Smallholding update!

Living the dream!!!

So many people say this to us!! And it always makes me laugh a little, yes in so very many ways we are living the dream, but I really don’t think a lot of people realise how much hard work the dream is!!

Take this week for example!!

All the rain and wind, meant slipped roof tiles and James braving the ladders to fix them, because water had started to come in through the ceiling in the boys room!!

We had a small electrical fire resulting in us losing our immersion heater…. no big deal we light the Esse for hot water mostly at this time of year! But more wood hauling…

More water around than ever it seems…. and for some strange reason multiple air locks in the water pipes of the house (seems to be a weekly occurrence requiring us to drain the system)

So we go puddle jumping to feed the animals and the pigs are happily digging themselves ponds!!

Rats!!!!! (And foxes!! We have lost 10 chickens this year to two fox attacks one where they clear chewed through the wiring of the cage!) but back to the rats, they have increased hugely this year and now as well as trapping the beasts we have to repair rat damage building the ducks a new home and repairing the floor of the chicken house, despite having “rat proof” feeders! We also have a nest in the workshop, so each time we go to get firewood we catch movement out the corner of our eyes and they are wily beasts avoiding the traps set or even bold enough to lick them clean without tripping them!!

And we have been working hard on the new build! James has painted the internals walls, the rear access ramp and front steps have been built by our wonderful builder!

And that’s before we even get started on the effects of Covid, isolations and lockdowns….

BUT would I swap this?? Would I go back to life before????

A million times no!!

Thank fully living here we have been (until this week) sheltered somewhat from Covid effects and having the land here means we have always had something to do and somewhere to go! The land allows us to get outside every day, to work, to look after our animals and to play.

We have the time and space to grow our own food and raise our own animals for eggs and meat and wool. So we know where our food comes from and how they have been raised and treated, which is important to us and waking round at this time of year both shows me how much we have done and how much more we have to do to put everything to bed for winter, then the willow harvesting can begin and I can put in more fedges, new plantings and try to soak up some of the water!!

We have some snippets of time to follow our own interests and this will hopefully increase as the years go by and things get more under control!!

Tomorrow we bring in the horses for winter and move the sheep into a more sheltered field for the winter, and maybe a bit more gardening or repairing…. today we eat a roast dinner from our own animals and our own veg and maybe I’ll steal some time to knit!!

And one day we will have field shelters, under control gardens and land, rat proof poultry pens, and a holiday let up and running!! So rather than living the dream more working towards or on the dream!! 😁

Day tripping!!

We originally made a pledge to go out and learn something new about our local area or visit somewhere each month…. well we missed a few, time got away from us, jobs came up, regular chores took over…. and oh yes we had a beautiful new baby!!

So we have made up for it recently with a few trips!! All disguised as plant or poultry sales!!!

A day trip to Aberaeron for the plant and craft show!!! Maybe I’ll be a stall holder next year!!

We came away with some lovely plants!! An acer, some heathers, and a few more bee friendly plants!!

An afternoon out to the smallholders boot sale and poultry sale just past Llandysul!! Where I tried to persuade James we need bunnies and ducks as pets for the boys!!! Starting him small!!! Maybe then I’ll move onto pestering for horses of our own!!!

Finally I took the boys to the Welsh Wildlife centre in Cilgerran to explore a little, have a picnic and Oo yes another plant sale!! So as I had gone solo…. no we have another fab collection of wildlife and bee friendly plants to add to the beds and banks!!

Three marvellous outings, lots of new plants meaning lots more work for us prior to getting them in!! And a few more ideas for what I want to get done around the place….

Willow maze anyone?!

Farm update

Soooo in lieu of a podcast which I may not have time to do or enough content for, for a few weeks…. here is the farm update for recent weeks!!!

Sooo…. back at the end of March on his due date we became a family of four when baby Mathew put in an appearance!!

All 7lb 15 of him and the birth itself went that well I should have been in and out in the one day…. but I decided tone dramatic and have a rather nasty PPH which saw me lose nigh on 3 pints of blood… so overnight obs… what a joy…. opposite the nursing station…. and at one point I’d just gotten the baby to sleep and in they came to do his obs…. ugh!!!

