Winter is upon us!

So I do believe that the mornings are slightly lighter and it is not totally dark at 4.45 pm but that is about as positive about this time of year that I can be. It is cold and windy and we thought the other night that the caravan roof was going to blow off! The caravan is actually a bit miserable, but I will light the fire tomorrow morning and attempt to make it cheery for the weekend. I am going to cook a casserole tomorrow and roast something on Sunday and those lovely cooking smells do lift ones spirits somewhat 🙂

The last 2 years we have been away for my birthday … Winter sun in Lanzarote…. fantastic! But not this year unfortunately…. I do have the day off work so Kate and I are hoping to go out for lunch and a mooch, maybe a pootle round a local town, but not Droitwich or Worcester. Not that there is anything wrong with either place but hey we are going to have a grand day out!

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We are selling lots of our lovely lamb currently as we have our half lamb packs on special offer until the end of January, I am desparately trying to empty my freezer so that I can make the most of the offer too.

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The animals are all fine, and there have been major pig moves over the last 10 days as we have moved some into the north facing field. Now when driving towards Worcester you get a great view of the pigs in that field, although they are spending a lot of time in their arcs, snuggled up.

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Sometimes I just cant help myself!

Anyway that is about it….. Pork chops, brussels and jacket potato for tea 🙂 just about ready now, so I’ll sign off….. but spare a thought for me doing the rounds tomorrow morning and Kate freezing her toes off in the shop…… I just can’t wait to hear the first skylark …. then I’ll know that Spring is on its way.

Frosty Morning Rounds.

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Ok so yesterday it was all about waterproofs as I dripped around the farm, cleaning out water troughs and feeding the animals.

Today was freezing and was all about breaking ice and checking all the stock were ok and had enough bedding and giving them their food.
I am always up and about early at the weekends so it is one of the best things I like about our adventure …. Morning Rounds 🙂

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The animals are always glad to greet you and even have a little chat !

Harri is getting used to being my pig/ sheep dog and accompanies me quite cheerfully, especially when I go and inspect the nearly year old lambs that we are growing to hogget.

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He now listens to me and I can call him off the sheep when we are finished…. a big improvement.

The dirtiest job has to be cleaning out the pig in the barn…. she had had a difficult labour and we are now waiting on the ground firming up before we move her and her piglets to their outdoor pen…. they are ready.
The great thing about the pigs is how intelligent they are and how working as a team we get her pen sorted quicker. I lob the fresh bedding in and she makes the bed!

What now for the rest of the day …. well I cooked one of our lovely turkeys yesterday so we are going to have that for tea again today and keep warm in the caravan, with the fire lit and generally rest, relax and recharge… 🙂 Life is good, if a little cold!

Happy New Year ….2015 Bring it on!!!

What a fabulous year we had in 2014! We made some new friends, had lots of adventures, some sadness and ok yes I turned 50! Amazingly enough Kate and I still quite like each other and get on as well as ever 🙂

So what did happen in 2014 ?

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We had our best lambing so far, lots of lambs and relatively easy births and we were not as exhausted as usual… all down to Kate’s amazing planning.

We won the Droitwich Food Festival award for the best sausage.

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We also met James … now known as Young James, the grandson of friends of ours… and he now works for us on Saturdays in our Farm Shop.

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We had some new staff in the lovely form of Karen, who works for us in the shop during the week, keeping us in order and helping produce our great faggots, bacon and sausages.

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Oh yes and Kate got on the radio ….. again!

We have also got some butchery help in the form of Alec, a retired butcher, who knows more about meat thean Kate and I could ever hope to, having been in the business for years and years, since he was a Saturday boy. His calm, constant work was the saving grace in our most hectic Christmas ever!

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I learnt to link sausages and also ran a stall selling our produce at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre for most of the summer, on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Pigfest was the best yet…
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And it was great to see so many friends and family there …. the weather was kind to us …. eventually.

Piglets abound … with our pig numbers ever increasing.

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oh yes and we added video to the blog 🙂

So that is a quick summary of the good things which far out weigh the tough things we have had to deal with.

What are we dealing with right now ?

