Slaughtering livestock at home: our first sheep are killed

Yesterday I watched as our four store lambs were slaughtered and went from bouncy vivacious sheep to hung and carved carcasses. It had a greater impact on me that I could possibly have imagined and so I wanted to write about it. When we moved from London to the countryside and decided to keep animals […]

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Winter in the kitchen garden: planting a future

The arrival of winter should surely herald hedgehog-like behaviour in all of us. We no longer shuttle too and fro from the kitchen garden to the house laden with gluts that we don’t know how to process fast enough, but rather wish to laze by the fire with a good book. Most flowers fade and […]

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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. We’d been looking for sheep for some time; we even went to a […]

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Catching up with the chickens

Getting chickens was probably one of the least demanding things we’ve done since becoming smallholders. It seemed like. huge endeavour when we actually went to get our first flock, but it takes practically no effort to run a chicken. As long as they’re fed and watered and have a little house to snuggle up in […]

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Deforestation on a tiny scale

Watching trees being felled makes me very uncomfortable. Not so my oldest son, for whom the sight of chaps in high vis vests skimming 20 feet into the air to whizz about with chainsaws is second only to the circus, but I really dislike it. We recently felled a number of trees from our new […]

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Planning (more) fruit futures

The weather is dank and dark, the heating still isn’t working and the dog refuses to recall but I find I drift easily away from all of these petty everyday issues when I think of summer and the bumper soft fruit crops I hope we’re going to get. I’ve become increasingly irritated by supermarket soft […]

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We are determined to DIY (or DIO!)

We’re facing a massive project here with our smallholding. We’d eventually like to be self-sufficient in most fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as cut flowers and so at the moment we’ve got a lot of big “one-off” tasks. Planting the orchard with our 32 trees was obviously one of them, and creating a […]

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