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    NEW: September 2017 Farm Round Up

    So, the kids are all back at school and we eagerly anticipated the late Summer hot spell ... and we waited ... and we waited!  In vain!  It hasn't been a TERRIBLE month, just not good enough to redeem the performance in July and August - so, as we speak, I've got a heap of green tomatoes in the house, trying to get a few more ripe.  I've been given a number of 'highly recommended' ideas on how to ripen them, so will report back next month with the winner!!
     Bertie the Oxford Sandy & Black boar has been at work - fortunately, he LOVES his muddy wallow, spending many hours dozing the hours away.  The positive for us is that it means he is permanently muddy so, without going into graphic detail, we can see where he has been ... a sow smothered in mud means that BErtie has been 'calling'!
    It looks like Carlos the Large Black boar has been successful with at least one of our sows - we call her Fatty - and she is definintely blossoming.  In the next week or so, we will move her into one of the maternity paddocks so she can settle in and get used to her surroundings before she farrows.  By my calculations, she should be due mid October so keep your fingers crossed before - she's done it all before but doesn't stop me worrying!
    We've had a late Guinea Fowl hatch too - every year we buy in some eggs to keep the gene pool refreshed and we have 9 very lively, and noisy, keets who will join the rest of the flock when they are big enough.  They are in the coop in the barn at the moment - still with their heater to keep them warm at night until they are fully fledged, then some time in late October, we will start letting them out during the day to join the adult birds.
    September has also brought a rush of windfall apples - thank you neighbours - and they are going down a storm with the pigs.  They are also being treated to some huge marrows ... our courgette plants rather got out of control this year and with all the rain, the marrows are out of control.  What a shame we haven't got a local Marrow competition to enter!
    Also, as we head towards Autumn, we start our winter paddock planning.  We know which paddocks, and which parts of paddocks get very waterlogged in the winter and we do our best to keep the pigs off those areas during the worst of the winter so next month will see a few pigs move to different fields that have been resting over summer and some new fencing going up to protect the wettest areas.
    And last but not least, we are advertising for a part-time weekend helper - ideal for a fit and keen student - if you know anyone who'd like to get up close to some lovely rare breed pigs, please do send them my way!!

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