Well, just as I expected, it’s been a little hectic today, I knew it was going to be an epic day even before wifey phoned me at work yesterday. The swineherd is used to my Mediterranean outbursts so started the phone call with this “ now don’t loose the plot but I need some advice”, sounded ominous saw I drew a few deep breaths and listened. It was due to be a busy day because we had piglets to sort, inject and deliver all over Skye. Normally we’d spread this over a couple of days but recent bereavements had put us back a couple of weeks on the pig front and we had to get this batch away before she departed south for yet another funeral. Anyway the one sided conversation went on to say how Bracken, who’d just come on heat after having her five piglets weaned was charging about the croft looking for a boar. Rocky our new young stud was in a field in front of the house with Shona who was also needing served and we’d put them in there to see if he was doing his stuff. As that was the nearest and easiest place to put the horny sow she opened the gate to let her in and the resulting stramash saw all three pigs trying to mount each other whilst tearing large chunks out of one another, not only that but their was a gate open which led into a gap between the adjoining croft. Not normally a problem as the gate to my neighbours croft was closed, however the rickety fence proved no match for half a ton of six legged pork and they burst through it in a grunting heap. Once on the other side on a fresh bit of ground they calmed down and shot off with wifey in pursuit. With no food to tempt them elsewhere the swineherd managed to lead them out onto the hill and eventually into another empty field, once in this field it became apparent that it wasn’t empty at all, in fact Ed, Eddy, George and Mildred where in there 😦 And at four months old Ed and Eddy where just starting to get full of hormones. The resulting chaos made worse by Ginger our full grown 250Kg Tamworth boar with tusks the size of my thumbs trying to get through the fence from the adjoining field and this is the condensed version of the full epic tale 🙂 The outcome of which was that all the pigs were in the wrong place and Rocky and Eddy had collapsed in a ditch shagged out from all the fighting and mounting 🙂
The net result being that the two pregnant sows Jamie Lea and Bracken were in a narrow strip of land in front of the house overnight and needed moving before I could lead the fifteen piglets into another field to sort seven out for delivery today. This would not normally have been a problem as I’d just lead them with a bucket however as we don’t usually keep full grown pigs in this area the 12’ steel gate that separates it from the part of the croft where the feed is stored does not have pins on the hinges to prevent it being lifted off them and one good lift from Jamie Lea’s snout had it in a heap on the floor and two full grown sows clambering over it to get to me and the open store 😦 It was not a good start to the day 🙂
Anyway, eventually i managed to coax them back and into the right place, replace the gate (with pins) and reverse the Land Rover and trailer into the required loading place and close the gate.
The seven correct piglets and Molly were then tempted into the trailer with a little feed,
where they were injected for worms and marked, purple for boys and green for girls.
There was no chance of catching the planned 9:55 ferry so we stopped for breakfast,
and that really is just one egg in the pan!!!!!
An hour later the highly stressed piglets were sound asleep on the ferry 🙂 and we headed for our first rendezvous with Dave Bulmer of http://skyeharvest.co.uk/ in Staffin. Dave and his wife Sarah do organic free range produce from their croft in Staffin and are regular customers so we’re pretty slick at transferring the piglets from my trailer to his.
Purple for boars and green for gilts
As usual I met him at Harbro in Portree where we reversed up to each other and I passed him three fine spotty boars. We’re so well practised at this that I let the swineherd take Molly to the vet to have her booster injection. With the boars safely in his trailer
and after a brief chat about the up and coming ‘farmers market’ in Portree on Saturday I bade him farewell. He set off on his sixteen mile trip to Staffin and I loaded up with feed. Feeling pretty pleased with myself I sat back and waited for wifey to return with the ‘wee dug’. Wifey took one look in the trailer and spotted something that should not have been there, a willy 😦 what should have been in there were two Tamworth boars and two spottie gilts, only one of the gilts was not a gilt 😦 not only that but she/he was covered in purple paint, I’d messed up big style 😦 Of course the phone reception north of Portree is pants so there was nothing for it but to head for Staffin.
It may have been thirty odd miles out of our way but it was well worth it because I got a good look at Dave’s fine Mitsubishi 4wd tractor and a welcome tea and sandwich 🙂
The next stop was some hours drive away in Edinbane where the two spottie gilts were delivered to Nicky and Dave at the Loch Greshornish caravan and campsite http://www.skyecamp.com/index.php . Where after depositing the two girls in a nice cosy barn we departed with a fine Bordeaux and Hock for Fiskavaig.
With the remaining two Tamworth’s safely behind an electric fence in ‘Cook’ country a bag of tomatoes and a laurel bush in hand we raced for the 17:35 from Sconser, all in all it had been a bit of a rush.
Still no sign of Alfie 😦
Once back on Raasay the first thing we did was call on Jessie Nicolson to drop off some shopping and to find out if Alfie had turned up. Alfie being Jessie’s own ‘wee dug’ and Molly’s best pal, Alfie went missing from Oskaig ( the top red splodge) on Monday and apart from a brief sighting by the postie at the bottom splodge above the hotel he’s not been seen since. Wifey, Molly and several friends have spent hours looking for him but to no avail, so if anyone sees a stout little Jack Russell lookalike could they get in touch and make someone very happy 🙂
After that it was back to the croft to feed some hungry pigs
from my boots 🙂 and extract Ginger from the fence where he’d got his tusks caught growling at Rocky 😦