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Notes from an ex-apprentice...

Emma Heseltine: Well here I am again; you might remember me from my two year blog about what life was like as a Soil Association apprentice… The Future Growers scheme has asked me for an update on how life has been treating me since I finished last July, so here we go! Since finishing the apprenticeship I have been working on expanding my pig business, The Rooted Pig.

02 June 2014 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 14

Open farm Sunday and shearing

Emma Heseltine: Its open farm Sunday this Sunday and like the Cumberland show it looks like we might have nice weather. The day is glorious and we have lots of activities planned. There will be farm walks, cream teas, and the bee keepers are here with a demonstration hive that we can peer into looking for the queen.

16 June 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 2

Fences, an aerator and pig in long grass...

Emma Heseltine: There are still more fences to put up. We are becoming a well oiled team now at fence building, especially with the post knocker on the back of the big John Deere. We get the posts measured up and lined up along the fence line, then a line of barb along the floor to keep us on track.

26 May 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 4

Carrots, Goosegrass and docks...

Emma Heseltine: The veg for the pigs comes from Eva’s Organics (where I also get my veg box) on a Wednesday. All sorts of things get thrown their way from potatoes and peppers to melons and tomatoes. The only things they can’t eat are onions and citrus, both these would upset their stomachs.

19 May 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Lambs, pigs talking to ewes and my last seminar...

Emma Heseltine: Sunday brings us no lambs at all but Monday morning is chaos. Three ewes have lambed and there are six lambs but it seems as though nobody knows which lambs belong to whom. We get them all in the pens and then start the task of sorting them out. It’s pretty easy to tell if a lamb doesn’t belong to a ewe as she will push it away so after a bit of trial and error I think I get it sorted. Trouble is when I go down the field to feed the cattle I find another lamb under the trailer… back to the drawing board. I get it sorted to a certain degree but one of the ewes has decided she is only having one lamb, the middle ewe meanwhile has four and doesn’t seem to mind that very much. Looks like someone is going in the adopter, there is no way that one of these ewes had four lambs, and there is no way she can feed four.

24 March 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 11

New calf, bringing the ewes home and feeding the pigs...

Emma Heseltine: This week Ellis decides to join Croft and has her calf on Tuesday morning. It’s another bull calf and even more strapping than Lawrence! They are moved up to the field next to the orchard and my newly ensconced pigs. Ellis apparently does not like pigs and has taken a particular dislike to mine, huffing and mooing at them. I’m not sure what they have done to offend her as they are being remarkably good considering what pigs can be like.

10 March 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 6


Emma Heseltine: This week I’m taking my last two pigs to the abattoir. I’m sure it’s going to be just as sad as the last time, but this time I’m hoping they are bigger and so provide more delicious food than the previous one. My mistake last time was not to weigh my pig so this time I’m getting it organised. John and I fetch the lamb weigher over from Wallace Field and get them in the pens. As the pigs have been moved a couple of times now they are quite used to getting in the trailer for a little ride, its not difficult with a bit of a treat (a couple of carrots).

03 February 2013 | 4 Comments | Recommended by 3

Haylage is greener, geese and organic pigs...

Emma Heseltine: The haylage is always greener in the other barrow. When feeding the cattle at Aglionby its best to keep your eyes peeled for Hayley, she is a bit over eager sometimes. We are feeding haylage at Aglionby and have to take it out into the field with a big wheelbarrow. There are two cows and calves, four in calf cows and a heifer and five store cattle and they need quite a bit of forage to munch. The trouble with Hayley’s keenness is that she sometimes nearly jabs you with her big horns when she is trying to steal food from the barrow. Also she has to come and try the contents of each barrow load to see which is best. She is highly food motivated our Hayley.

16 December 2012 | 148 Comments | Recommended by 22

Acorn and Kate and my little friends ploughing...

Emma Heseltine: Acorn lost a calf earlier this year. We hoped it wasn’t something wrong with her and sent her back to Jeremiah. She was in calf according to the vet and I worked out that she should be due on or around Christmas. I was hoping she wouldn’t calve on Christmas day as that would certainly put a bit of a spanner in my plans for the day!

09 December 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

My first pig...

Emma Heseltine: This week I’ve got a job that I’m not looking forward to. I’m taking the first of my pigs to the abattoir. I’ve been umm-ing and ah-ing about it for ages and have decided that the biggest of them is about ready. I don’t have a very accurate way of measuring them but I think she is an okay weight for a Berkshire. Getting her loaded is a bit of a nightmare, its not easy getting her out of the shelterbelt and into the trailer, there is some squealing (pig), swearing (humans) and almost escaping (pig). A treat of cucumber finally swings it and we get her in the Lambulance.

25 November 2012 | 18 Comments | Recommended by 3

Tups, new hens and moving pigs...

Emma Heseltine: The tups have gone out with the ewes this week and have been busy doing their job. Its time to put some more paint on them so we can keep an eye on how they are doing.

28 October 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Wierd goose, shocking meal time and river...

Emma Heseltine: We have a goose that’s being odd. It was hanging out on its own and generally lagging behind and looking sorry for itself. We put it in the little pen in the lambing shed to keep an eye on it. Sometimes a goose goes off on its own because it’s not well. After a few days it’s just the same, although it’s eating just fine and squawking if you go in the shed. We decide to turf it out again and see what it does; it potters off to look for its flock mates.

21 October 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Big pigs and seminars...

Emma Heseltine: We are creosoting all the gates at Wallacefield. There are We are creosoting all the gates at Wallacefield. There are quite a few wooden ones and it’s a nice messy job. Trouble is one of our tup’s, James likes to use the gate as a scratching post. Having carefully watched us paint it he then ambles over for a lead/scratch. We only notice later when we go past and there is a suspiciously striped Suffolk in the field. Silly boy.

07 October 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Moving house, sleepy chickens and grease...

Emma Heseltine: The quantity of rain this weekend combined with the imminent harvest means I’ve decided to move the pigs today. They have made a nice muddy mess so now its time to move them up in the shelterbelt to a new patch.

02 September 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

A transport puzzle, technology and falling over...

Emma Heseltine: The boss is away this week so I’m wondering what is going to attempt to keel over. Last time it was the Landrover. We are getting all the lambs in at Wallacefield to see how they are getting on and dag and check the feet of a couple.

26 August 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

More hay, going to Crosby and weights...

Emma Heseltine: We have got some hay but have another five fields to cut. This week Susan decides to go for it so we cut two at Wallace Field and two at Houghton. I even get a chance to have a go with the mower in the dark on the big Houghton field, it’s an impressive bit of machinery and the big Massey is somewhat smoother than the little old one which has a door missing and a fairly suspect seat (but I love it!) With four fields lying it is going to be a busy week.

05 August 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

Pigs and Gladys...

Emma Heseltine: I’m taking a big step this week; I’m getting some creatures of my own. The one product we don’t have at Hadrian Organics is pork and I’ve had my eye on pigs for a while. This week the plan goes into action.

22 July 2012 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 9

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