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Make do and mend

Our pigs are destructive, each group that spends time in an enclosure add their bit of destructiveness. They love to dig and dig and dig this is sometimes under their huts, they don't understand about foundations or when digging inside a hut can cause a pool of water to collect when it rains in the winter. Often digging causes mud to cover the electric fence, it fills their water and food containers and makes huge holes in the ground but they are so happy digging, a natural instinct that is stopped when a ring is placed in their nose (this along with tail docking and teeth cutting is not allowed in organic farming but is routine in intensive indoor production) and is something that we would never endorse.

A favourite past time of dismantling huts by knocking out planks of wood is enjoyed as much as pulling at the plastic covering that farmer J used to cover the backs of huts last year that was left over from building work. Strips were torn off with pig in chase games as one ran around plastic in mouth with the others following. Buckets offer endless fun, tossed in the air with bonus points won if the handle comes off. Pigs do cause maintenance work a lot of the time.

Before the winter sets in this year we plan to move the pigs furthest away to enclosures nearer for carrying food buckets and water in the mud and snow is no fun. These spaces have been rested for half the year (clearing any parasites from last inhabitants) but before pigs can be moved huts need to be mended with floors being built (hopefully to stop digging and to keep them dry).

The first pen had to be finished for five new piglets we brought in to replace ones lost
from Sandy's litter. They are Champion the boars off springs, farmer J picked them up this afternoon. Their enclosure was ready, hut with clean straw, new water container and food laid out in a clean half drain pipe, all very clean and tidy, probably not for very long. 


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Demounting a hanger

Farmer J has brought a second hand hanger. It's an extension to be added on to the farms hanger which  up to last year housed the cows in 2/3rds and hay in the other 1/3. As we now have more cattle and calves the hay space is being converted to house the cattle giving them full access to it.
Only thing is the extension has to be dismantled (and erected when planning permission is granted).

He managed to take down the road crash barriers on the side of it but need my gophering skills today to start taking off the roof. Cold, foggy and damp it was a bit chilly standing around however we did have a visitor, a old lady hunt dog. Once fed and watered (doesn't everyone carry dog food in their car or is it just me?) she found a draught free spot between the hay bales to have a sleep before being called back to her hunter once hunting had finished.

So a 1/3 of the roof is down with the rest to be completed on Monday ready for the metal structure to follow.

Laguepie chestnut fair

Yesturday was he annual chestnut fair at Laguepie, a small village in the Tarn et Garonne. The sun shone which made for an enjoyable time amberling round the market stalls, drinking coffee and eating hot chestnuts. Traditional dances and muscicians put on a display. In previous years there has been a mushroom display showing edible, toxic and fatal fungi in appropriate coloured boxes of green , red and black (leathel ones). I imagine no mushrooms could be found as it has been dry here for a while.

The many varieties of apples grown locally along with walnuts and chestnuts were laid out on tressel tables, so many different types of apples were displayed. As well as chestnuts for sale there was apple juice being made, which at this time of year many villages and organisations invite you to take your non treated apples along to have them pressed into juice for a small fee. We didn't stay for the set menu lunch, each course is chestnut based so you really have to love your chestnuts.