We spent Bank Holiday Monday in the pleasant company of a larger than life figure and his wife down in the southern fens. The reason for our excursion off the farm was to discuss sausages and bacon products.
If you follow this blog you'll know that we only have one pig at the moment, Daisy, our breeding sow who has become too close to being a pet since we decided to stop breeding her.
The Cambridgeshire Self Sufficiency Group are holding a sausage making and barbecue evening in the near future and the subject of our art is to be Daisy! This seems like a fitting end for the old girl.
We have ordered half a dozen different packs of sausage flavouring and are researching the chemistry of bacon curing.
But Daisy has other ideas!!
We started trailer training her over a week ago. For Daisy cannot be manhandled. Daisy goes where Daisy wants to go.
I had two major concerns. Getting her in the trailer and getting her out the other end. I figured that I needed to get her used to eating and sleeping in the trailer and coming back out in the morning. If we could get to this stage then I would move the trailer onto drier ground and repeat the process there, leading her up from her pen every evening. The next stage would be to take her for a little drive so that she got used to coming out of the trailer after a journey.
Now all this sounds like a good plan and Trailer Training Stage 1 went reasonably smoothly, although it took 3 days to get her into the trailer the first time. I had to move it so the ramp didn't slope quite so much. But we eventually got to the point where she went straight in every evening for three nights.
Then I had to use the trailer to fetch the lambs. I decided this would be a good time to park it on higher ground. Well, that was four days ago. It took FOUR hours of coaxing to get Daisy up into the trailer on the first evening - it was gone midnight before I got back into the farmhouse. Part of the problem is that Daisy is so long that I need her to go right into the trailer before I can shut the gate on her. I lost count of how many times she backed out just as the last couple of inches of bum were still sticking out!
For some reason, Daisy wasn't happy when I closed the gate that time and she has steadfastly refused to go in the trailer for the last three nights. She takes the titbits I throw to try to tempt her, but most unusually for a pig her stubbornness is overcoming her hunger.
To be quite honest, I have been getting very frustrated by the whole situation. However, something always happens to lighten a situation and this time it has been a family of wrens which provided the entertainment. For they have nested in the top corner of the garage porch, in an old swallow nest. While I have been waiting for Daisy to go into the trailer, there have been constant high-pitched begging calls coming from the nest. Then, on the third day, four young wrens appeared on the scene.
One of them found a very novel perch!
Despite this, there was no budging by Daisy on the trailer issue. So yesterday I took the decision to move the trailer back down to her pig pen. This is now a major worry as we have had constant rain for two days and I really am not confident that I will be able to pull it back out again... if Daisy goes in that is. I have decided that she will only be fed right inside the trailer. She could do with losing a little bit of fat before she goes off anyway.