Monday, 2 July 2007

Beasties of the culm

Today was culm survey day, and we also surveyed the wood and the four most interesting fields on the farm. Interesting from a species point of view rather than because they might contain a leprechaun, a pot of gold or the missing hammer. It has been a very wet day. Wellies up to the armpits would have been a boon. As it is, my knees are wet, having been exposed between cagoule hem and wellington boot top. The knees were not naked, but might as well have been for all the good my trousers did.
I say "we" but actually I just trailed the professional, asking daft questions and trying not to squash anything rarer than a rarebit. For today (but possibly not by next week) I know the difference between Meadowsweet and Common marsh-bedstraw, and that having a flock of ewes barge their way unasked into the woodland even for an hour or two means that the 24 orchids previously counted will dwindle for this season at least to about half a dozen, even though there is no permanent damage. It is possible that some of the areas will become County Wildlife Sites, but I don't think a visit from Bill Oddie is implied in this designation.
Next job of the day is to measure the pigs to see if they are ready for the butcher. You use a piece of twine to measure them from neck to tail and round the chest and then do some magic formula thingy. Wrapping string round a pig is not easy at any time. It is very difficult when the ground is liquid chocolate. I may report back. On the other hand I might just need a bath.

P.S. For those who liked my woodpecker post, you'll be pleased to know that three red-capped juveniles have been raised and are now fully fledged, pecking each other in their eagerness to dominate the peanuts. The cats are on notice.

The photo is of a Six-spot Burnet Moth.

8 comments:

mutterings and meanderings said...

Oh no, will you be there when the piggies go the distance?

mountainear said...

Sounds like a good day - and that bath will be well deserved.

Look forward to hearing the outcome of the survey.

Flowerpot said...

yes, also looking forward to results of survey. Having got soaked three times yesterday, ensuring Vile Mood, can sympathise with need for hot bath.....

Mopsa said...

I will deliver the piggies M&M, but will not witness the final moment - the public are not allowed in. It is a small abattoir and it all happens very quickly and cleanly. You may be pleased to know they have a month;'s reprieve as the string says it's too early (clever thing, that string).
M'ear and Flowerpot I will gladly share the survey results. The bath was less to warm myself up, and more to remove the chocolate mud previously known as the pig paddock, that the pigs are now sliding about in...thank goodness for a clean, dry ark.

Drunk Mummy said...

It sounds like you should invest in a pair of fisherman's waders, to deal with the pigs!
The twine measurement is fascinating, and somehow reassuring.

lady macleod said...

I hope you took notes regarding all the field data, and I hope you took photographs of you wrapping the pigs in twine!

The thinker said...

Oh dear - I'm not sure that i could bring myself to eat anything I'd personally known and certainly not if I had ever had my arms around it - sounds too much like cannabalism. I did force myself to watch the BBC prog 'Kill It, Cook It, Eat It'.

Mopsa said...

DM - there are a pair of pristine waders under the stairs - they always seem to be forgotten at the crucial moment.
Lady M - if I had been wielding a camera and not helping I would have been very unpopular! Anyway, I was laughing too much to hold the Canon steady.

Thinker - the pigs are reared specifically for meat - I don't think I would contemplate eating my friends though.