When we were looking for a smallholding, I wanted as much land as possible. When we moved here, initially we were pleased that we hadn’t got as much land as we’d originally set out to get. Now, 18 months later and feeling like we have lived here forever, we’re hoping to get more land at some point. That’s another story, but my point is, when we were looking for a place, we attended River Cottage Summer Fair where we met Tim Maddams. A lovely chap who we got on talking to about our hopes and dreams. He couldn’t believe the price differences in what we could buy in North East England, compared to “down South”. We too were shocked.
We also stayed at a working farm
for 2 nights, whilst we visited River Cottage and met a lovely family who we also got on talking to. It was calving season and as we stood watching a mother give birth to twins (which I didn’t even know cows could do) the farmer was telling us that it’s a lot harder to manage 4 acres than it is 40 acres.
We looked shocked and he said, ‘land management – it is all in the land management’. We need to make sure we rotate, rest, harrow etc etc as and when we can. It’s easier said than done, as we don’t have the tools that farmers do, so we make do and mend. (I rolled my field using the tyres on my fiesta for example!).
So part of what we have is the area knows as Chickenville. Not surprisingly, this has housed our chickens since we moved in. They’ve done a great jobs of killing the weeds and the floor is now just mud. So these chickens have now been given part of the little paddock.
Chickenville was a dense and dark area when we bought this place.
Little by little we have chopped the trees down and turned them into fire size pieces ready to keep us warm in the following year’s winter.
|This is double depth to the wall and one of Ste’s favourite places!
So back to my original point, of using your land wisely.
This is how Chickenville looks today. What a cracking space. Now the chickens are out using the little paddock, we’re wondering what we could use this space for. Time will tell, we’re not in a rush to make any mistakes.