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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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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How to cheat at gardening

When we bought our much-beloved smallholding, we had great plans for the garden. I’d loved my tiny London patio beyond measure, or so I thought until I arrived here. One of the things I was really keen to do as soon as possible was to prettify the formal garden with flower border in a country […]

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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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