Just because the pigs are gone doesn’t mean the work is done. In fact, it has now picked up (literally) in pace.
The area given to the pigs was over grown with rushes and hard to access with machinery. When they were wee, the area was a smaller patch, as they dug it up, the area was extended (leave pigs on ground too long and you have problems with soil compaction). Now that they have had five months of rooting, munching, and digging, it’s now time for the stones to be removed and the soil levelled to allow grass seed to be planted before winter.
Now, normally, picking a bucket of stones a day was a better way of tackling the issue rather than procrastinating and leaving it till the pigs are away. However, the pigs have coincided with the Micro-Crofter’s pregnancy. Which, regardless of how much I willed to be out working, I spent many a days flat on a sofa wishing the ground would swallow me whole. Yes, I will not lie, not everyone thinking pregnancy is blooming marvellous.
So, now that I am feeling better, the stone collecting has commenced. Nae worries, I’m not picking up the heavy ones, and there lies a problem in itself; no heavy lifting. What is ‘heavy’? Well, 25kg feed bags are difficult to heave short distances. 20kg bags (such as chicken feed) are usually fine (OK, not taking it up a munro or running a marathon but in the usual distance needed to move them around the croft). This is probably the point that I should ask all midwives to ignore this post and put a disclaimer on: you lift, your choice). Last pregnancy I lifted the cow’s ring feeder at 5 months, better keep up with this one.
The process is simple. Small stones are collected into the bucket before being tipped into wheelbarrows at the fence, ready to go back fill a drain pipe in the orchard. Hanging on to a lawn mower from going into a ditch is more straining than rock picking, honest. However, if anyone does do rock collecting, feel free to stop by, all stones are free for uplift.