three little piggies

three little piggies
on arrival

Monday, September 27, 2010


After spending most of the day in the back of Jane's car, the last of the plums had fermented nicely by the time they made their way to the pigs supper trough. It was far to wet and dark to see if they had any effect on their constitution. But the aroma of alcohol left behind in the car was very strong, I hope she drove home with the windows down!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How many sausages

How heavy is a big before it goes to market? We have been given lots of rules of thumb and calculate weights regularly but what is the optimum weight,? Today we calculated the boy as being about 11 1/2 stone and although they are all putting on the beef they dont look like those massive pigs you send to market.

Home Design

While they were gobbling a nice tasty supper of peculiar shaped (and coloured) cucumbers we took the opportunity to bring a wheelbarrow of straw in the pen to line the ark. It has been very wet of late and a bit nippy at night so we thought they would appreciate some straw bedding. They obviously had differing ideas of where the straw should be, perhaps it clashed with the sculpured floor!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010


The two little welsommer chicks which survived the atrocities last week have been rerehoused. After the event the older worverks seemed happy to keep them under their wing. By evening it was apparent that they were not happy with them in their space so we put them in another ark close to one of the new runs we had built very close to the newest chicks. They settled down but have been very skittish ever since, trying to access their neighbours run every time I went near them. So yesterday afternoon I moved them into the run with the other chicks and tonight you couldn't tell them apart. They are much happier in a flock :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

wet, wet, wet

All this rain has made it impossible to dig potatoes today. Instead I decided to give the polytunnel a tidy up. Most of the tomatoes and cucumbers are coming to and end and the melons were ready for picking, so I have spent a delightful day, harvesting and weeding and adding manure to the beds, all in the company of Paul Weller. The plus side for the pigs was the mid-day snack of cucumber, over ripe melons and tomatoes and a couple of aubergines all washed down with a bucket of fine northumberland rain water!!!

A day off

We had a day off from tatty picking and had a trip to the metropolis. Leaving brigadoon behind our first sight was a wandering minstrel. Traversing up  the great north road was a young chap playing guitar as he made his way to his destination. Not something you often see in this day and age, not in Northumberland anyway!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This morning I had the unfortunate experience of finding only two live chicks out of a clutch of 14 which we recieved last week. Through the night they had a visit from a stoat and that is about as much detail as I am going into.
I know country isn't all pretty and I have come across the preditor's leftovers before but this time I aint putting up with it. Barry is out there now with his rocking chair, poncho, gun and cigar, 'do you feel lucky'!

The pigs, too far away so oblivious to the massacre, have a constant flow of presents. Mainly apples and plums, windfalls from peoples orchards. Today they recieved a football ! perhaps they will invent a new game of 3 aside trotter ball!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

chihuahuas meet pigs

Today was the day  the chihuahuas were taken to meet the pigs. Affectionately known as yappy and snappy, treacle likes people and barking and doesn't like animals whereas cocoa likes snapping at people, letting people know she is boss and doesn't like being told off. on entering the field the friendly pigs came to the fence to greet them, yappy immediately returned her form of greeting by yapping as loud and as long as she could. The pigs began squealing and grunting and snorting at the commotion. Cocoa took fright ran into the field next door and cowered beside the bull!!!
Perhaps it will be their only introduction!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fait complete

Yesterday found us with one coop and run completed and we felt confident, having hit all the usual flat pack snags, that the other two would be finished today. We hit more snags today, mainly a quick trip to focus to buy screws, nuts and bolts which were not included as specified!!!  Again 3 number 13's and not one number 6, we were shouting out numbers as if reading from a chinese menu rather than instructions from a flat pack. Not only did we fulfil our wish we also managed to cuprinol two of them. Not a bad days work.
I feel I must assure people that they are definately dungarees in the style of Felicity Kendall and not Dexy's Midnight Runners as some have suggested.I definately uttered 'whoops' and possibly 'whoops a daisy' on several occasions when the power drill slipped. When we discovered the sides were on upside down it was definately 'shucks' that tripped from my tongue. Me thinks DMR's may have said something stronger, whereas F K would have reacted with the same explanitives as I !

