Country Smallholding - - Contents -

WHEN my fam­ily and I moved to our small­hold­ing/farm more than a decade ago it had been de­void of any four-legged life, bar a lo­cal farmer’s cows, for quite a few years. It felt soul­less, so what do you do but re­fill it? The first ar­rival was a cat, fol­lowed by quite a few more, and then a Tam­worth pig, two res­cue ponies from World Horse Wel­fare, a dog and a dozen ex-bats, more or less in that or­der. It was win­ter and freez­ing and I quickly learned that re­hom­ing in Jan­uary could be chal­leng­ing. One chicken dam­aged a leg and ended up liv­ing in our kitchen. She was im­pos­si­ble to house train, but we de­vel­oped an in­cred­i­ble rap­port to the point that she was so jeal­ous when I made phone calls that she would shriek her dis­ap­proval.

I de­vel­oped a pas­sion for an­i­mals from my pram. One of my first memories is of slip­ping over in calf muck, aged about four, while my hor­ri­fied grand­fa­ther looked on. I was in the calf shed be­cause I was des­per­ate to get closer to the black and white faces and those sand-paper tongues. The life of a small­holder isn’t easy. I un­der­stand as I walk across my six-acre pad­dock and the grass crack­les un­der­foot that peo­ple with more an­i­mals than me are al­ready wor­ried how they will feed their live­stock through the win­ter. A neigh­bour has started to make a dent in their 2018 hay crop, and there is un­likely to be any more put in the barn at the cur­rent (zero) rate of re­growth. So when you write in and tell me about your small­hold­ing ex­pe­ri­ences I will un­der­stand. And please do write (ed­i­to­rial.csh@ archant. co.uk). Tell me what you would like to see more of — and less of — in the mag­a­zine. Tell me your ideas and your sto­ries.

I am de­lighted to be tak­ing over at Coun­try Small­hold­ing. I love the way of life and I love the mag­a­zine, which has been bril­liantly edited by my pre­de­ces­sor, Si­mon McEwan. I hope to hear from you soon.


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