Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Death & Distraction

Death has been on my mind a lot recently. I worry about my bee colony - have they built up sufficient honey stores to make it through their first winter or did my accidental killing of a handful or two of bees hamper their efforts. I worry about Hera - will she ever lay another egg or do Dave’s dark mutterings about “pay her way”, “return on investment” and “casserole” mean an early demise for her. And as of yesterday I worry about the pigs – will I cope knowing that we’re counting down their final 56 days or will I break down at the last minute, denounce pork products and embrace the quorn burger.

Yes, the pigs have a date with destiny and their journey to the big wallow in the sky begins on 27th October. I’ve put many dates in my diary over the years, but I can confidently say that “slaughter day” is not one I’ve ever pencilled in before. It’s just as well that we’re now on the slippery slope towards the slaughterhouse as the bigger my porky girls get, the more difficult feeding them becomes. Distraction is key to a successful feeding time. Throwing in a handful or two of tasty grass & yummy chard leaves, gives me time to get to the feed bin, fill the feed bucket & get to the gate. It used to get me safely through the gate, but the girls are now wise to my tricks. These days I struggle to get in the gate without the pigs getting out, I fight to get to the trough without the pigs knocking me over or having my feet for breakfast, and I usually fail to get the feed in the trough before it disappears under a mass of heads, ears, snouts and trotters. This hasn’t stopped the girls from fattening up nicely though. Alice may think the back scratching and belly rubbing is purely for her enjoyment, when in reality what’s actually going through Dave’s mind is “how many chops”, “how many rashers” and “how big a ham”. Harsh but true. Repeat after me, pigs are not pets, pigs are not pets ….

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