Saturday, September 11, 2010

All in a days work

As we systematically worked our way through the step by step instructions we encountered many errors. Screws and nuts and bolts which just weren't adequate for the job. Barry's garage/worshop was raided to supplement the meagre bag of included sundries. We came to the conclusion that perhaps this delivery had perhaps come from further afield than Devon!
After a long morning, a short late lunch, by early afternoon the last piece was put in place.
Voila 1 very well assembled coop.
All we need to do now is catch a chicken or two to complete it!

Felicity Kendall

Eat your heart out!
I was reminded today that she won rear of the year, possibly several times. She didn't actually set the garden, look after all these animals or build the coops. She had a whole production team to make it look easy. I will never get rear of the year or have the magic of television at hand but I still strive to fulfil the dream.
Today was the day we built the first coop. On opening a box, after taking delivery of 3 flat packs earlier this week from the devon poultry company, we realised from reading the instructions that they weren't something we could put together in an evening after work. So today, straight after the menial feeding chores were completed we set to.
First checking the contents were all there. We had 3 number 13's, according to the instructions we should just have 1. No  number 6 at all. We opened another box, that was worse. The componements hadn't been numbered at all. It only had 2 number 13's nothing that resembled a number6 from the drawing and number 4 was damaged. We chose not to send them back, time is not on our side to wait for the toing and froing of merchandise and cash. Afterall we have the imminent delivery of yet another clutch of chicks.


  • The first delivery of chicks are now close to point of lay. They have grown into fine looking birds.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This morning the pigs enjoyed a small bucket of plums along with their usual breakfast and tonight have had a hearty supper of apples. They are such happy pigs and enjoy the company of each other and people. They let us in the pen no problem but the minute we go to leave they heave their hefty bodies against the gate to prevent us from leaving....and oh are they heavy to move now. Sometimes its just as easy to jump over the fence. Although not recommended when wearing cheryl cole trousers!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I feel like the old woman that lives in the shoe, with so many chickens.....etc. So after the last delivery we realised we didn't have time to build any more coops and decided to purchase some from the internet. Today we took delivery of a number of boxes containing 3 flat pack coops. After a hectic evening feeding the menagerie (including 2 grown up sons) watering, collecting eggs and all the other little jobs that need attention. we decided to open one of the boxes and read the destructions in preperation of the imminent erection. Thats as far as we got when the sun set. Janes son being far more productive digging potatoes and moving the boxes under cover. Its not a job we can do in an evening we discussed, perhaps a weekend job when we can have a good run at it. The chicks will certainly not come to any harm until then.
As we were saying our goodnights and jane got into her car, the sight of flesh caught the corner of my eye. She had torn her trousers, not in the usual manner, but down the outside seam from hip right down to her knee. In the style of Cheryl Cole!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

birds of a feather

Another delivery of chicks today. 11 welsomers 1 black silky and a blue cochin.
We tried to count them tonight and this is how it goes:
6 vorwerks
2 white leghorns
2 blue leghorns
1 blue ancana
2 brown leghorns
3 blue cochins
2 rhode island reds
27 welsomers
and 1 black silky
There are a number of cockerals amongst them so the welsomers will be reduced. The others are either in hen/cock pairs or hens. This is not the end, more welsommers are coming later this week and next week we will take receipt of a number of guinea fowl. I doubt if any will be laying by the end of the season but we will have a good supply of eggs in the spring.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Putting the beef on

Even seeing the pigs everyday their gowth is clearly visible. Today after their weekly measure we decided to use the formula to calculate their weight! So with pen, paper and tape measure we carefully took down the details measuring first the heart girth, just behind the front legs, then the length from the base of the ears to the base of the tail. These measurements were then taken to the kitchen table and with calculator in hand and lots of advice from everyone around (maths not being my strong point) I followed the formula.
1. square the heart girth which was 36
2. multiply the girth by the length which was 44
3.divide by 400.
Now we have the weight in pounds. We made that just over 10 stone ! If anyone can be bothered to work it out and see if I'm right please comment with your answere's.

chicks on the run

The chicks are now big enough to be allowed a little freedom. Not totally free range but they certainly have enough space for a good stretch.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Ginger goats were a big hit for the janes. We can just see a couple of them chewing through the overgrowth, saving us the job of mowing and strimming. Tracy Lee also had an impact on us spookily uncanny!!!