Archives for posts with tag: Autumn

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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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The two week autumn break has begun. The kids are off to stay with their grandparents for a few days and I need to plan lots of activities for the following week while Matt is away. In the meantime, more mundane tasks need dealing with. The process of installing our new wood-fired heating began on Thursday and should be completed tomorrow. The stoves are in and the inglenooks have been insulated we just need the pump to be wired up so the heating system works. Apparently, despite the kitchen chimney being covered with a wire grille there is still the remains of an old birds nest in there!

In preparation for the completed works we cleared out our wood shed and took delivery of a double load of logs which are now beautifully stacked waiting to be used.

There has also been time for fun this weekend with a visit from Valla, Deborah and Edna on Saturday and lunch with the neighbours on Sunday. The Sunday lunch included roast pork from pigs reared on our field, a little too successfully as it turns out – they broke the scales at the abattoir! It was great to chat with the neighbours and find out more about the area. We are also hatching plans to bulk buy logs and have offered to loan out our apple pressing equipment to deal with the bumper harvest.