Sheepy smallholders

Given that we’ve spent over half a year starting to mould our land and getting chickens established, it might sound strange if I say that I only really started to feel like a smallholder a week ago when our lovely sheep arrived. IMG_0736We’d been looking for sheep for some time; we even went to a county show looking for breeders but one of the problems with being a hobby farmer is that people are reluctant to take you seriously. But our friendly local farmer agreed to sell us four store lambs and last week they finally arrived. She brought them down and thankfully was very patient as she explained how the DEFRA paperwork worked and sprayed them all with an odd blue pest liquid. Our meat won’t be organic, but it will be very free range. DSCF3831They’re still quite young, and we’ll finish them before Christmas, but until then I can’t tell you how lovely it is to have sheep wandering about the place baaing and winding the dog up (she’s utterly baffled as to what they might be and alternates between woofing at them and trying to get them to play). We deliberately haven’t named them so that we won’t feel rude about eating them but they’re quite charming. Whenever I’ve been in the kitchen garden they come and stand at the fence and go “maa” at me. They are also getting on really well with the chickens, so much so that the sheep today decided to squeeze themselves through the Hen Hatch to get to the chicken pellets. They’re quite entertaining to watch and thankfully they’re keeping the grass in the paddocks down. It’s strange to feel that you’re defined by sheep but somehow they’ve suddenly made us smallholders. We have livestock! Actually they’ve really woken us up in more ways than one. We had a fence erected around the orchard to keep them away from our new little fruit trees and forgot to close the gate so they got in to nibble our peach trees, but hopefully we’ll remember to be stricter in future! Now to buy a chest freezer…

Orchard fence right at the end of sheep paddock

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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