Winter of course and its been a tough one for us, so wet I heard myself mumbling day after day that “Ive never seen anything like it” as I trudge miserably through the winter fields of mud – pigs make mud, driving round in fields in winter makes mud, and my life is filled with mud. But of course I have seen it before, most likely I came in and said it to Charlotte last year too. The gloom fills my soul through incredibly tough months when every day I question why we keep pigs outside, but actually I do know, its because its better! Not always better for me, but better for them.

And then just to mix things up we have had colder freezing weather than we have experienced for a few years now and the muddy ruts were frozen solid, all our pigs water was frozen for a month, it made me realise how much they drink! I have to take water to every group twice a day, make sure I keep one tap on the farm unfrozen and take the hosepipe inside to stop it turning into a 20 metre ice pop.

But that’s what’s been, it’s in the past now, at present we have been blessed with a dry spell, I have been gardening, its been dry enough for me to get the digger on the lawn. The sun has made an appearance and I am slightly giddy with the feeling that spring is coming. The light has changed and there is a different feeling in the air. I feel happy again. Miraculously the cold east winds have dried up the muddy pig fields and the pigs are out rootling around enjoying the sunshine. I haven’t contemplated levelling out the ruts yet as of course we are not through it all yet, but soon!

With spring in the air Charlotte and I are making plans for the year ahead, we turn our thoughts to turn out, just as the cows get let out in March or April and skip and jump with that springtime excitement, well its nearly the same for us. I say nearly, I doubt we will skip, but you never know, but we are definitely looking forward to that time. Its not far away now, at the latest the last weekend in March, then we will be open from Thursday to Sunday throughout the spring and summer.

We are so looking forward to being out in the fresh spring air, with our garden springing into life. We are going to change bits of our garden this spring and can’t wait to share it with you. I have been busy making a new base to move our second tipi right next to our café so that it will be much nicer for those slightly inclement days we sometimes have!

As I write, there’s a hard white frost outside, the sun is rising fast, and the lavenders are still slumbering in their winter clothes, soon we will see tiny little flecks of green appearing. The snowdrops are the only colour peeping through in the garden. The days are lengthening fast now, I am relying less on my head torch and more on my eyes, I stay out until dark, my head bursting with things to do and the time to do them! I love spring more than any other time, its the promise of what’s to come, of new beginnings, of starting over. Us humans always need hope and the spring is brimming with it, greening hedges, trees bursting into leaf, birds singing, the soil drying and warming – I cant wait!

James Hull, Sherborne Times, March 2023