A nat­u­ral life

Country Smallholding - - A Smallholder's World - UK Small­hold­ers are pro­filed week by week on twit­ter @small­hold­er­sUK @Small­hold­er­sUK

This month: Jez Rose

Jez Rose, be­haviourist, broad­caster and ama­teur gar­dener, and his wife Caro­line, moved onto their small farm on the Cam­bridgeshire/ Lin­colnshire bor­der in 2016. “We keep half a mil­lion bees, two labradors, and are home to The Good Life Project. The project ex­plores na­ture’s im­pact on peo­ple’s men­tal func­tion­ing, so­cial re­la­tion­ships and phys­i­cal well­be­ing, and en­cour­ages greater in­ter­ac­tion with na­ture. We’re li­censed by the Soil As­so­ci­a­tion as an or­ganic site in con­ver­sion.

“The gar­den area was largely bare grass and con­crete when we moved in. Slowly we cre­ated jun­gle, veg and rose gar­dens, an orchard, wild meadow, jewel gar­den, herb gar­den and a mag­no­lia court­yard. We added a green­house, a pizza oven, and a new train­ing and re­search barn with a green roof. We have planted for­age for our bees and, like many small­hold­ers, we’re work­ing to­wards self-suf­fi­ciency. Our next project is a wild heather bor­der for pest con­trol and pol­li­na­tion... and eye candy. We’re plan­ning

on or­ganic chick­ens for eggs and the long-term plan is to res­cue rein­deer in our wood­land.

“As we keep bees we have to al­ways be mind­ful of mice although if you keep chick­ens or have com­post they’ll be on your mind too! We raise things up us­ing drain­pipe sec­tions ap­prox 8ins as mice can’t climb them; this has been es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive for our bee hives. We’ve been look­ing for an ef­fec­tive ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem for ages; we have a bore hole, butts, six hoses and two rub­bish ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems.

“I grew up on a farm so small­hold­ing for me feels real and in­nate, and in less than a year of be­ing back on a farm I have al­most no un­stained clothes left. Shortly af­ter we moved in, ex­cited about our farm life, Caro­line and I re­named the place Money Pit Farm. It’s been the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life, re­pair­ing the ne­glect (a new sep­tic tank be­cause the old one dis­charged di­rectly into a fresh wa­ter dyke, a Site of Sig­nif­i­cant Sci­en­tific In­ter­est; re­pair a leak­ing bore hole; four days af­ter we moved in the roof col­lapsed; the oil tank had to be moved), and also the most re­ward­ing. It has proven just how im­por­tant a greater con­nec­tion to na­ture re­ally is.”

* Do check out The Good Life Project and fol­low Jez @JezRose­http://the­goodlife­pro­ject.info/ * Jez’s cour­ses are also fea­tured on page 59. * Com­piled by Deb­bie Kings­ley who tweets from @SouthYeoFarm and set up @Small­hold­er­sUK

Jez Rose, who runs The Good Life Project

Caro­line Rose

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