Acorn and Kate and my little friends ploughing...

Emma Heseltine - 09 December 2012

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! There is news today, she’s early. It’s a snowy cold day with a promise of sleet all afternoon and Acorn has had a little heifer calf in the night. We want to get her up to the field by the house so we can keep an eye on her and so that if they want they can go in the little shed at the bottom of the garden. The school who are visiting today are over the moon to meet the little calf and vote to call her Kate.

My first pig was a little bit little so I’m going to keep the other two for the New Year. Which means moving them from the shelter belt as it’s getting pretty bare and muddy there. I’ve done a deal with Mike Simpson of Eva’s who has an orchard on some of Susan’s land. He would like some digging done and I know just the two girls for the job. There is a patch next to the trees where they grow some parsnips, cabbage, leeks and the like. It’s been a bit swamped out this year and there have been quite a lot of weeds so a good turning over by my trottered friends will do it the world of good.

Pigs are world class ploughs; it’s almost their favourite thing. Getting them out of the shelter belt turns out not to be the horror I had imagined. John has come to help me out and we are both surprised at how well they follow me to the trailer. That’ll be the strategic use of their absolute favourite thing; a bucket of food. Once in the trailer I decide to put them in the lambing shed whilst we move their home; that way I don’t have to worry about what they are up to whilst my back is turned. I’m sure they will make a mess in there but it’s the easiest option. We soon have all the gear loaded up and into the trailer to move to the veg patch. The hut is set up and we spend a while fathoming the electric fencing, we have situated them on a patch of sacrificial parsnips.

Mike wants them to not eat the cabbages or the trees, and asked me if I could guarantee they wouldn’t escape. I can make no such promises but can say if they do get out it won’t be for long, I see them twice a day. I don’t thing they would go for the trees either, it’s the cabbages and leeks that would be at risk! Once we get them out of the lambing shed (they have made a mess) and they trot happily back into the trailer we take them to their new home. They are overjoyed at the veg patch and gleefully run about investigating. I think their new home is a good one.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

veg patch.JPG

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