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Welcome

Sow The Seed follows the ups and downs of me, Helen and my husband, Simon - a couple trying to live a simpler life in south-west Wales.

I hope this blog will not only be a good reference and diary for us over the coming years, but will give helpful advice and tips for people trying to do the same thing, or dreaming of doing the same thing.

Find out more on how we got here.

What’s Happening Today

Tasks: Sowing; pruning; weeding; pottering

Harvesting: Cucumber, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, broad beans, potatoes

Eggs this year: 394 (hens) 317 (ducks)

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Archive for the ‘Pigs’ Category

Burger and chips - our last home-reared pork meal

Burger and chips – our last home-reared pork meal

Last weekend we had our last bit of home-reared pork in the form of pork & chilli burgers and meatballs. When we first filled our freezer with the pork from the pigs, we knew we had a lot of meat, but we never thought we would still be eating the proceeds nearly 18 months later! We saved the best bits until last, so had pork & leek sausages in a toad-in-the-hole a fortnight ago, and finished this weekend with meatballs and pork & chilli burgers. It has been a tasty journey from end to end,and worth the effort. But it will be good to be meat free…at least for a while.

The end result (a meal fit for any roadside Cafe!)

It’s been six years since we last had meat, but our first taste again was well worth the wait. We went over to the butcher’s yesterday to collect our pork and gammon and were given six boxes of various joints and sausages, including some cured products in the form of gammon joints, steaks and bacon. This was all packed into the freezer (thankfully we had bought an extra small chest freezer so had plenty of room for everything), apart from a couple of gammon steaks, some bacon and a roasting joint, which would be our next few meals. Read the rest of this entry »

We'll do anything for food

So the deed has been done.  The pigs are no more. Well that’s not quite true as they are currently being made into tasty sausages, hams and pork joints.

Their final journey started on Sunday night when we loaded them onto the trailer. They were happy to go in without too much effort. Just a bit of food chucked in the back and they were safely installed in their new house for the night. They soon nestled down and made it their home, knowing little of what was ahead of them the following day. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting closer!

This time next week if everything has gone to plan, the pigs will have met their inevitable end. We have started to make preparations to ease the stress on us (and on them), which started with changing their run so that they had access down to the gate. This means that they will be used to going down to the gate where we will bring the trailer in, so it should be easier to load them on. A few days before we take them we’ll start feeding them down there as well, and getting them to follow the bucket so we should be able to lure them easily on to the trailer. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweetcorn in polytunnel

The year seems to be flying by, and the veg garden is in full swing. I’ve been busy picking the gluts of peas, mangetout and broad beans and getting them into the freezer. Any that have gone over, along with the pods, we’re giving to the pigs, adding a bit of variety to their diet. The tomatoes have at last started to ripen in the polytunnel, and so we’re now able to enjoy proper salads and tomatoes in our sandwiches. This year I’ve tried growing climbing French beans and sweetcorn in the polytunnel, and both have proved very successful. They are weeks (if not months) ahead of their outdoor counterparts. The sweetcorn is twice as high as those outside, and have produce lovely fat cobs that are covered in kernels. They’re very sweet as well, particularly when they’re cooked within a few minutes of picking, before the sugars start to turn to starch. The French beans have grown all the way to the roof and are sending out new shoots and producing new flowers and beans all the time, despite being watered only twice a week. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday morning lie in

It’s pouring with rain here today, so what better way to spend your Sunday morning?

Time to relax in the (mud) bath

These last few weeks of warm dry weather have been lovely for relaxing in the garden. Even the chickens and pigs love to have a good sunbathe and feel the warmth of the sun on their backs. However, the pig’s skin has been suffering a bit, so we decided this weekend to take some action and build them a wallow. Coincidentally a report was recently published highlighting the need for pigs to be able to wallow. The report suggests it’s not only a way for them to cool down (they don’t have any sweat glands), but that they just enjoy it, and it is hard-wired into them. Read the rest of this entry »

This year's crop in the making

It’s been a busy few weeks. The start of spring means things are starting to happen in the garden, and there is a flurry of activity at the potting bench. The recent warm weather has seen shoots appear where they should and shouldn’t have. So it’s now the start of the battle against the weeds and slugs to make sure the garden is as productive as it can be. I usually start my morning rounds off now with a slug hunt, some of which are fed to the chickens, and the rest are given a salting. As long as I keep up the routine for the next few weeks I should be able to keep the worst of the slugs at bay. I’m also leaving a few strategic pieces of wood and rotten vegetables around the place, as the slugs will hide under the wood once the sun comes up, and also gravitate to the smell of the rotting vegetables so can usually be found in its vicinity. Read the rest of this entry »

Snug as a ... pig

The pigs arrived this weekend. The breeder arrived with them in the back of his van, with them cuddled together in an old log basket. Clearly the journey hadn’t bothered them too much, as they looked quite content.

Before taking them to their new home, we had to give them a wormer injection. So the first meeting with their new owners was via a sharp needle. However, they didn’t flinch at all, just did what pigs do and provided us with a little present over our coats! Read the rest of this entry »

Free bedding

From what I’ve read, bracken was once popular as animal bedding instead of straw. It is only in recent decades that straw has become relatively cheap to buy, and comes in convenient-shaped bales for use around the farm. However, the price of straw is reported to be on the up, given the poor grain harvests at home and abroad. With pig arrival day nearing, and reading about the cost of pig feed and bedding going through the roof, we’re trying to think of ways to keep the costs down.  We’ve got quite a lot of bracken growing on the banks in one of our fields, so we thought we would try to utilise it. It’s died down and dried out over winter, becoming very straw-like, and so should work nicely. Armed with a large tarpaulin and some shears (no sickle this time!) we went up the field to see what we could harvest. Read the rest of this entry »

Modified version of the Summer Polaroid Pics template