The big six

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When we reach the day when there’s half-a-dozen eggs to collect from our flock of hybrids, currently 11-strong, James and I kid ourselves that spring is on its way (despite it being a good two months before it’s officially declared!). I collected the clutch pictured above on Sunday, only to dent a speckled one (shown, bottom) – but that just meant it was a good excuse to poach it later for supper. At the weekend, those slightly later sunsets are a bit of a treat, too – the extra hour between four and five in the afternoon feels like borrowed time, giving us more light for cleaning out the hens and hanging out with the pigs.

Speaking of our porcine tenants, who were due to be dispatched this week: they have a reprieve of several weeks! The farmer who will transport them to the abattoir with us, and later butcher them, came to visit the plot recently and said we could ‘grow’ them for up to another month and a half,  with little chance of their meat tainting (a possibility for boars, due to their hormones affecting the taste). So, it’s good news for the Old Spots and it’s good news for us. Although the cost of their upkeep is seriously pulling on the smallholding purse strings – the pair chomp through about £16-worth of organic pig grower pellets a week – which means we’re half-wondering whether the size they’ll reach is worth the extra money spent on feed! On the other hand, they’re incredibly lovely to have around and we’ll miss their rootling ways when they’re gone, so best we make the most of them!

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