Tuesday 15 February 2011

Birds and beasts

We are now up to five chickens: Rocky the Rooster and his consort Mabel have been joined by Dotty, Pearl and Ginger Rogers, in more or less that order of seniority. We think Pearl is at least partly a Poland, in that she has an amusing top-knot and the habit of running in the wrong direction. Ginger may be a Buff Orpington or something of the kind, and has the biggest pair of bloomers we have ever seen. Dotty is... well, dotty. Despite the surge in numbers, however, we are still depending on Mabel for egg production. Hopefully this will change as the days start to lengthen, otherwise the stewpot beckons.

This morning we took delivery of our first ever pigs. They arrived without much ceremony, being hauled in off the trailer despite their protests, but at ten weeks old they are still relatively portable. There are two: Spot and Ruby. We were very kindly introduced to the breeder by our neighbour, Pepe, a man who knows his way around a pig. As we are intending to keep them mostly outside, we opted for two of the darker and hairier ones. Spot is a (castrated) male, and Ruby his already slightly plumper sister. We are told that the ladies tend to put on fat as compared to the gentlemen, and looking at Ruby's bottom it is easy to believe it. They have luxurious quarters in the larger of our two stables, so technically they live in the house with us. This means they sleep warm and undisturbed by the local wolves.

We are intending to slaughter them (or, rather, get Pepe to slaughter them) in August, when one will play the starring role in a pig-roast and the other will be butchered for the freezer. Pepe has advised us to remove the hams before roasting as they will never cook through (again, reference to Ruby's bottom suggests he may be right).

There will be pictures as soon as we find our camera - such are the joys of moving house.

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