Phew, but the temperatures have suddenly rocketed here. 35 yesterday, probably higher today, the ground of the Courtyard being so hot that you could hardly walk on it yesterday, which is probably why a couple of the hens were paddling their feet in the puddle beneath the outside water tap!
To cool Max off I have taken to giving him a squirt of the hosepipe. He is in two minds as to whether he should tolerate it or not, as can be seen by his 'happy' upright ears and the 'unhappy' gnashing of his teeth. Probably thinks it is an infringement of his space, me sending water into his patch. But he stands and lets the water run over him nevertheless. Hope it cheers him up now he is without company.
Hubs came up with the idea of putting the two piglet girls in with him to remedy this situation, but I was less that enthusiastic. They will start having seasons soon and they are only half grown but he would not take this into account and still feel the need to have a go having practised with Tess for nearly a year and he might get stuck and then there would be direness in the piggy camp.
Anyways, the piglets are fast outgrowing their small temporary paddock, but Hubs came up with the idea of letting them out into the sheep paddock during the day, when the sheep are over in the Side Field therefore leaving the paddock free. Good idea. Piglets romped over the grass, and rotovated the sheep's bedding thus helping the hens who also help out with this task.
And here's an oddness. To get the piglet girls used to us we need to train them to follow the bucket. Up to now they have been cute, but themselves. But when we went into the paddock one of the girls raced up to us and did nibbly things to the parts of us she could reach, as could be seen by the round piggy marks stamped on our legs and shorts made by the muddiness of her nose. And suddenly she had become one of us, part of the team. And it felt like Tess had transferred her spirit into that little piggy. Odd that..... And every time I think of Tess I 'see' an image in my head of her jumping up and racing toward me, as if she is well and happy.....
But now the sheep are out into the Home Field, so are in and out of their barn all the day long, which means the little piggies have to stay where they are. However, upon making a check on them yesterday, they were not to be seen. Oooohh deeeaaarrr! So where? Had a look in the Home Field. Sheep at the far end, looking like they were sheltering beneath the small oak tree. But no! They made a sudden dart to the right, shoulder to shoulder in a tight squash. Off they went. And to the left of them, hot on their heels, two reddish blobs trotting along behind. Ahha! So that's where they were, messing about with the sheep! Raced into the house to alert Hubs. Grabbed a bucket of maize. Out to the field. And there they were, those two on-an-adventure-but-now-needed-to-come-home piggy girls, heading towards us at a fast trot, the sheep having meanwhile galloped back to the barn. Oh but those little girls were pleased to see us! And didn't one of them glue her nose to my leg as she followed me through to their paddock, as if to say 'Don't leave me mum!', whilst the other one tried to get into the sheep's water trough which is an old Halfords box. She managed three legs but the last one couldn't squeeze in.
And so these adventuring girls remain within their small patch today, but we are very pleased to see that they regard us as 'parents' and that they will return to us when trouble is brewing, which also means that they should follow us when we move them about the farm in the future.
Meanwhile..... made a check on the bees. Queen cage down on the floor. Picked it up and repositioned it on a frame after first opening the sugar stash part so she could eventually get out. Not much progress has been made in the hive, but the weather for the best part of the week was not condusive for flight, and now it is frantically hot. They are really up against it. I feel troubled for them. But.....the ant community have resisted the urge to start a colony in the lid of the hive, put off by my liberal sprinkling of Quatre Epices. 'Cinnamon', the Internet said, is what you should use to deter ants in the hive, but didn't know the French word for cinnamon (it's 'cannelle' apparently), so used Mixed Spice, which I think the Quatre Epices is. Anyway, it worked! Ants: zero. AND the bees are flying with more purpose - instead of kind of falling out of the hive then flying off, they zoom straight out, intent to get to wherever it is they are going. They look more purposeful, so perhaps the queen has given them a boost.
The temperature is starting to rocket up again, so had better go and make a check on our outside team. Hope you are well, and I hope you have a lovely day.