Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Invisible force

Listening to: Diamond Dogs (David Bowie)
Weather: A really beautiful evening, evening sunlight reflecting off the sea.
Pigwatch: nothing doing, patience is a virtue etc. . . the breeder now reckons he may have his dates wrong.
Drinking: Atlas Three Sisters Scottish Ale

It has been one of the wettest winters for years on Westray. This time last year the barley and the potatoes were planted, but 12 months later only a few fields have been ploughed.

Despite an upturn in the weather over the last couple of days, water has been lying around all over the place on the croft, a lot of it settling in Eric and Ernie's paddock/quagmire.

The arrival of my 17-year-old son last Friday means I have an extra pair of hands around the place, so we decided the lads needed a break from the mud - even if it is only for the last six weeks or so before they go to slaughter.

Shifting the fence involved a lot of floundering around in 2ft-deep, suspicious-smelling mud. Having rediscovered exactly how sticky mud can be and how hard it is to get your boots out of it after standing still in it for just a minute or two, we were presented with a rats' nest of wire to sort out. Several minutes of swearing and grumbling ensued, but we managed to salvage most of it and a new, improved, larger, grassier paddock was sorted out.

You think they'd have been eager as the proverbial beavers to get snuffling around in the grass, but the power of the fence is mighty, even when it's not there, it seems.

They stood in the mud, nervously sniffing the air where the fence had been. The Boy and I scattered a few bits of apple and broccoli about a yard ahead of their snouts to tempt them out, but they were having none of it. We thought about waiting to see how long it took for the porcine penny to drop, but life's short enough without spending time finding that all the 'pigs are as bright as dogs/dolphins/chimps/Paris Hilton' stuff is so much. . . err. . . hogwash.

The deal-breaker was, as usual, teatime and the trusty black bucket. I left their food in two or three piles and they were out of the mud and onto it before they realised what they had done. They didn't even have the good grace to look embarrassed.


Daphne said...

It's been pretty wet in Leeds too, but sadly lacking in that sunlight-glinting-on-the-sea stuff. The animal excitement has been that our Corn Snake had to have its tail amputated - it got septicaemia - but I think it's not as dramatic as your pig-mud-wrestling.

Ginni Dee said...

I'm laughing so hard here! If you wanted them to stay in, they wouldn't. Maybe it's just a matter of what THEY want. Pigs do love mud, after all. And maybe they are smarter than you think!!

Sigh...no piglets yet?

Dave said...

It IS going to be lovely and sunny and dry in May, though, isn't it?

mig bardsley said...

They were just wondering if it was fair to take so much extra space away from you. Such generous pigs :)

lampworkbeader said...

It's been beautifully sunny in the south, but the ground is still so wet and cold that nothing can be planted. Never been to Orkney, but I've heard the local music is great though.

lettuce said...

brighter than Paris Hilton, surely?

i like spike

Malc said...


Aren't snakes mostly tail? Sounds pretty dramatic to me.


Still no piglets.


It's been a beautiful few days here. We're due a good run.


I've been hoping they would plough the ground up so I can put spuds in there next year.


There's a folk festival every year and a blues weekend in Stromness. St Magnus Festival is classical, while there have been attempts lately to tack on a rock/pop 'fringe'. Embrace, The Proclaimers and The Saw Doctors played here in 2006.


The lad does have a rogueish charm - and he's brighter than Paris Hilton.

ziggi said...

you used the "S" word!

Malc said...

Yes, we're going to have to get used to that one, I'm afraid/

The Birdwatcher said...

They look like they are plotting their great escape to me. No chance of a sudden conversion to vegetarianism? Or our we going to have to start a campaign to save the Westray Two?