Monday, 18 October 2010

This little piggy...

The nursery rhyme says that at least one little piggy went to market; unfortunately for our own little piggies today we bypassed the market and they went to the abattoir. The day had to come i'm afraid and although I make light of it it's never an easy thing to load your pigs up and drive them to the slaughter house, especially as these had been the friendliest yet.

All went well, loading wise; we were up early (having shut them in their ark last night) and made a race of hurdles from the ark entrance to the edge of their pen. The trailer was backed up and the tailgate dropped and with hardly any coaxing they went in as good as gold.

On arrival at the abattoir there was a previous load of pigs being unloaded and our pigs could hear them. For the first time since we've been raising weaners i'm sure that these two boys could sense what was about to happen to them and, unsurprisingly, they didn't want to get out of the trailer. In the end they did and, paperwork completed, I set off home with that familiar hollow feeling in my stomach. I'm back on Friday to collect the meat.

This is the third time that we've raised and slaughtered pigs and it doesn't get any easier come the day. An alternative would be a home kill (as only we eat the meat), however having done it it's a long and messy job that takes a few guys a few hours, and anyway we don't have a yard and outbuildings to do it in. In addition i'm not sure that it's any less stressful than the abattoir and on one occasion helping a neighbour with a kill I know that it wasn't.

So here we are. No feeding pigs twice a day. No scooping soil off the electric fence in the rain and plenty of home-raised pork, sausages, bacon and gammon on the way. Thanks pigs.

As it's autumn it's also harvest time. We have done OK with the onions and pumpkins (we have around a dozen) given we have barely any soil and we had a wet and cool summer again. We are still getting a few courgettes, though one was left and has turned into a marrow...

We are having a load of old muck delivered in a few weeks and are going to top-up the plots with topsoil, giving us far more growing medium for next year. Other news is that on the 7th November a very kind farmer is loaning us a Wiltshire Horn tup, so our 3 girls will have a bit of male company for a change.