Baa baa moo moo quack quack oink oink, etc.
On the not entirely unrelated matter of organics, we keep a growing number of animals down here on the land. Some visitors have been heard to mutter, "God, it's a bloody zoo here!" There is a very sound reason for that. Apart from the fact that we just like animals. Mike Wing, our viticulturist and organics enthusiast, is adamant that cow -- er -- shit is essential to the composition of the various composts as well as organic and biodynamic preparations we apply to our vineyard soils. We believe him.
We have long kept a flock of about forty blackfaced Suffolk sheep to this end. For the five months or so when the vines are dormant, the sheep are circulated around the vineyards, dealing to weeds and simultaneously adding their own compost material to the soil. Poo in short. Good stuff. But in the last few years we have upped the ante and added cattle to the organic mix. At last count we have one bull (White Galloway) and nine others (small Belted Galloways, miniature Highland Cattle and a couple of mixed breeds). These are not only producing highly energized soil mix, but also deal to some of our rougher country, not under vines.
Added to this we are big on poultry -- usually about 20 or 30 chickens, and half a dozen ducks. We had four guinea fowl, but predators dealt to them after a couple of years. All our chooks and other fowl are as free range as they please, which leaves them a tad vulnerable to hawks and the odd ferret. (We try to keep the preditors down as much as we can.) Although well housed, most of the hens tend to prefer roosting up trees at night. Only a smart operator knows where they nest, so finding our organic eggs are more an Easter-type hunt than anything else. Small children come in useful here. One of our white ducks is very friendly, with the The Proprietor at least, and likes to swim along with him as he does laps around the big dam.
Pigs have become part of our lives too. It began with the weirdly named Angelica -- weird because Angelica is a bloke. And a father too, of at least two bunches of piglets. He is a very friendly chap. Now we have a star in one Imogen Poots, a Saddleback Sow of unusual fecundity -- she is now on her second litter of piglets, and thinking about a third. As pigs go she is not terribly agreeable. But then again, she is a very protective mother. So ... fair enough. The Prop has real fears of being tipped over a fence one day. She is about 400 pounds and very fast and fierce. On more than one occasion the Prop has had to run for his life.
Sale of Liquor License Ref: OF129
Licence No. 67/OFF/30/2022
Expires 24th August 2025