Friday, November 22, 2013

This little pig went to market...

It’s been a ‘pig’ week.

Monday, we took Joan and her friends to the abattoir. So meekly did they all climb into the trailer, I’m sure they thought they were setting off on a caravanning holiday.

A ten-minute drive... the country route... no main roads and we were there. Still no squeals. No hanging about, no stress.

No tears. 

Twenty-four hours later we’re discussing ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ with the butcher.

Then Wednesday, I finally got to play with my shiny new mincer....

Monday, November 18, 2013

Colour cuts the mustard

There’s an incredible stillness outside today. Sitting on my favourite bench, looking across the garden, there’s not a whisper of movement. I'm studying an etching, in which even the quivering willow has been abridged to a sketch of finely inked outlines. Splashes of colour hang suspended against a blue sky; autumn has hoisted her bunting aloft.

A bee startles me, his industry almost incongruous in this serenity. He dodges from one flower to the next, enjoying the memory of summer; a souvenir sunflower, big and bold, dahlias and chrysanthemums, clinging to the sun's warmth, rich reds fading to russet, purple bleached to pink, a thousand pointed petals. 

If a bee can interrupt my reverie, even more so the chickens, who have sought me out. Sylvie, so named after a ballerina, looks more like a pantomime dame as she launches into the air to peck at dried poppy heads. The clumsy thud of her landing is applauded by the rattle of tiny castanets as the seeds shake from their pods.

With overnight frost forecast there's a guillotine hanging over the dahlias so I'm off to quick step round the garden myself to gather a final few blooms.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ladies who lunch


With the advance of Autumn, the demarcation between pig and mud is becoming increasingly blurred. 
Wet clay soil and tapering trotters are not empathetic. The latter are as impractical as stilettos on the lawn at a summer wedding! 
As a result, Joan breaks into a comical high-kneed skip to traverse the quagmire, when she sees me coming with the midday slops. 
Today she guzzled the remaining rosehip pulp from my syrup making. At least the vitamin C content should keep her joints well serviced! 

Friday, November 8, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I mislaid Jennie. 
Negligent? Nay, surprisingly easy in a large garden. But today I discovered she was savouring the mild autumn from underneath a lilac bush. Underneath her fluffed up body were a dozen warm eggs.  
She had the radience of any expectant mum. From my studio window I could just catch flashes of amber through the leaves, as the sun burnished her feathers.
Hmm, what do I do now, leave her be and chance the perils of the night? 

My birthday today was well timed. 
Gifts included one mincing sausage attachment for my Kenwood. 
Two pork cook books. 
Three piggy cards... 

Chorizo recipes make gripping bedtime reading... honestly

Booked pig a date at the abattoir.

Bonfire night. For a pig, (unaware that it might be the next sausage at the next bonfire party), that means one thing... leftovers! Viva called round this morning with ‘turnip a la rhubarb avec du pain'. 
It’s not every day Joan gets served from Le Creuset! 

Despite having survived many nights camping wild, this morning Jennie and her eggs had disappeared. I'm feeling horribly guilty that I didn't intervene and provide her with shelter sooner. A couple of bedraggled feathers are all the loose change the fox left behind...