Monday, 10 December 2012

Hog roast

Damage right up to our alpaca fence this week
Eventually this last week we managed to get hold of a hunter to come and hunt on our land. The number we had, was for a hunter who had left the hunting organisation we have a contract with and it took a few texts to eventually get another number. It was sorted in the end and the hunter went out on three nights to our land, with increasing damage being done, but eventually he shot one. If we have the story straight, then it was one of a group of 20-30 individuals, so it was no wonder the place was a mess. It is possible that they had also decided that our land would make an ideal breeding ground. Not good for us, but at least the hunters have committed to continuing the hunt this week too, although of course there hasn't been any damage since one was shot. I remember one of our neighbours telling us that a hunt usually meant that the wild boar would not be back for a fortnight, so at least we get a bit of a reprieve. The snow has continued to fall and it is steadily building up and this restricts the wild boar with their little legs to the forests, so hopefully by the time the boar have forgotten about the killing the snow will be too deep for them.
Ian makes the best use of the barn by hoisting the
trailer up and leaving more floor space. One pulley
a couple of chains and the jobs a goodun'

Our share of the boar meat, bagged up and ready for the
The great thing is with having hunters out on the land, is that we get a share of the boar meat too and so we ended up with a bucketful of meat. I like the idea that I haven't had to butcher it too, so it seems a fair exchange. It was a fat pig though, with a layer of fat on it over an inch thick, if not thicker. That was one well fed pig! Normally I would be wary of meat with too much fat, but the fat will be good for our chickens, they could do with the extra calories now the temperatures are dropping quite sharply. I will let you know what it tastes like once I have got around to cooking it, I will tell you though that we will enjoy every morsel of it.

A frosty morning
Talking of chickens, we must have killed the wrong one. We have not had a single egg this week. I know it is cold but the light levels have gone up with the snow and so I would have thought we might have had one or two eggs, but no! The cold has been bad for the alpacas, well one in particular, Turbjörn. We are still not sure if the others are being mean to him or he just prefers to stay outside, but he is often shivering during the day. He is fine in the mornings as they have plenty of hay that has been built up quite a bit in the shed and we also have spent one day this week shifting rubbish bales of hay and stacking them against the shed to act as insulation and then put fleece around the outside on the other sides to reduce the draughts. It seems to have made it a better environment overnight despite the continued drop in temperatures. Two guys came around from the nearby sheep farm this week and helped Ian to cut the alpaca toe nails. They were quite excited about helping with the alpacas, being only three of them and not hundreds of sheep was something a little different. One had a bit of a bleed, but nothing serious and the lads had a spray to help, one also had a bit of a limp afterwards but that got better over the next two days. It might have just twisted it a bit as it was having the nails cut, or it might have just been a bit strange after having the nails cut. Anyway it is better now.
Hay bales stacked up against the side - a bit snow encrusted now

Double fleece layers around the sides too
We actually saw the sun one day this week. Not sure when
the last time we saw it. Ian and I just stood by the window
and gazed at the sun coming up, it was such a welcome sight
Sometimes in winter we have a problem with the electric, although we don't have as many power cuts as we used to now, it has gone off twice this week. The first time I was surprised that I didn't have a text from the power company to say that the electric was off. It seems a bit stupid getting a text to say "your power is off" but at least it means I know, they know about it and hopefully working on it. What was even more surprising was that it was off for an hour and a half and it wasn't even snowing at the time. All I can assume is that it might have been due to an ice build up that got worse as the temperatures dropped. The second time the electric went off we got a text, only I wasn't impressed as we had gone to bed early at our other apartment and had only just dropped off. We had also just topped up our fire to last all night and so we then spent an uneasy time wondering if our fire would cause the water to boil and possibly explode - we haven't got around to sorting out the battery for our UPS system (Uninterrupted power supply) which switches to battery power when the electric goes off. Our batteries have been used to charge the electric fence and probably need replacing now. Sigh!
Franken-shifter. A patented snow remover
Snow shifted off the greenhouse with franken-shifter

A frosty tree
Usually I don't mind the snow, but this year I just feel caught out by it. I guess it is partly because we have the animals now and we know that if the snow stays then this will be it until at least March and Ian has been having to spend all day out on the land, without electric, so that he can keep an eye on the animals. The chickens seem happy enough fortunately but due to our shivering alpaca, Ian has upped their feed of concentrate by feeding them midday and making sure that Turbjörn gets his full share. At least it means that Turbjörn, the most reluctant of the alpacas will eat out of a bowl Ian holds, not out of his hand but close. Looking out over the scene from our apartment window though I noticed once again how it hides so much, covering the footprints and on our land I knew it would be covering the hideous mess from the pigs in a white fluffy blanket, that was falling ever so gently from the sky. It made me think that sometimes we need our past covered over like that, hiding the marks we made, rather like grace really.
A golden sunrise

Crystal fairy lights, or ice lit by the sun!


  1. Our local eatery had boar on the menu today!

  2. I hope you had some, although maybe in the UK that is not a good idea. People might actually think it is a good thing to have boar around then

  3. Brrr! All that snow! Makes me cold just looking at the photos. I do hope you get the cable sorted out at the land soon especially for the animals. I can see that if you built a house there it would make life a lot easier for you - and the animals.

  4. When the wind drops and the temperature is regularly below -5C it actually doesn't feel that bad, because it is drier. Hovering around zero is cold.

    Youŗe right about the house though, it would be much easier

  5. Lovely pics. esp the ice tree.

    The father of a school friend of Ruths was a hunter and gave us some boar. Needs marinading AND and gooooood long cook - tough. but worth it.

  6. Lol you must have had an old one. The last one we ate was quite tender, but you are right they need a good long cook, but that is to ensure all diseases are killed off :)

  7. your snow is very beautiful....where will you spend Christmas? If Latvia will you have guests from home?

  8. It is beautiful, none of this dripping soggy mess but proper snow.

    We will be at home for Christmas, as we have animals to look after. So far no guests either, but you never know that could change. Kids won't make it either, babies and final years in uni make it difficult for them. Never mind, we will enjoy the snow and have Christmas in April instead.


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