Shamefully, it’s over a year since I attempted a blog post at Eastleach Downs.
A lot has changed in that time, but some of the best things are still the same, we now have a complete breeding herd of British Saddleback sows plus Henry the boar!
We have a new full-time employee, Rob, who is very experienced in arable farming and is being pestered by our sows as he goes about the daily chores in the pig field. We are looking forward to Rob taking more of the management here as we take a back seat for a while and try to catch up with all the things that seem to stay at the bottom of the lists… Another harvest is in, and again the store is full of our lovely pea/barley mix.
We have fed our homegrown feed for over a year now, and we are going to grow some lupins this coming season to try to boost the protein quality. It has been a big hit with the pigs and is always the feed of choice when we compare the bought-in feed with our own. We have struggled with the physical quality of it as it is in a ‘meal’ form and so difficult to regulate the flow through our pig-operated ad-lib feeders. We are trialling some different types of feeders to see which ones will reduce the wastage which occurs as their over-enthusiastic snouts do their stuff!
BBC’s Countryfile featured Eastleach Downs on October 9th, in an episode that looked at the ‘Protein Problem’ and how we can feed ourselves sustainably in the future.
Our permissive path project is nearing completion now with the tea&cake wagon about to move into its final position. I had hoped we would be up and running by now, but I should know that these things always take longer than we think. We have a ‘Tramper’ all-terrain mobility vehicle ready for use, and half the paths are looking good (if a little bumpy still!) but there is still a way to go with agreements, signage and making sure that when we finally open, we are ready for visitors in a manageable way!
I intend to blog more regularly now that we have such competent help. I have a good feeling heading into our 32nd winter at Eastleach Downs…!