Anyway he is now a gorgeous chunky 11lbs!! (He didn’t have to wait for milk to come in as I still feed William) and he is four weeks old!!! Not sure how that has happened!!

Soooo we have had LOTS of visitations from family, but whilst the female portion of the family cooed over the small people and helped me to keep on top of washing and housework and William in the early days… the menfolk fought through the tiredness and….

Helped lambs in the barn…. being born…. putting them into separate quarters to bond with mums…. etc

Skinned the Polytunnel!!!

Hurrah!! On with the planting!!!

Moving and placing and cutting tractor tyres for the kiddos play area!! And planting potatoes we have had chitting for an age it seems!! Both in tubs and bags and out in a large potato bed James prepared!

Sorted the chickens who are now huge and ready for their new accommodations!! More about that another time!!

Made teeny fires to cook over!!

Then we as a group have been…..

Wrangling sheep to get them into the right field!! Te he!!!

Charging round the fields and feeding Wanda!

We’ve been to the botanical gardens for Welly Wednesday!!

We have tidied up the front garden and planted seeds both for flowers and for the Polytunnel !!

Plus we found a worm!! Fascinating!!!

And the other big news!!!

Young man turned TWO!!! I have a two year old!!!! More about how that feels in another post but look how happy he is with his digger!!

And I made my first attempt at icing a cake other than slapping a small bit of buttercream in or on!!

So busy times!!! Hopefully things are starting to settle…. and will improve further when we all kick this latest cold that has struck myself and the boys!! Ugh!!

Hope to at least write more soon and maybe I’ll squeeze in a podcast at some point!!

Mini digger hired!! Check!!

So James decided to hire a mini digger this week…. and has been out in it all day every day working hard to create better waterways, raised beds, scrape the barns, flatten play areas…. etc etc!! Busy times!!

Someone else rather liked the digger too!!! And very quickly figured out whilst sat on Daddy’s lap that two levers made it go forwards and backwards!! Therefore lurching it about whilst Daddy was digging!!

The barn circa 1960!!

So this was our old barn in an old aerial photo!!!!

The big Agri barns aren’t there, neither is the tin hut but there are lots of smaller barns and the land behind the barns is so much flatter looking, without the slurry pit and the spoil heaps which have sculpted themselves into our garden and yard areas!!!

And notice the extra porch part on the barn, an old engine house apparently for milking…. and the roof!!! It goes to the ground at the back!!!

Apparently not long after this shot the old farm house was levelled and rebuilt and the family who did that work lived in the hayloft of our barn for the duration of the work!!!

Our first proper snow on the smallholding!!

So yesterday we had a good dose of snow and it kept snowing throughout the day!!!

Little man was sooooo amazed and excited by the snow!! And not to mention the husbands excitement tee hee!!!

Plus the garden wildlife are loving the lardy seed cakes little man made them late last week!!! Lucky little tweeties are gradually finding where we have hung all the treats!!

26 books

Aka one book for reed two weeks of this year!!! Sooo before Cheeky was born I read a bit of a book every night without fail…. Since he was born I have not picked a book up….. So now that he is starting to sleep some more in his own cot not the cosleeper…. I’m going to try this challenge!! 

  
Here are some of the books that have made my potential list this year!!

   
    
    
   
 Some are in print some are on kindle!!! Admittedly some I’ve started previously and all bar Game of Thrones will be restarted, I’m on about book five of seven there…

I also have two Tara Swiger books to read, map your business and market yourself….

So far I have read The start up guide….To completion! So that could fall under female Author or book to improve an area of my life…. 

I’ve started to read Duane Elgins Voluntary Simplicity… So let’s see how I manage!! Baby… That thinks sleep is for the weak….. Returning to work… Sorting the smallholding… I think I can manage  a book every two weeks!!!

Glorious autumnal days

Recently Cheeky Chops and I have been out on lots of wanderings to enjoy the wonderful autumn sunshine we have had!

Lots of walks to and around the grounds of Tredegar House! We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep!!!

   
    
    
    
    
   
The farm hasn’t escaped the autumn glory either!!! The mists regularly wisp across the valley!