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!! 😁

What’s doing??

We have been busy as bees round the holding still, but since the start of lockdown in March we have not had any significant rainfall!!! 10 weeks!!

Things are tinder dry outside…. we are having to regularly water everywhere and currently just the other side of our nearest village there is a forestry and field fire that the forestry services and a helicopter have been battling since Sunday evening…

Thankfully there is some rain forecast tonight and for at least the morning tomorrow! The earth here will give a sigh of relief I expect when it starts to fall!!

In the meantime here a few snapshots of the past few weeks here! New fencing, shearing, turning out the horses, new chicks, new play stuff for the boys, elderflowers and a lot more!!

A few updates!!

Things are starting to grow in the Polytunnel and the fruit cage has a heap of green strawberries!!

James has built the majority of the first long raised beds!! Just awaiting delivery of the blocks for the rest of this bed and the second now!! But we could wait and started to plant!!! Beans this end…. ran out of canes but had a heap of branches!!! So for now we use those!!! Broccoli, cauliflower (any suggestions for deterring cabbage whites gratefully received!!) celeriac, some pumpkins and courgette so far!!!

The hay meadows are looking glorious following the spell of hot weather we have had!

The hedgerows are growing amazingly now!! Fingers crossed that they’ll now be a bit more Wanda proof!!! But I’ll still check on her each day to make sure!!!

We have had some seeds sent from the seed share project from @croydongardener on Instagram!! Some really unusual squashes etc all heirlooms too!! Can’t wait to get those planted!!

Last week was half term so my sister and the children came to visit. They enjoyed meeting the tenants in the field currently!! Such beautiful little foals and their gorgeous mamas!!

They had fun building some of their own toys for bits from the barn and building dens!!

My niece turned ten also so I made a cake and she helped me ice it!!! Mmmmm chocolate orange cake!!! Yum!!!

I cant remember whether I included the bee hive in the last update or not but James has built a bee hive and we are now awaiting our first bees once he has it sited!! So exciting!!! We shall have our own honey next year!!!’

Lots of things happen here each week it seems…. time flies and it won’t be long before we will be looking to get our hay cut and baled up!!

Sheepy shenanigans

So…. back in February a Beulah speckled face sheep appeared on our yard…. we tried everything to find its owner, contacted ALL the agencies had animal health out, and the animal health lady checked her databases for us to try to trace the owner…. no avail… so we advertised on the gate post…. and fourteen days later she became ours…..

So we have a Wanda!!

Now Wanda is an amazing escapologist…. she has tested all and I mean ALL of our boundaries…. shown us EVERY possible spot that is even the slightest bit weak and gappy!!!

So we have had MANY trips to other fields coaxing her back with the bucket into the field we want her in and also trips further afield to neighbours’s land and the lane and the walking path to the next village even!!!!

We have used bit of baling twine, logs, old posts, brash, bits of old gates, everything to try and keep her in the one field…..

Then a neighbour struck on a fabulous idea…. poor beast is in need of a friend… ah ha!!! She only started to try and escape once the rental sheep went home…. so the neighbours gave us Baabara!!

And a few days later!!! And a little more baking twine and brash… (she had one last hoorah into the next door field thankfully of ours!!) Wanda and Baabara are happily in the one field!!

With their neighbours…. the rental ponies and their utterly gorgeous foals!!!

Views from the fields!

Last weekend we went to the smallholding again on a Friday after work and decided that the first thing we should do is walk the dogs to wear them out!! I took my camera and took a few shots of the fields!

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It’s one of those views that you just have to give a big relaxing sigh!!