Missy – Our Oxford Sandy & Black Pig

We’ve always known that Missy was a little different from our other pigs.  For one she’s a bit unpredictable – wanting a scratch one minute and trying to have your arm off the next!  At times I’m convinced that she tries to communicate with anyone who will listen. We know she cries when she’s lonely and now she’s started singing for her food.

Missy – our singing pig

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Our Geese – Fraggle and Flo

Geese

I’ve been busy digging a number of trenches around the goat house to keep it from flooding and it seems to be working.  The ground is slowly drying.  I connected the swale to the goose pond at one end and it filled overnight.  The geese have certainly been enjoying it.

Sadly their enjoyment has been short lived as a fox attacked our male goose “Fraggle” on Saturday evening and killed him.

Since then the foxes have been keeping a very low profile and I haven’t seen one since. Perhaps they know I’m after them!

The Start of The Lower Swale

As the area around the Goat House Lower Swalehas flooded I decided to begin putting in what will eventually be the lower swale.  I wanted the swale to link an overflow pond to the Goose pond, so spent some time marking out the line of the swale following the contour of the land.  Once I was happy with the line of the swale I began to dig it out by hand.  I’ve only dug the trench a spades width by a spades depth over around 30 metres.  Eventually I’ll double the width of it once the immediate flow of water has dried up a bit.  It curves naturally around the Goat house and so picks up the flow of water down the land, protecting it from flooding.  It does cut right through the middle of one of our chicken areas who thoroughly enjoyed stuffing the worms that were brought to the surface as I dug.  When it’s completed I’ll plant it up with a mixture of bamboo and other plants suited to our browsing animals.  We’ll have to redesign the pasture area and move the chickens so that none of the animals get direct access to the plants in the swale.  They will however be able to eat any over hanging foliage.

Water Flow

Our land is situated on a slope, and any rainfall or water run off from the road will head very quickly down the slope to the stream at the bottom.  As it rushes down it takes with it minerals from the soil depositing them at the very bottom of the field.

All our Veg beds at the top of the field are raised in an attempt to slow down this water flow, and it does work but there’s a lot more we want to do, not only to stop the loss of minerals, but to preserve the water we have and use it well.

To this end we had planned to bring a digger onto the land in the Autumn of 2015, to begin putting in some water “features”.  We want to build in at least 2 Swales, 5 Ponds and 1 Earth Tank.  However with the incredibly wet Autumn we’ve had that has been impossible, and without these measures in place the field has flooded in certain areas.

In an attempt to alleviate the problem we have decided to begin work on some of the overflow channels that will join some of the ponds and swales together.  These should help to move the water away from the more used areas of the field to places where flooding won’t affect us too much.

This is the first overflow channel that we started yesterday evening.  It’s in no way finished, but just look at the amount of water in it from the rainfall last night!  Just need a few dry days to continue this channel on down the field to a small storage pond.