Building a smallholding

I’m becoming increasingly impatient about this smallholding lark. We have the property, why don’t we have the immediate self-sufficient homestead? The answer, of course, is that this is a significantly larger project than either of us thought. We’ve lived here for over six months now and we’re not even close to having it running as […]

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Round two: keeping chickens for beginners

“Watch out for Doris” warned the friendly chap showing us around the chicken smallholding at Suzie Baldwin’s Happy Healthy Hens in Hampshire. Alarmed, I pulled out oldest son (who had his hand outstretched to pet the turkey bustling around after us) away. “Why, will she peck him?” I asked. ” Oh no” He replied in a […]

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Watering worries: garden irrigation

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink (if you’re the trees in our orchard) because frankly I’m getting tired of having to haul entire bins full of water up a steep hill to water in excess of 30 trees, 120 raspberry canes and 20+bushes. I’m fed up. It’s back-breaking. And this leads me to […]

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Tree-mendous change is afoot

I’ve written before about becoming obsessed by our little orchard and how it’s progressing, and I wonder if everyone peers at every new bud with this much enthusiasm. It’s beginning to feel a bit like vanity actually, the way in which I march every visitor up to our orchard and point them at the trees, […]

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Fort fox(proof): building a luxury chicken enclosure

After the shock of finding that the chickens had all been taken by a fox last week, we decided to fortify the new poultry enclosure somewhat. It used to be a composting area behind our barn and was utterly overgrown with weeds that were literally above waist height. The irony of our loss is that […]

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The fox got our chickens

Death came to the farm last night proving that nature is indeed red in tooth and claw in the form of some mangy, vicious foxes. We were appalled to find that all six of our chickens were slaughtered last night. We found two, headless but otherwise whole, and some entrails by our fence. The other […]

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Unusual garden pests: the dog

Canine-human relations are decidedly strained at the moment. Not content with pulling up and eating multiple raspberry canes, a cranberry, umpteen blackberry plants and a whole apricot sapling, the hound has embarked upon a campaign designed to destroy our new long flowerbed before it is even planted. We are slowly accumulating the plants for said […]

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