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The Ying and the Yang of the Christmas Pig

There are so many cliches and proverbs aimed at describing polar opposite feelings, emotions and occurances which taken together make a beautiful whole. Ying and Yang, Swings and Roundabouts, Rough with the Smooth - the list goes on. Well, I'd like to add another one. The Christmas Pig. Yep the Christmas Pig really does sum up the Ying and the Yang. On the one hand it is when our little enterprise hits its stride and gives more satisfaction than at any other time of year. On the other hand though it is pig rearing at its most difficult. And the cause of this conflict? It really is the difference between the pig on the plate and the pig in the field. The Ying - The Pig In The Field Gone are the hazy, sun drenched evening trips up to the pigs with buckets of food and water. Gone is the ever eager to learn 7-year-old companion so happy to lend a helping hand and talk all things pigs while the sun is shining. Gone are the bright dawns with feeding and work on the paddocks accompanied by the ever present dawn chorus. Gone are the dry paddocks and the need to create pools of water with hose pipes to watch the pigs wallow and play in their water. In their place is darkness, mud and solitude. Yep winter pig keeping really isn't the high point of this passion of our's. Pigs love their new found acres of mud. I don't. Headtorches replace sunglasses, waterproofs replace shorts and t-shirts, wellies replace the Converse and general grumpiness replaces the good humour of pig keeping so over present at any other time of year. Moan, moan, moan. The Yang - The Pig On The Plate But my God the food! This is the time of the year when the pig rules the kitchens and dining rooms of our Christmas homes. Sure, most people think of Turkey and Goose as the meat of the season. But imagine either bird without its critical supporting cast of pork - the stuffing, the chipolatas, the pigs wrapped in blankets. Imagine Christmas Eve or Boxing Day without the swagger of a whole Ham sitting proud on the festive table. Imagine a cheese and cold cut board without a slicing sausage or a pork pie. No, I will not imagine such horror. Yes at this time of year if the pig were still alive it would be singing in the kitchen. This is its time and in the kitchen my favourite time of year as a pig keeper. I love November evenings preparing legs of pork and placing them in their cure to create beautiful hams. I love stuffing sausages to air dry and become festive salamis. I love the hub-bub of Christmas sales and the excitement of those buying their Christmas pig treats from us - even if in this very strange year such activity is entirely on-line. This is pig keeping at its most satisfying. Together this is the Ying and the Yang of the Christmas Pig. And I wouldn't change any of it for the world. Except maybe a little less rain......

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