She's done it! Duchess has had her piglets and it was well worth waiting for; spotty legs, ears and tails everywhere - prizes for guessing how many?
She is such a pro now, it all happened 2 days ago, and she has been very relaxed. It is also first-time father for Sherlock, so celebrations all round.
We are hoping for more girls this time, as this means more bacon and ham in the long run, however unfortunately early inspections don't look promising. Do come and see if you can view them if you are passing, but please ask a member of Berry's staff first.
Early birds are certainly not getting warm now - with the hour change the hens still march off to bed whether fed or not, even after a chat there was no way they were coming out! That being said, the early-to-bedders missed out, as two teenage golden and lavender partridge brahmas were delighted to stay out late and have food without the constant badgering of the parents! It amazes me how rigid the sun clock is in their daily habits.
We were early this year at Berry’s with our Halloween and Bonfire celebrations, on the 28th October and all h*** was let loose in the top barn! Giant spiders climbing the walls, bats and ghosts were let out of the coffin, this was all before the children were released in their fancy dress outfits to tackle the trick or treating, apple bobbin, scary colouring and painting! This was then followed by roasted marshmallows, toffee apples, and sparklers. A lot of energy had been spent by the time it was dark enough to light the bonfire and the howling gale did not help with standing around to admire the flames. But with the animals looking on curiously it seemed a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon, so well done to the team and a must for next year's half term.
Apples have certainly been in abundance this autumn, someone must have read last month's blog because we were knee deep in apples and the porkers have been declared the tastiest yet last week. It will be free sausages all round for the apple growers or bacon a bit later.
The South Devon cattle have come off the hill for the winter and are enjoying some hay and shelter. The bull has summered well and is very good natured with his offspring who look at him in amazement, either due to his size or wondering why he doesn't have an udder like everyone else they have met!
Two heifers have been left outside and they seem to have bonded with Rolo in the next-door field, it could be a case of gingers sticking together.
We have also brought the highland heifers down from the hill with the steer (bullock). The bullock is hopefully providing our first highland beef for the cafe and some steak for the steak night this week. We have Aberdeen angus steak too, so with the music provided by Vinni (Michael Bublé in his spare time), we should be in for a good night.
I have been walking through the fields with all this year’s lambs, watching them turn into next summer's adults. I always get a surprise when I see three lambs are left happily grazing in amongst the dogs and pigs, the penny takes a while to drop of course but it is the pet lambs who haven't fully integrated with the flock. I feel responsible for this and must remember to reunite them with their number earlier next year, it is good to know they are still about though!
I couldn't resist taking a photo of this little person who isn't big enough to join the adults yet, but is longing to be a part of the team. When his legs are longer he will be part of the picking up team on the local shoot.
I treated myself to another day on the river - this time with Marina Gibson, who is a terrific enthusiast and wonderful teacher of fly tying and casting. Nothing was caught but one novice had a whopper on her line, only to lose it a few minutes later. It is lovely to share the space with the fish leaping around us, the dipper bird soaring from rock to rock and the ducks paddling around, I always come away from the river feeling so calm; luckily catching a fish is just a by-product of the whole day.
Another excitement last month was watching the oldest girl band still singing, ‘The 3 Degrees’, after a warm up in O2 stadium they hotfooted it north to Tennants, where we enjoyed all the old favourites with a fairly mature audience!
A Mystery shopper sneaked into Berry's with Amanda and Becky on duty. After taking details while eating lunch, the only negative they could come up with was why couldn't they book into supper too?! Unfortunately, they will have to wait for summer timings to do that. Well done to the team and especially Amanda and Becky. Sadly, Amanda has since left us for another job in Leyburn, we will miss her Spick Span appearance and warm and caring nature, our Christmas parties without her dangly flashing Christmas Tree ear rings won’t seem the same
Talking of Christmas, we are preparing for our Stocking Filler Christmas Fayre this Sunday, and the dates are also out for you to enjoy a Christmas meal in the cafe – it is even trying to snow! Glad I am not a brand-new piglet!