Sandy gave birth yesterday evening.Twelve piglets, three were still born and one didn't make it through the night. At the moment there are eight, time will tell if we have any Casualties. Pigs are very clumsy and do tend to roll on piglets, the only way to stop this is using a farrowing crate which is totally against our principles of animal welfare.
8082 entered the world yesterday evening as well. The first of this years calves to a very protected mother. It will have ear tags in either today or tomorrow and if a male castrated very soon as they become very mobile in a short period of time, meaning a run around the field for farmer J. Our cows know where they have left their calves so it is a sneaky job of catching calf when mum is not around and being as quick as possible before they give a cry out and mum and herd come running to see what's going on.
"I am not a fussy pig and will eat anything, or try it at least that passes my way should any farm visitor or future gite guest read this - I will be waiting eagerly by the gate should they wish to off load (In no preferred order) apples,oranges,plums,peaches bananas - please peel, carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, cabbage - only if it is cooked, cucumber and, small amounts of bread/ cakes - apparently I am suppose to be dieting.
I have tried beans, onions, dock leaves, uncooked cabbage, mushrooms, peppers and aubergines all which I really wouldn't like to try again. You can pass them on to the pigs on the hill".
Thank you in advance and looking forward to meeting you soon.
P's I have never been given meat products or eaten a chicken, although I do own up to treading on one.
Before we had pigs I was led to believe they would eat everything and anything, so why don't ours? There commercial pigs are now eating since the weekend this years cereal, they don't think much of it . It must have a different taste.
So in order to get them eating, like children they are being coaxed into liking it by adding a few extras to the mix. A little bit of salt added to water, not too much as this would be bad for them seems to get their taste buds going as well as a few scraps from the garden, veg peelings and tomatoes. Tonight they also got a armful of weeds each.
They do enjoy most things especially stale bread which is saved by neighbours, this is only a summer treat as he said neighbours are holiday home owners. Sometimes there is even the odd croissant or pain au chocolate.
What they do not like is onions, citrus fruit, green beans, asparagus and some weeds, especially docks - no ones likes docks. As these pigs are for meat only vegetable matter is fed to the…
We have a young couple staying in one of our gites for a fortnight, they stayed here last year with friends. This time they have come on their honeymoon, we are very flattered that they wanted to stay at La Singlaire 1 and hope they have a wonderful time. If we had known we would of done a honeymoon thing with bubbly and chocs.
Even more flattering they took a meal last night, this is what they had.
Starters of homemade pork pate with caramelised tomato chutney, our own air dried ham and saucisson that we made early in the year.
Main of pork cooked three ways, confit cheek, tenderloin and sausage meat stuffed apple served with potato dauphinoise, vegetable spaghetti and a Madeira sauce.
Cheese course, regional Roquefort and a ewes milk cheese.
Dessert wicked chocolate cake by Orlando Murrin found here With chocolate mint ice cream made by infusing milk and cream with chocolate mint leaves before making the custard base served on white chocolate sauce with a glass of fizz we manage…
Farmer J's younger brother and two boys came to stay for a stop over before heading to the Pyrenees. Tuesday afternoon a picnic was packed for a trip to the river at Garde Viaur. This is where we send our gite guests, it's a lovely spot with shallow banks for paddling and deeper parts for swimming. The water is very clean with shady spots on the green bank for relaxing.
The cows finished eating down our top field and small hay field where an electric fence was rigged up for them to pass between the two, making feeding the pigs a bit of a assault course climbing under the electric fence. Now moved over the road and happy to be on new pasture.
Franklin has been sleeping a lot lately as well as drinking loads of water and weeing, a trip to the vets he was diagnosed with diabetes. He spent Wednesday in a cage having his blood levels checked regularly and is now having daily injections until Monday week when his booked in again or a re check to see if the insulin levels correct. …
Sunday we spent an afternoon at Espinas, a small village in the Tarn et Garonne where their annual hay making festival was being held. The village goes back in time depicting how villagers used to live, an old school, bar and houses with volunteers dressing up in costumes were open to see.
Old tractors were driven around with displays of old crafts, longsaw sawing, crop cutting by hand and with livestock. A lot of the volunteers were in older years, it just goes to show keeping active you may live a longer life.
Sadly I found the little sparrow I was trying to nurse back health dead this morning. It may of been down to my oat bran meal I made for him or my lack of nursing skills. Probably should take off being a carer from my 'when I grow up I want to be job list '.
Perhaps I should of tried my hand at acting and gone to the extras casting in St Antonin this week along with all the other expats who are eagerly waiting to be in a scene in the film being shot by Steven Spielberg in September, set in this area.
Gorgon has his hearing back, the grunt and whine of a starved pig can be heard when he hears you approach the barn doors. Watch out gite guests his on fine form waiting for tasty treats. Wonder if he could get a staring role, the films based on a book where an Indian restaurant opens up opposite a michelin stared one. Food based sounds good..
Potters from all over France had stalls, some tasteful some not so. It must of been a blue day as the items I brought had a blue theme.
Later I joined farmer J in a trip to collect cereal for the pigs from farmer friends where I found myself drinking a glass or two of Italian sparkling wine (very unlike me ) with a Jack Russell on my lap as a newly hatched chick cheeped in the lounge, It wasn't doing to well so was getting a bit of TLC. I tried to off load sparrow chick I found in the road while taking the dogs out last night. It didn't work. I've fed the sparrow, which has survived a day here so hopefully will be OK being fed on sugar water, oat bran (organic of course) mixed with water and a touch of arnica mixed in.
The sky on the way back was amazing, tried to take a photo while going along but think you needed to be there to see it!
After the storm which hit us nearly a fortnight ago the veggie patch has recovered a bit. Many of the tomatoes were damaged (you can see in the photo) so I am resigned to not having many this year. I brought a couple of kilos from an old lady selling them at the market on Sunday, she had containers full of them. I will buy more to freeze once cooked with garlic, basil,seasoning and plenty of rape seed oil.
Swiss chard has new leaves growing as has the lettuce and beans. The first picking of beetroot will be made into a beetroot tart tatin. Courgettes haven't done brilliantly this year, however the ones that are coming are growing very quickly, a blink of the eye and they are nearly marrow size.
In between the weeds beetroot and parsnips are growing (or trying) a little job for next week... and still digging up the potatoes, thinning the carrots and finding the onions.