Bellowing Dexter gets the sack

At first we thought it was just a phase – perhaps our large Dexter steer was bellowing because he missed his old farm, give it a few weeks and he’d settle in. Earplugs at the ready we did our best to rise above the noise and avoid eye contact with our nearest neighbours. Time passed […]

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Dexters join the smallholding

We’ve long debated adding cows to the species list here so we booked a visit to Andrew Tuck’s farm in Tetbury for a discussion about what’s involved. There we met lots of charming cattle – from the gorgeous Brown Swiss to tiger-striped Hereford crosses. However, Dexters seemed like the obvious choice as we only have […]

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The hungry gap: unless you’re a bee. Or a fox.

The sun is out and the field is full of lush green grass – things have never felt more fertile and productive. In self-sufficiency terms however, things have seldom been less busy. The vegetable patch is miles behind compared with previous years and apart from a few strawberries and the occasional egg (thanks hens) we’re […]

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Back to the blog

Sometimes living the rural dream is a full-time job (or so I like to claim) – and writing about it feels like just another item on the to-do list that can be put off until tomorrow. When there are animals to be fed, moved, cleaned out, butchered and cooked, logs to be chopped and stacked, […]

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Who’s left on the farm?

One little piggy might be in the freezer but we still have these two, enjoying a break from the mud in the garage. The sheep are happy in their field, and getting used to a little bit of food in the morning as part of my taming procedure. Today I’m taking a fecal sample to […]

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Pig processing

Our boy pig had started looking at his sisters in a rather unwholesome fashion, so he went to ‘market‘ last week. We were hopeful he’d kill at at least 65kg, so were delighted he made it to a healthy 72kg. In fact he only just fitted into the boot of the car! This was our […]

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Apple pressing – juicy pictures

Cutting down an overshadowing ash tree has given this gnarled old apple tree a new lease of life and a bumper crop of fruit.    We picked a washing basket full of fruit, chopped it up and used our bucket and drill to mash the fruit. Then we set about pressing it into juice. The […]

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Making hay while the sun shines

By the end of June our field was full of long grass. Making hay off it seemed the obvious answer. Reluctant to hand the job straight to a professional, I started a scythe search. Considering we live in a village full of farms in a very rural area, scythes are few and far between. Real […]

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Three Little Pigs

By the end of May we’re usually feeling strong enough to start thinking about getting piglets again, ready for a summer and autumn of fattening. This year we returned to Andrew Tuck, our usual supplier, to find he had only three available, unless we wanted to wait. We didn’t, and these three have moved in […]

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Butchery for dummies

Until we started keeping animals I had no idea how important it was that meat was hung properly. This week we collected a lamb (ok, technically hogget as it was a year old) carcass that had spent two weeks chilling in Mr Broomhall’s cold store. That’s well hung meat in anyone’s book, so chopping it […]

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