So a quick recap…. last October we bought a big field …. 16 acres in Worcestershire…… something we have not regretted one iota 🙂 We were living and working in Derbyshire…. me managing a brilliant Intermediate Care team, working for the NHS, keeping people out of hospital . …and Kate had a project management role within the acute hospitals in Nottingham.
Why Worcestershire ?….. well basically … family 🙂 Kate’s family have been in Droitwich for some years… her Mum and Dad, sister Emma and her tribe, all live in Droitwich and sister Jenny is not that far away. My folks are generally in the Southwest and Chester so it is pretty central for everyone. We knew that this venture would mean that we would be quite tied to the land so siting ourselves close to family was vital to us 🙂 We were only saying yesterday how great it is to see so much of everyone, and be part of the children’s lives and share the farm experience with them. Kate’s parents may be seeing too much of us as we are still living with them and have kinda moved a fair amount of chaos and clutter with us We are hugely indebted to them for their kindness and tolerance 🙂 Oh yes the land is fab too a great growing medium with good drainage, and in a good location!!
So I got a job working for Worcestershire PCT in Malvern, working within the community as a Care Manager ….. what ever that means ….. kind of a nurse who sorts people out who are in a pickle… and helping them navigate their way through the Health and Social services. I work with some great people and meet some great people so I got very lucky 🙂
Kate now is full time project managing the Big Project and farming and studying 2 days a week at Agricultural College…. this morning lagging the pipes in the barn, before the next cold snap 😦
So we are quite busy …. but loving it.
We have had 2 batches of pigs through the farm now and have anther 2 batches fattening up as we speak (ready Jan / Feb ). We are currently concentrating on producing Pedigree Saddleback pork, as we really rate them as the best pork we have produced so far….. sweet, excellent crackling and a slightly leaner meat than the Berkshire pigs we originally kept in Derbyshire.
Anyway if you have been reading our blog you’ll know this ………………….
What you don’t know is that we are working with an old friend of Kate’s called Cameron on updating our website. Well updating actually rather underplays it…….. we had a website that was old and out of date and not really very interesting !! We are hoping to have our new website live by the end of March …. I think ! Currently Cam has sorted a temporary holding page out, so we are still there but …… we are working on something far better. Meanwhile check out the holding page ….. you can subscribe to our newsletter/ email, and also link onto the blog and currently Kate’s facebook page which is still in Pirate speak … so we may have to review that !! this is the link http://www.littleblackpig.co.uk/
The new website when it is done should be more interactive…. not sure if that is the right word……. more brilliant anyway and ordering and paying for meat and other products … eg wool 🙂 will be possible. So watch this space.
Alongside Cameron working on this with us we also have asked Cousin Bev to help with our branding…… not that thing with a hot metal bar !!!!!!! On our logo and other brand related things 🙂 Cousin Bev has been head of colouring in within the family for years….. graphic design….. to give it its proper name and we are delighted to share our angst and project with all these lovely people 🙂
One thing we discovered recently was following a conversation with Jean who sold us the land …. apparently the land was always known as The Old Cottage patch, as there used to be an old cottage nearby that was pulled down when the A449 as widened, and the land…. our farm was the land belonging to The Old Cottage. So we are thinking about changing the name of the farm to 🙂 Old Cottage Farm 🙂
But that is all on hold as we are about to put in our planning application for a temporary dwelling for an agricultural worker, and the business plan and the report in support of our application all refers to our project as Willow Farm so we dont want to confuse things. But really with us starting out as Little Black Pig and now being s much more than little black pigs….. and a major supermarket selling their ( nothing like as great as ours ) eggs as from Willow Farm…. well an identity that is related to where we are and has some history … sounds great to us.
So the planning application .!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can hardly blog about it, as I can hardly bring myself to think about it ….. as it means so very much to us, the project and life as we hope to know it !!!!!!!!
To be there full time means that we will be able to really farm… breed our own pigs, rear our own chickens and it will mean that the time we waste in the car travelling to and fro from the farm will be available for those little jobs. We have been lucky in that we have not had a fox attack since July….. but yesterday morning when I left the farm after opening up and feeding and watering everyone….. it was a misty morning and it felt a bit spooky and we know the foxes are nearby and we just get that niggle that really we vulnerable to a fox strike still especially with them getting hungry in this cold weather.
We walk the flock every day and inspect the pigs twice daily, but we need to be there full time if we are rearing pigs and chickens. Also lambing …… well Kermit covered the ewes pretty quickly but we dont know if they have all fallen pregnant or if the cold weather has put everyone off….. or if it is just that the new green raddle paint just froze to Kermits chest…. so we really dont know when we will be lambing…. Easter was the target… to coincide with Kate’s hols from college. But is may be later ……….. watch this space !!!!
So basically I ‘ll be holding my breath from now until we find out ……….. the report and business plan look great ……… Kate has already started working on the how to make it happen plan………. to realise the business plan so I know we will do it ……….but we do so need a YES !!!!!!!!
And just think 5 years ago I bought Kate a book for Christmas ………… quite a safe present a book I thought …….. the book was