You shouldn’t tell lies. I was bringing Tiger and Traffic in from their pen one afternoon and I asked a family nearby if they would like to help. The young boy was so excited about seeing and touching a pig up close. I explained that Traffic was very chatty because tea was early that day and we had to wake her up, and she was very vocal. The young boy looked alarmed that I had hurried them along and made them cross, and asked me why the hurry - then came the lie. I couldn’t admit to this little concerned face with shining eyes that I needed to know if the West Indies were facing a “follow on” in the cricket test match - so I said I had another pig pen to muck out and it would take ages - partly true - there is always mucking out to do. Shining Eyes still thought I was a little cruel.
The farm tours have been a terrific source of energy and delight. Getting children into situations outside their comfort zone, just like adults, everyone reacts differently, but hopefully in the end the young always come away feeling more confident and having learned one or two new facts. We didn't find the edge of my granddaughter Summer’s comfort zone, however hard we tried: the speed was never fast enough and everyone was a constant source of wonder. Even Bruce the dog who bounced right over her was a cause for laughter.
Family out riding with some gatecrashers
Riding anything with four legs
And being able to master the dog whistle meant total control!
Summer in control with the dog whistle
We had fun with the Geneva family - it was a quick visit, but we all missed having the extra small helper on the farm when they left. I certainly had some unusual settings on my microwave.
The bull, Lionheart, has moved from the Highland cows to the South Devon cows. It was a touching farewell from the Highlands, if you can imagine an embrace with three-foot long horns.
Highland embrace and a fond farewell
The vet came to create some turbo charge with the South Devon ladies. We are keen to have all the calves born in the same few weeks next Spring, let's hope Lionheart can cope with the pace. The young heifers were intrigued by all the going-ons, they will be joining the party in a month after some more growing.
Two new arrivals are set to restore the Curley pig back to Swinithwaite in the form of a pair of very young Mangolitza gilts. Looking a little confused, they will hopefully settle and become tame and finally breed some great pork.
Mini Mangolitza piglets, M n M.
I have finally learnt what to do with blackcurrants having picked bowl-fulls. After stewing them briefly, I then had to find a friend with a Kenwood mixer to sieve them, and we had a lovely strong Ribena mix with cereal and porridge. I promised my husband a Summer pudding next year, I feel I am one step closer.
Zoom Pilates has been a saviour this last few months and has certainly kept me sane and flexible.
It's lucky I don't tell lies.