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It has been another stunning Indian summer day today with warm, yellow-gold sunshine and a misty haze at dusk and dawn. The leaves on the copse in the garden have begun to dry and fall, a constant background murmur like water running over stones. The country seems to be expectant, gulping in the last gasps of sweet summer air before battening down the hatches for winter. I’ve always been a sucker for autumn; there’s something about cold mornings, blue sky and the sound and smell of decadent decay that seems to distil the essence of the year, for good or ill, in its prime.

As a Yorkshire lass, and the child of a teacher, September is also as much associated with new beginnings as it is the settling of the year into its pomp. And so, at Plunton, September is also the start of a new adventure, in the form of two beautiful saddleback pigs. Bramble and Bracken arrived from Port Logan today to become our lean, mean weed-munching machines. Shy at first, they’ve already started nibbling away at some of the tangle of weeds in the field.

Their new home is a 0.4 acre patch, about 25m from the garden wall, and bordered with electric fencing. We’ve filled their sty with dried bracken, made a wallow in the bottom corner and weighted down an empty plastic tub for water.

The farm who supplied and delivered them, on their way to a show in Cumbria, declared that they will love it in our small square of mud and weeds. They certainly seem to be enjoying playing hide and seek in the bracken. They still seem more piglet than pig and make a lovely, low grunting noise which sounds disconcertingly like the Jaws theme.

Officially on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s watchlist, British Saddlebacks are good all-rounders, providing great pork and bacon and, crucially for us, are robust rootlers so should start to get on top of all that bracken. We only have the space to keep one in the freezer, so if anyone fancies some outdoor-reared pedigree pork for Christmas, let us know.

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