Well total exhaustion on Kate’s part, she really could do with sleeping for about a week! I am tired but at least I get to go to work too. Which I love btw!

Also we are awaiting news on our planning application for a permanent dwelling here on the farm. Caravan living is ok and with nearly 4 winters under our belts, we are doing ok. But…. oh to have a decent sized kitchen where we could seat and feed friends in comfort when they come for a meal. To be able to have a bath, and a few more cupboards for clothes….. watch this space!

So that is about it for now… Happy New Year to you all and thankyou for all your support, good wishes, purchases over the last year and join us as we continue to live the dream here at Willow Farm.

We hope you have a very Happy Christmas!

So it has happened the pre Christmas mayhem is over and we are now relaxing and resting after the busiest month of our lives here at Willow Farm.

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The orders are all in the right place and now it is just down to our lovely customers to do the meat justice and not over cook it and enjoy a festive delight.

Our team here at Little Black Pig have been amazing and worked above and beyond the call of duty, in a calm, efficient, lovely way and helped to ease the stresses of the last few weeks.

There has been a distinct lack of photos and blogging basically because there just hasn’t been the opportunity but I am hoping over the next few days to make amends.

We have 26 piglets under a month old on the farm and another batch due any day! It is muddy and we are looking forward to a crisp morning tomorrow.

So I am off to the caravan, which is like an oven with the wood burner lit to let Kate go to bed and to sit and read for a little while with Mum who is staying over Christmas.

So I would just like to say a big thankyou to all of you who have supported us over the last year and wish you a very Merry Christmas and all that you would wish for in the New Year. And just a note of caution ….. be careful what you wish for ….. just look where it got us 😉 !

19,859 views on our blog !

So far we have had a whole load of views of our blog, so some people are interested in what we are doing, other than us!

We were only saying yesterday .. what an adventure we are having and how tough as it is at times … we have no regrets. Ok so we have learnt loads but in essence despite working harder than we thought possible … we are still doing it … living the dream.

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The pigs are eating for England and growing well.

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And the turkeys … keep growing!

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Christmas orders are coming in thick and fast and these are the best turkeys yet… free ranging them makes such a difference.

Yesterday much against my better judgement, I went with Kate and Harri to a Welsh Sheep dog day, in the rain and the cold and I am not sure it got light at all.

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Harri was tested against the criteria for being a Welsh Sheep dog and passed with flying colours 🙂

So that was our weekend …. Jinney Ring Craft Centre Christmas fair for me this weekend coming … so I am hoping for dry weather!

A lovely weekend at Willow Farm

What a lovely weekend 🙂

So what did that entail … I am sure you are asking … welll … quite a lot of work, a little play and snoozes!
Morning rounds on Saturday first and what a beautiful sunrise.

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Harry and I did morning rounds, which are quite lovely and it is good that Harry now accompanies me, taking the place of Benson, as my trusty companion.

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Morning rounds is a good time to inspect all the livestock and make sure that everyone is up and about.

All the pigs were eager for their breakfast except this arc!

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Phew they are alright .. just thought the clocks had gone back already!

So with the pigs all up and about it is time to let the turkeys out 🙂

Sometimes they are a little too free range!
And a few flew over the fence in with the pigs … no video of me catching them I am afraid , I have to preserve some dignity!

Then it was on with opening the shop and we had Mutton on the counter today, as well as our usual fine fayre, so Kate got her knives sharpened and by mid day we were sold out of mutton!

This morning Harry and I were greeted by some escapees in the barn!

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But order was quickly resumed, and they were returned to Mum.

And then I spent a little time curing bacon and gammon………… the first customer in yesterday had a whole bacon loin ( short back) £38 pounds worth of bacon….. ‘Best ever’ he said and he’ ll be back next week so curing was essential.

Kate now has the fire lit in the caravan and roast pork in the oven and the only thing missing is a nice sweet sherry… but then we cant have everything!!

Talking of not being able to have every thing ………….. get your Christmas orders in soon as …… Turkeys are going fast!

Order them on line http://www.littleblackpig.co.uk/ or come by the shop and pick up an order form.