Pigs away / Apple pressing / FestivalRSS feed

Posted: Monday 24 October, 2022

by Rosemary at 2:05pm in Smallholding 2 comments Comments closed

Friday 14th October

Set up the trailer for Sunday and the pigs going to the abattoir. Hopefully the hurdles will stop them breaking anything – or at least anything crucial.


TrailerProtected trailer.

Saturday 15th October

Pigs slept in the trailer last night. This is good. Future pig keeping us under review. Dan says he doesn’t want to do that trip to Shotts again. I’ll investigate other options after we return from holiday.

Sunday 16th October

Best start – pigs asleep in the trailer. We simply shut the doors and headed off. Then things went downhill a bit as the M90 was closed and we were diverted through Edinburgh, adding half an hour to our journey. Some modifications have been made at Shotts that made unloading easier, and the pigs were very obliging. Left them with fresh water, a bucket of feed and a bucket of apples.

Monday 17th October

All three pigs were over 100 kg – 105kg, 109kg and 111kg. Our new butcher has suggested we could send them to Wishaw via Billy Walker, a local haulier. He takes pigs every fortnight. Worth considering, I think.

Tuesday 18th October

With the pigs gone, I let the cattle though into the pig pen and the two little paddocks next to it. I don’t think they have left them for 72 hours – not even for a drink. Loads of grass, other herbage and trees to browse. Cattle shed is lovely and clean.

cattleFresh grass.

Wednesday 19th

Kate, Mike and Astrid came down for an apple pressing practice session, ready for Saturday. Dan is Astrid’s hero.

AstridDan and his little helper.

Thursday 20th

Final preparations for the Festival today. Getting a bit nervous now.

Friday 21st

Festival set up today. I drove up to Forfar at 1pm, Dan followed a bit later with the apple pressing equipment, after he finished work. By that time, it was a bit of a pea souper. Home about 8pm, through the fog, pretty much ready to go tomorrow apart from catching and loading Rora. I did hope they’d be in the shed last thing – I’d just have shut the in for the night. Hopefully they’ll be in at 6am – her pen is all ready for her.

Saturday 22nd

Up at 6am, no cows in. In the furthest corner of the furthest paddock. Although disappointed, we decided we didn’t have time to get them in, sorted and loaded. Instead, we moved the banner and leaflets to be beside Dan’s stand – and he had several conversations with folk who were interested. Possibly more productive than a cow in a pen without a person to speak with? We plan to repeat this option next year but with upgrades to the Shetland cattle stand. Dan’s definitely keen to do the apple pressing again.

appletalkDan doing his apple talk.

If we had taken Rora, it would have been hard going coming home. Dan would have had to bring Rora home, clean out the trailer then go back for the apple pressing stuff, then wash that.

Sunday 23rd

We’re knackered. So tired, physically, but mentally buzzing. I was up at 5am writing notes for the wash up meeting on Wednesday. I tidied out the boxes, ready for next year lol. The 2023 schedule is in final draft. Spent a couple of hours catching up on emails I pended last week. More to do tomorrow - publishing results, photos and press releases. The wash up meeting of Wednesday should wind it up for this year.



Tuesday 25 October, 2022 at 9:27am

Friend of ours makes cider, but before pressing the apples he puts them through an old electric garden shredder. Probably too messy and noisy for demonstration purposes, but it does make for easier pressing he says.


Friday 11 November, 2022 at 9:45am

We've got one of these Chris, a worthwhile investment for the number of apples we produce: https://vigopresses.co.uk/speidel-apple-mill/

I used to crush them manually, trying various techniques, but it's such hard work and results in a much poorer yield.

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