Sunday, 10 May 2009

Piggy Summer Camp ...Bog Style!!!

As we take the turning from late Spring to early Summer, the time for the piggies to go to their Summer residence has now arrived. Here on the farm they have masses of room to graze and rootle about but nowhere to wallow in cool, sludgey, muddy shade away from the sun's glare. Only this morning I caught one of the girls attempting to have a dip in the water trough. She had managed to get both front trotters in and fought to squeeze the rest of herself in, but to no avail.

The plan has been for a while that the girls would head down to the bog land in Charlie and Harry's care for the summer months and as the weather has now become really quite warm, that time has now come.

The bog is an amazing place, a tranquil haven hidden away by the river. All you can hear is the tweeting of birds and the occasional startling screech of a pheasant. Charlie and Harry live here very simply alongside nature. You immediatley feel calm at the bog and it really is a place to stop and smell the flowers. It is mainly woodland opening out into a large grassy area leading down to the river where the crayfish nets bob about on the riverbed waiting for the next hungry signal crayfish.The grassy area consists of a fine vegetable patch and a newly erected area for the pigs to dwell in. It really is the perfect site for them and the boys have been working hard all weekend, even creating a maze through the snail infested nettles for interest. The area also includes a stream in which they can wallow and drink. Now that the area has been secured by the electric fencing all we need now are the pigs.

The two new Mangalitza's were also meant to turn up this morning but we haven't heard anything as yet. We are expecting a blond one and another black and white swallow bellied female. The plan is now to take the two new girls on and then borrow a boar for six weeks or so too come along and do his job, so the piggyness may continue!

Charlie had managed to borrow a horse trailer from one of the locals in the village in order to shift the girls safely from A to B. We had had daydreams about walking them from the farm down to the bog (a 10 minute walk or so) but we know that we have to pass a few houses with rather large dogs and knowing that the girls have a dislike of such creatures, we decided against the idea. We didn't want total chaos on the country lanes!

We did have some fun and games trying to get them from their pen into the trailer so we had to give them a break for half an hour, or so, to let them calm down. I tidied the kitchen whilst Charlie went to check on them for second time and before I knew it he'd announced that he'd got them all in the trailer and was heading out of the driveway down to the bog. I jumped in my car with all the other pig related bits and pieces, food, solar panel & battery for the electric fencng, and followed Charlie.

It was a breeze getting them out of the trailer into the new pen. They trotted about quite happily exploring the newness and loved the crunchy snaily treats that were hidden like miniture eggs on an Easter egg hunt.

Feeling pleased with our morning's work we headed back up to the bogshack and cracked open a lovely bottle of wine whilst Harry fired up the pizza oven. The bog shack boys have recently built this fabulous clay pizza oven from clay out of their stretch of river. I had seen Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall do something similar on River Cottage a few weeks back and was most impressed.
Delicious pizza after pizza came out of the oven having only been in there for around 35 to 40 seconds! Seriously, after eating a real handmade pizza like this, you would never touch a fast food version from a well known chain again! the difference is just staggering.

Charlie and I checked the crayfish traps for an interesting pizza topping. I hadn't realised how big the signal crayfish were. It was the size of a teenage lobster, and on the pizza it was just divine.

The afternoon was a beautifully drifty one and to top it off, my little girl crawled for the first time! What a perfect end to a perfect day!

No comments: