The non-AI version of: we're starting a smallholding
1. Country Living
I've always loved being outdoors, despite living most of my life in a town. As a child I was fascinated by the cows who lived in the field behind our house. I still remember one whose markings looked by a number 8 on its left side. The night they broke through a fence and we were out in wellies and dressing gowns trying to round them up was one to remember.
I worked on a farm in my early teens. I delivered milk and then collected the eggs. These were battery hens. The noise was mega. I used to sing very loud to counteract it. I came home every day covered in black ticks and with a tray of eggs that wouldn't make it to the shop.
I fell in love with a group of young cows one week on holiday in Wormhill. By the end of that week, they would come over when they saw me. I thought it was miraculous and I was some sort of cow whisperer.
When we moved to Derbyshire 2.5 years ago, cows were top of my wishlist. To see them, to visit them, to spend time with them. I ticked all the boxes.
2. Pie in the Sky
Having some sort of farm or smallholding was a pipe dream. I had no experience (I still don't). But, the longer we've been here, the more possible it has become. Friendly farmers have involved us in lambing and shearing, or invited me to their farm. I've learned that this yen of mine to be self-sufficient, to have some animals of my own is not so pie in the sky - others have done it.
3. It's Never Too Late
I've always been one for madcap schemes. For doing stuff that others probably wouldn't contemplate. For following the path less travelled.
4. Smallholding for Beginners
There are courses! I've signed up for one in August and have my eye on another when they release new dates. I've bought 3 Haynes manuals about sheep, chickens and smallholdings. I'm going to be getting hands on with sheep, cows, chickens, goats as well as learning about the ins and outs of being a farmer.
5. Looking for Land
We looked at a 4.5 acre field but it was really impractical. Ideally, we need to rent somewhere smaller where we can start with some hens and build from there. Wherever we end up, we're on our way!