Winter in the polytunnel

Winter in the poly tunnel should be a time of leaves and carefully staggered late crops of things but mine looks a bit like the half price sale at a garden centre that’s going out of business. We’ve been so very busy lately that we haven’t been able to find the time to get some […]

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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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Once you cluck, you can’t stop: new hens!

Keeping chickens has been something of a revelation. Who knew how seamlessly they’d fit into our lives? But now, a little under a year since we got our poor first brood, they’re just a happy part of our daily existence. Last year a survey showed that hens were the sixth most popular pet kept in […]

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Saving tonnes of tomatoes

Back when the raised beds were first finished in our kitchen garden, I was at once utterly thrilled that they were ready and also a bit panicked that it was too late to really sow any summer vegetables. So it was in a rather lazy frame of mind that I decided on the spur of […]

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The Hen Hatch (Patent pending)

Our chickens in our original brood used to free range widely around a couple of paddocks. When we got our new hens after the poor first lot got snaffled by a bloodthirsty fox (henceforth known as Land Pike), we decided to take the opportunity to give them an upgrade in accommodation. Enter a new hen […]

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Harvest: so much more land, so much less veg

The thought occurs that although we’ve had serious amounts of eggs from our hens so far this year, we haven’t had a single vegetable or fruit. Well, we have had fruit technically I suppose, in that we planted fruit trees and I harvested tiny fruits to stop them developing but obviously tiny immature apples etc […]

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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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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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