September is here and change is in the air

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Is anyone else feeling that Autumn has been in a bit of a hurry this year? The end of the Summer seems to have occurred rather abruptly with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather pushing their way through August with much haste and determination. I have so enjoyed the long, hot days of Summer, a “proper Summer” of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the patio for weeks, with glorious sunshine to help us feel well from the increased amounts of vitamin D being absorbed through our skin, where our water butts ran dry a couple of times (even in ...

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A broody hen

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Last week, I noticed that our mother hen, Betty, was behaving oddly. She spent a lot of time preening herself and was scratching in places where there was nothing to scratch... she was also spending an increasing amount of time in the coop when she laid her egg each day. She appeared distracted, a bit giddy and "on edge". Then, one morning, I found her in the coop, all spread out on what looked like a nest and in a sort of trance! I knew then that she was broody. I read up all sorts of information about it and ...

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Goodbye, little Chalkie

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My last blog entry two weeks ago ended with the joys of new lambs bringing playful energy onto the smallholding. Sadly, this post is about the sudden death of one of them.

Twin brothers Charlie and Chalkie, as we settled to call them, were coming up to three weeks old, playing in the field happily and with bounds of energy. Both seemed to be growing well and loved to jump on the hay bale we had put in the field for them. They were becoming increasingly inquisitive, always together and learning to nibble on grass whilst spending more and more ...

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A very chilly St David's Day!

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Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David's Day! The only daffodils around are those bought at the market last week and now in the vase on the dining table. They brighten the house with their vibrant colour and scent. The ones growing outside are a few weeks off yet - and may have suffered a setback with this week's snow, freezing temperatures and wind aka The Beast from the East and Storm Emma!

With extreme weather, life on the smallholding becomes stressful because it is tough to keep basic needs met. It's a struggle to keep sheep and ...

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Snowed in!

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After a weekend of heavy snow fall, we are snowed in! Peter stayed at home today as there was no way he would attempt to drive down the hill to work. Getting out of our drive alone would have been a challenge with 18 cm of snow and a fair amount of ice too!

Once the sheep were fed with plenty of fresh bedding in their shelters and hay in the racks and once we had broken the ice off the drinkers and water troughs, we enjoyed walks to take photos. Especially today as the sun was out and the ...

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A (not so gentle) introduction to hen keeping

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Two weeks ago, we purchased four hens and their coop. Their keeper, from just over the hill from us, was moving away into rented accommodation and could not take them with them. We collected the coop first and got it ready for the hens. Betty, a Splash Maran, and her brood (a Light Sussex, a Speckledy and a Blubell) arrived in cardboard boxes at night time and we transferred them into their own coop but at their new location at ours. They made a little fuss but quickly settled in for the night.

The next morning, I let them out ...

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A milestone in our smallholding life

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This week sees us reach an important milestone in our smallholding life, an event that we have seen coming and been preparing for for the last five months. On Monday, we took the concept of "homegrown" to a new level by taking two of our lambs to the abattoir.

It was very hard and, if I am honest with myself, I am not completely at peace with doing it. I feel conflicted as I wrestle with the ethics of it... is it right for an animal to be born and then slaughtered for meat a few months later? It feels ...

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Sheep

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Three months to the day since we moved here, we took our smallholding - and ourselves - through to a new phase: we have six sheep of our own. It is lovely to see them from the house; they bring new life and energy to our place.

They are Welsh Mountain ewes and we got them from a farm high up in the hills near Newtown who advertised them on a local Facebook group! How modern is that? It was good to see where they had come from and meet the farmer, a more personal approach to buying sheep than going down ...

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