The saga of our wayward sow and piglets has come to an end. For the past couple of months, one of our sows took her litter of piglets into the wood next door, foraging for acorns, crabapples and who knows what else. Perfect for pigs to fatten up for the lean winter, but not so good for our neighbours who could see the pigs on the footpath between the wood and their fields,with the danger of coming onto their fields and rooting up as pigs do.
The sow has been caught up several times and returned to us, minus piglets, but finally our patient neighbour caught her and seven piglets in his lambing pen. The outcome- they are keeping a fine sow and piglets, and will have bacon and pork in several months, once the piglets are weaned and fattened up! I took a bucket of apples and a sack of corn and we stood at the pen, marvelling at how well the piglets look, given that they have survived in the wood, without twice daily feeding. Real little porkers! In the New Forest, commoners have the right of pannage - allowing their pigs to roam and eat, just as ours have done over past weeks.
Tonight we have had our first fire - after an hour of sweeping the chimney. A little soot goes a long way!