This little piggy stayed home

We are really enjoying having Erlestoke our new baby boar.  He is a very different pig to the others.  The girls have always thought of everything (still do) as being prospective food – including shoes, feet, knees, etc –  we always said their natural response to anything was sniff, bite, eat.   Erlestoke is not inclined to bite much at all, what he really wants is to have a scratch.   Caleb spent most of the first day (after the worrying night before) in the pig pen just watching over him, being relieved by the other kids at odd times, with walkie talkie in pocket in case of trouble.  However there were no problems, Erlestoke seemed to understand the fences after the first few minutes of a fresh day.  The little fellow wouldn’t eat much at first and seemed nervous and unsettled, but over the day he settled down.  About lunch time we got him eating by offering milk and after he got started on that he decided that he was hungry after all and went on to eat and eat and eat.  That seemed to make him feel at home and he discovered that we were good for giving him scratches, which he just loves.

He gets so absorbed when you rub him, especially on his flanks, that he will even stop eating and close his eyes and if you keep it up he starts to list to the side and eventually falls over at (or on) your feet.  It is the sweetest, funniest thing to see.  So now he runs up and grunts at us whenever we go past, hoping that we will stop and give him a scratch – which of course we usually do.  Even if he did get out again now it would not be quite so worrying as we know that he likes us and will come to us.

We tried to put the girls in with him this week but they are just too mean at chasing and biting him, so we are keeping them apart for now.  When he is less of a baby I think he will be able to cope with them, but for now they just have to talk through the fence instead.  We don’t want to risk him getting hurt.  It is amazing to see him so large though.  At 9 weeks he is just a little bit shorter than Pigachu who is 5 months, and he is a wider type of pig too with a longer nose than the girls.  We have made him a similar shelter to the one the girls have so he can keep out of the rain and snuggle up somewhere off the ground at night. On the negative side he is a much smellier pig than the others ever were.  We keep hoping that the smell will fade, but it hasn’t shown any signs of lessening yet.  Nevertheless we all just love him.

We continue to work on our fencing, it will be done one day…. however Kim decided we should bring all the close trees along the northern border down before we put the fence up.  That means that 20 odd trunks had to be cut down and then there is all the removing of leaves and cutting up of branches to be done – no small job.  Then just to make things more difficult the chainsaw started to play up.  Two trips to the repair shop later it is back and working again and we have so far cut down 6 or 7 of the trees.  We have another 2 or 3 we can do then we must move the pigs before we can do the rest.  It is also important to choose good days for tree felling where there is no wind, so that limits things too.  It is rather hard work and poor Kim gets very sore muscles!  Today he has been getting mild kidney stone pain so has been taking it very easy.  Hopefully this will pass quickly!!!

Lydia’s rooster chicks started crowing recently and seemed pretty mature so we put all 3 in with my brown hens.  We only wanted to keep her favourite “Brownie” in there but it is not good to introduce only one chook to a bunch of others as they get picked on too much.  It turned out well as after a few days Brownie started to assert himself, even over the other two roosters.  Since we no longer had a need for the other two they were dispatched, plucked, gutted, jointed and became dinner.  They are so much smaller under the feathers!  Lydia insisted on gutting one under Caleb’s tutelage, and she jointed and cooked them too.  She is very determined with the whole self sufficiency thing and I was very proud of her since they were her babies for so long.  She loves the two little hen chicks though and one of them is very tame now and sits on her knee when she feeds them.  Brownie meanwhile is doing very well in with my girls and I think he is quite happy there, and he looks very nice too.  Big Black the Australorp rooster is crowing now as well and we are hoping to find some more hens to put in with him.  We would like some Australorp hens but have been unable to find any so far.

In other chook news one of mine has been unwell so we have her up at the house in the crate so we can see how she goes.  We have tried a couple of treatments for suspected illness but it hasn’t made much difference yet.  She still eats pretty well but mostly just sleeps the rest of the time.

My worms have started producing worm juice at a good rate lately.  I am thrilled to see them established so quickly.  Hopefully they will cope through the cold winter weather.

With more rain coming on we are looking into thoroughly waterproofing the carport so we can store more things in there.  We would like to rearrange various things to make our current storage shed become a workshop.  We’ll need a couple of fine days to get that done, and probably some more wood to seal up the carport and to make some shelves etc.  It seems like one of the three local sawmills does a lot of hardwood planks which will be handy.

I’ve recently been doing some admin work at home, having to get a schooling report done for the powers that be.  I quite enjoyed doing it, funny to think that I have been missing doing administration!  Golly, I’ll probably enjoy doing my tax return.  That will be a first.  We were also given some old carpet as we wanted some to put down in the vestibule.  It turned out that it was not very good condition, having some white paint or something spilt on it and I had it spread out trying to clean it when some friends from bible study came and visited unexpectedly.  When they saw the carpet they suggested a swap.  They had some carpet which they were going to use when making a rockery to prevent weeds coming up and it turned out to be a much nicer carpet than what we had, and as an added bonus it had underfelt with it.  We jumped at the opportunity and now have carpet in the vestibule and in the main room of the manor.   It is by no means perfect but it seems hard wearing and it makes the room seem much warmer.  It seems to clean up well too, when the dog comes in with grubby paws.

We had Ade over again last week and will be sorry to see him go when he leaves for WA this weekend.  It has been fun to learn a bit about life in Bali from him.  We are hoping to be able to visit the church we attended in Launceston on the last Sunday in June, as there will be no service in Mole Creek.  It would be lovely to see how everyone is over there, but will depend on us having two cars in roadworthy status at the time.  The ute is up and running again having just had a reconditioned starter motor put in place, but it is not really a car that I would like to take to the city, and since the exhaust almost fell off the Passat the other day I am not 100% confident that we will make it.  But you never know.

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