Saturday, 23 January 2010

Piglet Pics

Here are a few more photos of the new arrivals as promised. Sadly one died overnight but the rest seem to be doing well as far as we can tell. Mum looks content and is letting them suckle.

And The Final Count Is....

Wooooo we have 9 piglets, all doing well and busy having a feed from their mum Charlotte. It's been like having a second Christmas and Charlotte was fantastic throughout. She didn't seem to mind us being there and is now spending time getting to know her babies.

Watching them being born was wonderful and very uplifting and I'm so glad she allowed us to be there. We're all tired now and in need of a stiff drink (not the pigs of course!) so I'll post some photos of the new arrivals tomorrow.

Good night or leka nosht as they say here in Bulgaria.

Yay They're Here!

After waiting for the last 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (plus an extra week cos we had dates mixed up) we have up to now 6 healthy piglets and Charlotte is still in labour.

All seems to be going well and the piglets are coming along at about 10 minute intervals now. It's so exciting! We missed the first one being born by a minute or so but have been there for the rest.

Here's a photo of the first 4, they're in a box in the house to dry off and warm up and will go back to mum as soon as she's finished giving birth. It's really cold tonight and we've followed the advice of our friend who has bred lots of pigs over many years.

Quick update.......piglet number 8 just made it's way into the world!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Latest News

Charlotte our lovely pig has now got milk so hopefully the piglets won't be long in coming! We've so been looking forward to this and have the camera ready to capture the new arrivals.

The downside is that it's snowing like hell outside and still well below freezing - best get my thermals on and over trousers as we could be in for a long night! There's plenty of rakia here for a hot toddy if needed too.

We're on half hourly pig watch now and I'll try and keep things updated if possible.

Still no Piglets

We're still waiting for the piglets to be born and it's seems like we've been waiting forever now! Everything is ready, Charlotte is still happy and eating well, the camera battery is charged and the local pig man has taken up residence in our living room again lol

I've been down to the local cafe this morning the same as every friday but there was no weekly market due to the weather. Our front door is frozen on the inside and temperatures her have dropped down to around minus 8 during the day and it was minus 12 last night. The forecast for the next week isn't good with some areas of Bulgaria getting as low as minus 25 degrees celcius!

It's quite worrying that our first litter of piglets are going to be born in this cold and I'd be interested in how other people cope with things like this....I guess I'll have to trawl the internet today and try to find some answers.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Hooray for the Sun

The sunshine here today is wonderful making everything sparkle and hopefully hinting that warmer weather is on it's way. I guess that the weather is a well conversed topic around the world but it really can make or spoil a person's day. There's something to be said for SAD as it affects many people.

Charlotte is still doing well and not showing any signs of labour yet but we're continuing with our "Pigwatch" until the piglets arrive and are doing well. If you had asked me 5 years ago where I thought I'd be now there's no way I would've replied "Living in rural Bulgaria on a small holding and raising animals", 5 years ago I was plodding along, working part time in a hotel and living in an ex-council house with a small garden, going about daily life as many others do.

Would I go back to that life? No thanks, although I had no major worries at the time I really do think life her is a big improvement, not that it's perfect or ever will be. There's still the same bills to pay - minus mortgage or rent, kids to take care of and housework to do. But I'm happy, healthier and have a much better outlook on life in general.

The big question is where will we be 5 years from now?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Over My Wellies

The snow is now over the tops of my wellies and still big flakes of it are falling. The animals are getting bored being stuck inside (apart from the donkey who hates snow) and even when they have access to outside space are preferring to stay in the doorway. The photo is of my son, yesterday, not looking too impressed about his mum sending him outside for so she could take a piccie!

One of the horses is taking it particularly bad and has become more grumpy than usual but won't stay outside, the other mare though is quite happy munching away and watching the activities in the yard. When they do eventually get to go out properly again there'll be some high jinks and letting off steam...let's just hope that I'm not on the other end of a rope when they decide to do it!

Horses here are quite different from the UK. They're bred to work for one thing and can be quite fearful of people, that can make them defensive and in some have aggressive tendencies. Our bay mare, Maya can be very defensive but has learned to trust us, she won't have strangers near her though and instantly starts to pull faces, ears back and teeth bared. The first day she arrived she kicked hubby but luckily she's not hurt any of us since. The palomino mare, Milka, can be very sweet and doesn't seem to be aggressive but can get quite hyper at times....a real dizzy blonde!

Hopefully the weather will let up soon and they can go out and graze. Even the turkeys don't want to be outside and they are remarkably stupid creatures! Still at least it means that we, the humans, can also stay inside for best part of the day and keep warm.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Things That go Bump in the Night

It's started again, those small noises only heard during the night that stop when you move or make sound. One minute everything is quiet, then the scratching and scrabbling starts!

We've got rodents again.....and can't find where they are getting into the house and that's annoying me. I know that living in a rural area and keeping livestock means that there will be rodents around and they will come into the house especially in winter. The Bulgarians laugh about it and tell us not to worry, the rodents will move out again in spring!

This time I don't think we'll use poison, although it works well there's no guarantee we'll be able to find the bodies easily and the smell is awful if they're not moved quickly! so it's back to traps let's hope we can catch them quickly and be rodent free again....for a while!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Snow Again

For the last couple of days it has been trying to snow again. Temperatures have dropped to just on freezing during the day and this morning we woke to find a good layer of snow on the ground and no signs of it stopping yet. So it's back to that winter wonderland.

At times like this we light the woodburner, make sure the animals are fed and watered and relax. We don't make unnecessary trips out of the village and are happy to watch tv, read or surf the internet to pass the time. Winter really isn't that long here, or it never seems so and it will soon be spring and time to start working the garden again.

I love spring time, and look forward to seeing the new born lambs bounding about and being able to spend more time outside. I'm itching to start planting seeds but am hanging on until the weather is a little more predictable otherwise I'll end up with a load of leggy seedlings that are stuck in pots for too long.

The plants I brought inside for the winter are mostly doing well, although I have lost one or two. The geraniums that I butchered to make lots of cuttings are going great guns, the avocado plant looks well and is getting much taller and I've a few houseplants that will need repotting once spring does arrive. Hopefully this year I can have a decent flower garden as I have lots of saved seeds and a better idea of what thrives and what doesn't.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A Small Glitch!

Well we're still waiting for the piglets to arrive, our neighbour and friend has almost taken up residence here and was getting worried that they hadn't been born yet. That was until we decided to go back through the calendar and make sure that the dates were correct!

When the pig went to visit her boyfriend none of us remembered to write it down for future reference and when our friend said that her due date would be the 15th January we thought that since he's been breeding pigs for years then that must be right. None of us worked it out for ourselves stupidly! Now pigs are pregnant for 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days or to be more scientific 114 days. And after going back through months of my ramblings on Facebook we found the date she'd been to be mated was the 1st October. Quick check on calendar by us all reveals that poor Charlotte has another few days to go and we were out by a week!

Can you believe it? 2 sleepless nights for nothing, and the poor pig has been woken up every hour for days by us prodding, checking her teats and looking for signs that labour was starting! Fools. The best thing is that we get to do it all again in a few days lol. Best go get some sleep in now while I can!