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Laurence and some little ginger pigs...

Emma Heseltine - 03 March 2013

This week there are several calves due but I’m sure, as per usual, they will not be when we expect them. Ellis and Croft are both due and look about ready, just waiting to see who is first. On Tuesday afternoon Croft wins the race and produces a strapping bull calf, Laurence. She is not keen to be moved up toward the house but we want her in the top paddock to keep an eye on them both. Eventually with some coaxing from Susan and some beeping from me (I’ve retired to the quad bike as she has taken a particular dislike to me today) we get them up to the paddock. A bit of peace, some extra feed and a watchful eye is in order. Come along now Ellis, join the party!

This week I’m getting back in the pig business. I’ve been pining not having my own stock, turns out its pretty addictive.  Askerton Castle have some little ‘uns just right for me. They are not like the last lot I had (Berkshire crosses) they are Tamworth’s. There are so few organic pig breeders in Cumbria that I’ve got to get them wherever I can and a Tamworth seem as good as any, ginger pigs! I have a nice run up to collect them on Saturday and they win me over straight away, bright eyes, curly tail ginger as a biscuit and full of mischief I’m sure. After several false starts, the trailer gets a puncture then the quad bike conks out and I have to get the quad bike guy out to fix it, we are heading to the veg patch and the new piggy home. I’ve made a new pig house, the ring feeder/tarp combination is good but is in several pieces which makes it hard to move, has no floor which means it can be cold and Susan needs the ring feeder back. I’ve been debating what to use and how to build a hut for ages but had a flash of inspiration the other week at the junk yard (where people usually have their best ideas) water tank! I manage to procure a tank of the white, large, plastic and in a metal cage variety and cut a hole in the front for a door. Hey-presto a pig home that is light and in one piece (easy for me to haul about), has a floor (no more trampled muddy bedding) cheap and fairly durable, they might chew the plastic but it wont splinter like a wooden hut would. I have a vision on a series of modular piggy homes along the side of the veg patch…

My new girls like the area I pop them into, one does go straight through the electric fence but I soon coax her back with some bucket jaggling. They cotton on to electric fence = bad, Emma + Bucket = good pretty quickly. I hope they will be happy in their new home.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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