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!! 😁

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!!

Fun on the farm!

The weekend before last James’ parents came down for the weekend, and stayed in the lovely B and B my parents enjoy!

We got a wealth of things done and now have a new outside light, electrically powered pointing out to where we park up when we arrive, expertly installed by James’ dad.

James and his dad also fixed the leaky tank in the hovel!! (See previous post)

Whilst this was going on James’ mum and I took a shovel and went off down the lane which had flooded and was a bit of fun to navigate after all the rain… On our wandering we had found the water pouring over the bank rather than down the pipe into the stream…..

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Not having wellies I couldn’t get close, James’ mum bravely waded in with the shovel accompanied by the Labrador Bella who was over the moon at having so much water to splash in!! She located the drain and managed to clear the leaves that were clogging it. The vortex in the water once the leaves were cleared was immense!!! Once the water went down a bit, I could get close and cleared the rest of the leaves by hand and we moved onto the drain on the other side of the road….

This one was also invisible and had to be dug for….. This time through rocks and silt from the hillside, which had been washed down… The owners of the top fields have been digging out and clearing the drainage ditches and I think this was just the run off from that. All the loose stuff being washed down due to the heavy rains we had had! So once the second drain was cleared the pipe was once again gushing water in the right place!! Bella was a little disappointed though that her splashing pool had gone!!

Mental note has now been made to find myself some decent fat calf wellington boots!!!

James’ mum and I also found some more interesting bits on our wanderings and we have found that the drain cleared earlier in the year….

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takes a good load of the run off from the hill out of the second stream!!!

Bella the Labrador was also pleased to find this water to splash in!!