Decorating with Violets

apr23-1A cold, rainy day for being cosy and baking rather than having adventures outside.  I could just about manage opening the door and picking a few violets. One of the prettiest things in the garden at the moment as everything else needs some sun, violets definitely lift the spirits on a grey day. As does baking fairy cakes in Ruby’s view.

Ruby had been a really good girl and I said she could choose anything she wanted to bake from her own cookbooks. But despite bracing myself for a more garish concoction, it turns out that fairy cakes are still top of her list. We decided to decorate them with violets and Ruby wanted to mix some icing that was a paler shade of their colour. In fact the colour of the t-shirt she had on. Continue reading

First week of Pigs

For the first day or so it was so rainy. The pigs explored every bit of the perimeter of their new area on their first morning, before settling for the cosiness of their sty. It didn’t make for a relaxing workday for me. I kept glancing up from the computer, hoping to see them rooting around.  With no sight of the three little pigs, and the memory of all the stories friends had told me about the Houdini capabilities of pigs, I kept having visions of myself racing over the rain-sodden fields with a four year old in tow. Enough to have me leaping to my feet every 15 minutes or so and running out in the rain to look in the sty. Yes, three snouts to reassure me. But it didn’t stop me from panicking again very soon.

First week of pigs

By Wednesday the weather was better and the pigs looked well settled, were doing lots of rooting around and were letting me scratch them when I went in to feed them. I was slightly more settled at my computer. It’s feeling slightly like having a new baby, gradually getting used to them being out of sight for short periods. And everyone ringing up or popping in to see how they’re doing. Wondering how their feeding is going. They’re about 10 weeks old, only just weaned and actually seem to be at a toddler stage with daytime sleeps and a bit of a crazy active time after a snack in the afternoon. They do put themselves to bed though. The baby/toddler comparisons obviously stop when I find myself looking at their legs, comparing them to the hams I remember hanging up in Spanish tapas bars and thinking how much growing they’ve got to do. Continue reading

We have pigs!

Very rainy day for the pigs to arrive in their new home. Hopefully they’ll appreciate the cosiness of their sty – a converted woodshed that Ruby and I spread with straw from our farmer friend. The bright yellow pig feed bucket was ready and waiting, full to the brim with the brassicas that have gone to seed and dandelions that Ruby has helped dig up. Should go down well with their organic pig nuts.  We’ve emptied the last few wheelbarrows of weeds in snack piles in the piggy area ready for them. And we negotiated with Ruby for her old, neglected plastic sandpit to use for their water. Her starting point was “yes, maybe for a hundred pounds” but she settled for a new spade.

We have pigs

The three pigs are Berkshires, all girls from the same litter, and they’re from Carole and David Webb, who have a wonderful nearby smallholding with well-looked after, organically fed rare-breed animals. We’re hoping they’ll act as rotivators on our back garden, be a great focal point for visiting children during the summer, and eventually supply is with a freezer full of great meat. Pork joints, bacon and sausage that we know is from pigs who’ve had plenty of space, the chance to grow slowly and naturally and been fed on organic pig nuts and waste fruit and vegetables from the garden. Well, with a back garden full of thistles and pesky perennial weeds and a family with a liking for chorizo, sausage and bacon, it seemed like a good idea. Continue reading