Pigs, photography and processing laundry

Monday was my birthday and we pretty much took Tuesday off, it felt much needed, particularly as Ady and I have now gone down with the cold that Davies picked up last week. Wednesday was back to work though and we had a trailer full of firewood down at the croft gate that we’d been adding to but needed to get up the hill, chopped and stacked. I like chopping wood and Ady is much happier carrying it up the hill – another example of our perfect Jack Sprat and his wife compatibility! So that’s what we did. I think it was about 15 sacks in total, all now split, stacked and drying out nicely in the woodstore.

Thursday was Pig Move Day. Barbara has been escaping several times every day since new years eve. She was in season and we speculated she was getting fed up with Tom’s attention but it had clearly become more of a habit than anything with a motivating reason and we were getting really fed up with hearing her snort around the outside of the static in the middle of the night, chasing us along the nature path as we walked down to the village and generally treading her trotters and putting her snout into things not meant for her! It’s only a few weeks since we last moved the pigs but it’s been exceptionally rainy even for Rum and they were looking muddy so we decided to give them double the area we had originally planned which takes them right to the far south west corner of the croft and means that they have now worked their way across the entire bottom strip of Croft 3 since we first got Tom and Barbara. Suddenly the croft starts to feel just a little bit tamed and smaller knowing the pigs have worked between a quarter to a third of it and we have pretty much made use of the ground behind them as they’ve gone, or at least have a proper plan to do so in the coming year.

It also meant we could make use of two sides of the croft boundary fence rather than electric fence. They have a lovely diverse mix of ground to work on, some heather, some reeds and rushes, a spot of trees, some brambles, a few ditches to clear and some stones to turn up. They look really happy in there and Barbara has not escaped once! Fingers crossed we’ve broken that habit.

Ady strimmed the area to put the fence in while I started staking it out and then putting up the electric fence. Ady then moved the one house which was outside of the new pen (they have two houses, the strip of croft that had the second house on remains within the new area as we always open out half new area and keep half of the area they have already been on. It’s way easier to move them that way, just capturing them in a smaller section of their existing enclosure and then opening it out the other side, it seems less unnerving for them too when their house stays in the same place. We were doing really well and broke for lunch leaving them in the small section. After lunch we carried on well ahead of schedule and then a friend appeared to visit. After being dry all day suddenly a cloud burst so we dashed up to the static for a cup of tea and another two friends arrived so we had quite a tea party! It was lovely to see them all but did mean we lost about an hour which was rather more than we’d been ahead. And then we lost the light. We were very close to finished with just some final touches to complete so gave up trying in the dark.

Today we have finished that off and result! Barbara has stayed in all day. The current set up also means we don’t need to cross any muddy bits to feed the pigs and we have been able to move the bird feed to a different place. The turkeys had decided that actually pig feed is much nicer than bird food and were eating more of the pig nuts than the pigs were (they are much faster gobblers!). This has scuppered that too!

We also hooked up the rather complicated but just about working washing machine. It entails taking our water to the static off and hooking up the washing machine (we know what bits we need to prevent needing to do this, just haven’t ordered them yet), using one generator to start the washing machine (the other for some bizarre reason does not seem to have the power to activate the door lock and open the water valve), then swapping over to the other genny which is more powerful but less sophisticated and copes fine with the increased demand of the spin cycle and heating the water. We managed three loads and it being a perfect drying day the first two are all dried and put away having aired infront of the log burner to finish them off this evening. The final wash didn’t finish til after dark so I hung it out with my headtorch on and hopefully it will dry tomorrow between showers.

In the middle of all this Bonnie caught a rat which provided amusing distraction. Yay Bonnie!

I’ve been getting to grips with my lovely new camera and really enjoying learning what all the different settings do.The results are still very experimental and hit and miss but with such spectacular subject matter I may not be taking brilliant photos but it’s almost impossible to take a bad one! Some results below.

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