Listening to: I Can't Quit You Baby (Led Zeppelin)
Yes: I remembered the card
Weather: unbelievable - can't last
The days of toddling along with a couple of pigs and a handful of hens seem to be drawing to a close. Hard work is on its way.
I spoke to the pig breeder near Thurso and the two Saddleback sows he had earmarked for me are ready to make the trip over to Orkney. Both have been given 'a good serving' (first time I've heard it called that) by the boar and the little indicator thing on the tester from Boots has gone pink so we are in business.
Their names are Molly and Kim and knowing that has made it all seem so much more real. Kim is about three-an-a-half years old. That's an age where many farmers would be moving her on to 'other things'*, but John-Paul** and his family have grown fond of her and are letting her go reluctantly. She has had only one litter a year (many sows have two) so there should be a fair bit of mileage left in her.
Best of all, he's letting me have her for nothing on a 'buy one get one free' basis.
The pig I'm paying for is Molly. She's just over a year old and this will be her second litter. She's due to farrow (give birth) on April 16, while Kim is calling for the gas and air and screaming 'I'm never letting him near me again, the bastard' a week earlier.
The plan is that they will come over here second week in March, which doesn't give me long to throw up the walls for the farrowing pens.
They won't be the only arrivals. Sally's first week at work in Kirkwall has gone very well, so well that she's bringing home a cockerel next Friday! Don't ask.
My (very limited) experience of cockerels leads me to believe they are mostly serial rapists/psychopaths. Any trouble from this one and I may introduce him to my little buddy Spike.
After a night out in Kirkwall to celebrate the florists' and card-makers' benefit day (ladies' choice, so beer and curry it was), I was back out with the barbed wire this morning, cutting my hands to ribbons in an effort to get Eric and Ernie's paddock ready.
I think it's OK. A couple of bits of the fence need a bit more tension, but I'll sort it in the morning.
As the lads have got only a couple of months left, I'm trying very hard not to think of it as the departure lounge.
* cheap sausages
** I have so far resisted the temptation to ask if he has a brother George-Ringo.