Sunday, 30 August 2009

And the winner is.....

Today we left Rock HQ to attend a local show, a great opportunity to meet up with other farmers, smallholders and wannabes and compare notes. Firstly we met Champ's owners who started three years ago, same time as us, without previous experience and lucky enough to have sold a business to buy their smallholding outright. Champ here is a lovely Shire Horse who works their land in the traditional way. They also keep pigs and so we were able to discuss the rights and wrongs of modern farming and how tasty home grown bacon is. We didn't get her name but, please believe me, he was another Steve, really he was, and the guy who refurbished Champ's cart was also called Steve.
These two lovely dogs were taken straight from their farmyard and entered into the dog show. We thought it would be useful social experience, a small local show where no-one was taking it too seriously. What we discovered was that there is no such thing as a non serious dog show and some of the entrants had travelled from afar to bag rosettes and dog food samples. The first indication that its all a bit serious was as we parked alongside a couple from Birmingham who were in the process of putting up a tent to accommodate their five Cocker Spaniels, cages and mobile grooming parlour.

Dotty who had never been on a lead until today, seen children or hundreds of adults before coped very well with being prodded and poked by the Judge but steadfastly refused to walk the ring. She came a very creditable fourth and got her first rosette. The Judge told me after that I had a lovely Bernese, for Gods sake get her ring trained. OK.

Next to enter the arena was Rocky, her dad and pictured above psyching himself up for the competition hes on the left). Thankfully the Judge missed him slipping his lead and running away, when Tracey finally cornered the brute and dragged him back he did his circuit of the ring and came first, then fourth in the all comers arena. So we are very happy with them both and Rocky had a reward of a bowl of ice cream. Their rosettes are proudly pinned to the Bernese tapestry in our lounge.
On the way home we called in at the Stable Sprites smallholding. It looks a bit different to the last time we were there, basically he has been let loose with a small digger and cleared a vast area of trees, rocks and anything he hasn't liked the look of. The desolated site will be seeded with root crops for his pigs. Another of his sows had dropped a litter overnight. Here you can see one of the Berkshire sows having a snooze with her piglets at her tail. The larger piglet in one that is from the other sow and only three weeks old. They grow so fast!
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