So what do you think, not bad? I made it for Debbie as her Christmas present. The bowl and the stand are made from oak which I turned on a lathe, and the middle bit, the stem, I hand carved from lime using a Stanley knife. It’s meant to represent the fact that we work so hard for the pigs, looking after them, feeding, watering, worrying about them, that this is one pig that is working for Debbie by holding up her drink.
I’ve only ever carved spoons and bowls and eggcups and things before, nothing as intricate as this. I’m really pleased with the result, even if it does look a little like a fat mouse!
So Christmas is done. Survived. Actually I like Christmas, it’s just that for a smallholder, it can, if you’re not careful, drift into being just like any other day. You do the morning rounds of letting out the dogs, chickens, and geese (very lucky geese, considering!), and ducks. Do a quick feed around of the pigs, check water, cast an eye over the horses and sheep and bomb back for breakfast.
I’d love to say that we all had fresh farm eggs for breakfast on Christmas morning, but out of well over fifty assorted poultry, not one of the buggers bothered to lay. I think it’s too cold for them, that or they wanted Christmas off.
Instead I munched toast while finishing off decorating the tree. We had sworn to ourselves that we would not be decorating the tree on Christmas morning again, that we would be better organised, and in truth we were, but we were still out delivering the last of the local orders for turkey, gammons, sausages and smoked ham (made the most amazing smoked ham this year. Hot smoked it over a low heat in oak wood smoke for nine hours, and it was dark and rich with a gorgeous smoky flavour).
Then we drew the turkey – doesn’t everyone spend their Christmas morning with their hand up a turkey’s bottom?
I tried to be even faster doing the evening rounds, but the horses decided to escape – something they have never done before – and pushed a hurdle to one side and walked out into the next field with all the sheep close behind.
The sheep just ate, but the horses were really funny because they knew they were being naughty and weren’t quite sure what to do after their great escape, so they found some humans and went and hung out next to them. I’m not sure the humans were as delighted as the horses in this arrangement, but luckily they did called us and I went over with a bucket of feed and walked the animals back, narrowly avoiding getting caught in the middle of a war between both horses and the stupid sheep who all thought it would be a good idea if they tried to trip me up so they could get at the feed before we made it to the correct field. With a little yelling, some swearing and use of a very stern pointy finger, I managed to get them back.
Then, charge home on the quad bike at light speed, finish off dinner, eat, and yes, I confess, fall asleep on the sofa by nine thirty. Another Christmas done.