The reality of being a farmer, bringing new life into the world, watching it stand for the first time, making sure it doesn’t get squashed, ensuring that it takes its first milk, watching as the energy from its new food source causes it to run taking off like a coiled spring, watching it grow, introducing it to solids, dealing with its injections to ensure its healthy, weaning it from its mother, seeing it play in the fields with its siblings and laze in the sun, making sure it has clean bedding, water and food each day, before weighing it and taking it to its final destination.
Now the none vegetarians may ask, how could you do that? Some may even consider switching to a complete vegetable enriched diet. Some will look at what they can do to bring food to the table, while others are happy to let someone else do that for them, this is also fine as it keeps farmers farming.
Back to our pig she was raised as a breeding sow for her good temperament and conformation, but after three months of failing to catch when introduced to a proven Boar, by the name of Borris, sadly her days were numbered.
Borris not unlike his namesake, was not by any means someone you would instantly fall in love with, he was fat, lazy, domineering, and wouldn’t share his food, furthermore he had two pronounced teeth ate with his mouth open and enjoyed rough sex.
Falling in love potentially was never really on the cards, but after three weeks of sleeping separately, fighting, cut and bruised our sow finally submitted to allowing Borris into her bed.
Sadly after three full seasons our sow failed to fall pregnant and Borris was required to work back on our neighbouring farm.
Right at this time I got Bowel cancer and had to spend some time in hospital, so our sow got an extended stay on the farm, she spent her last couple of months with an Apple enriched diet from our orchard which she loved, these would be her downfall as they were also used to entice her into the trailer for her final journey.
The morning was cold and dark, boxed and bedded down I set off with my sow to the abbatour. As the sun rose, so to did a spectacular light display of all colours unfold in front of me, mist in separated layers, was rising from the fields with the heat of the ground, momentarily hovering before evaporating with the morning heat of the sun, October Mornings really are a treasure, but the journey now at an end, I pulled into the abbatour and reversed up to the loading bay, I exchanged paperwork and discussed our requirements, With a little persuasion my sow trotted of the trailer and the gate closed behind her.
In a weeks time I will collect her, though to fat now for all joints, we will have back our sausage ribs, and a few selected joints.
I love the taste of our home reared pork, lamb and love collecting eggs in the morning whilst feeding our livestock, so to do our guests on our Farm Stay and we try to impart a little of our values and the reality of farming during their stay with us.
I close with this thought for you, our animals have a great life here at Oaks Barn Farm, they would not have been born were it not for their great tasting meat, but you can’t be a good farmer and do all of this without loving animals. So do think about where your food comes from its important to us all.