OK. Am not that impressed with Mother Nature.. she's not quite the lovely, all's fair, virtuous woman I thought she was.. the Indian Summer that I was sure she would deliver after such an atrocious summer has not arrived and time is running out. It's the 25th September and I am sitting here in a massive fleece with the log burner going at full tilt. We have had major flooding in nearby places over the last 48hrs and the wind is howling. The sun makes fleeting appearances between dark, heavy, grey clouds and quite frankly, I'm bloody cold. I realise I am just reinforcing my nations reputation for, one; talking incessently about the weather and two; moaning (mainly about the weather) but I do feel a little justified in this instance.
However, before I rant on into the ether, I will tell you of some of the lovely things happening at the farm. Firstly, Nelly has had piglets! This will come as no surprise to those of you who follow me or the farm on Facebook or Twitter as I have been relentless in my documentation of the piglets first few days of life. It was a nerve wracking few days leading up to her giving birth. In my naivety, I assumed that since she hadn't had them when I thought she would (on the 8th September) then they would be 3 weeks later since that is the time lapse between when pigs come on heat. With this in mind, I happily arranged things to happen on the farm for the following weekend, safe in the knowledge that the piglets were not arriving until the 29th September. WRONG!! In my infinite wisdom, I held an Open Day for our new vegetable venture (more about that later) on Saturday 15th and invited all and sundry up to our vegetable plot (right by Nelly's pen) to come and see what we were up to and whether they wanted to join for next year. It was the day before the Open Day, when Nelly started lactating that I realised my error and that, in fact, the piglets were imminnent! Not great when you have a really heavily pregnant pig and a VERY skittzy pig owner who doesn't know what she's doing. As a result, I was so worried about Nelly dropping at any minute, that I didn't give the Open Day my full attention. As it turned out, Nelly crossed her legs for the whole of the Open Day and decided to have them the day after, which was remarkably selfless of her and for which I am extremely grateful.
She started nesting on Sunday morning, which involved her moving around all the straw in her pen to just the way she liked it and bringing in other bits and pieces that she thought might make her more comfortable. It's an amazing thing to watch as she brought in twigs and big lumps of grass and arranged it in a nice shape. She did this for a couple of hours before finally lying down. Being as close to Nelly as I am and using her pregnancy as a substitue for those I haven't had, I was determined to be there every step of the way. I had compiled a plastic container of all the things I though I would need including sterilising fluid, iodine spray, antiseptic spray, clean towel, plastic gloves, bars of chocolate, pick and mix sweets and a Maeve Binchy paperback. I nestled myself into her pen on a couple of bales of straw and opened the first bar of chocolate.
The first two piglets that were born were still born. I don't know why but by the looks of them they had stopped forming some time ago and were not fully developed. It's a horrible thing to see but after reading up, it's not uncommon. Luckily, the other nine (yes, NINE), were all healthy and born without complications. They are very gorgeous and growing immensly by the day.
Another exciting thing to have happened is that I no longer have a proper job! Unfortunatley, the company I was working for in London needed to shed a worker or two. It's probably more scary than exciting really, but when these things happen you need to look at the positives in the situation. My London job was great as I worked from home, only having to go to London once a month, and got paid a good, London rate. However, it took time away from the farm and allowed me the comfort of not having to worry too much about what the farm brought in financially and therefore didn't put me in a position to push the farm and find out what it really can achieve. I now have that opportunity and I intend to put it to good use. I am sure that what we have here is good. The farm is a beautiful place, I think we have good ethics and believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing and most importantly, what we produce. Our pork is second to none, the holiday let is lovely, and we are about to extend our vegetable plot to produce really good veg boxes to the local community.
Which brings me nicely onto the other exciting thing! EdgeVeg! This is what the Open Day was all about. As mentioned, we are looking to provide weekly veg boxes to the local community but with the added benefit that they can get involved in the growing of the veg if they want. People can become members of the plot and can come and dig, weed, sow or just sit amongst the vegetables and chill! We will have social events for members including BBQ's in summer, bonfires and such like so it becomes a real community, eating great food. Hopefully it will prove popular, but only time will tell. http://www.edgeveg.org