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

Emma Heseltine - 26 May 2013

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. Bang bang bang, the posts go in very quickly. There are only a few jabs from the barbed wire and banged thumbs when putting the staples in (mainly me) – these fences are going to be all up and running in no time.

Some of our fields are looking a bit worse for wear after the hard weather of the winter and the wet previous summer. We have got a machine in to try and help out the grass, an aerator. It’s a quite scary looking set of foot long spinning blades that punctures the sward with the idea of letting in some air, breaking up compaction and generally shaking things up a bit. As long as the thing it shakes up isn’t the weeds we should be onto a winner. Ill be interested to see what difference it makes.

My pigs need moving. They have been on their patch since they arrived but it’s looking a bit bare now so I need to move them to the other side of the orchard to do some digging there. I’ve got some new electric fence tape so its just a matter of stringing it up to create the perimeter, as its new its not in a horrible knotty tangle yet – what luxury. I’m soon trying to coax them into the back of the trailer with some tasty treats (not too difficult) before moving their hut and trough to the new area. The pigs sit in the trailer patiently while I move the hut and when I turn them loose they go wild. There is a patch of leeks left from last year and I think there might be some parsnips. There is also an overabundance of grass; it’s got a little bit over grown in this section which is why the pigs have been recruited. Its funny when I come back later to feed them, I can't see them at first and fear they have somehow escaped. After a few calls I see some little orange ears prick up out of the long grass, the pigs are rooting in the densest bit and have to wind their way through the tall grass following my voice to find their way out. They haven’t learnt their way around their new paddock yet.

It’s quite warm this weekend – unusual at a bank holiday weekend I know – and the pigs have found a cooling solution. In their new paddock there are some nice trees for them to hide under should it get too warm, but this is not what they fancy. It’s much better if you can tip the water trough over and then splosh around in the subsequent puddle. This morning when I come down to feed them they are all lying in a pile in their self made puddle. I pour the rest of the canister of water in a hole for them, hey why not? Knock yourselves out.

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.

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Emma Heseltine
04 June 2013 18:56

Its barbed with stock netting, the farmers friend!

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