Big ambition for small site
@smallholdersUK UK Smallholders are profiled week by week on twitter @SmallholdersUK
This month on Twitter: Keesje Crawford-Avis from Perth
I’m Keesje, and my husband and I run Burmieston Farm and Steading in the hills near Perth. We have been here for three years but are still beginners on the smallholding side. We have 2.5 hectares so are too small to claim any subsidies. Our smallholding ambitions are big but our current set up is small with sheep, chickens, geese and an orchard. We have spent most of our energy and cash on renovating the house to live in and the steading for self- catering guests, courses and events.
Hubby and I met at the Royal Agricultural University a long time ago but life took us elsewhere until our deep interest in food, the land and environment brought us back. Our chickens are an odd bunch; hardly any eggs for months but finally producing to sell eggs at the farm gate. We have grown and sold geese for Christmas for two years with a break last year and are deciding if we should do it again as part of our grass management plan. We are hoping the geese will lay and even hatch eggs but it’s unpredictable; geese don’t seem to excel at motherhood. The ganders are SO hostile at the moment; fascinating watching the flock dynamics through the year as they are usually at the bottom of the rung. At breeding season we need to keep them away from our farm stay guests! Another aspect of our grass management is fencing. Any tips on how to get contractors to actually show up? The problem of being small scale is the bigger jobs seem to take priority.
Our other livestock are our Jacob sheep. We tupped them late, expecting lambs in May to match best grass growth time. They are pretty skittish but their hardiness is perfect for our climate. I planned on spinning their wool but not managed that yet! I did wash it in the washing machine to get it clean and it worked perfectly. We tried hand shearing last year and managed one very patient sheep but we really struggled to keep the blade sharp. We’d love to host someone here to teach both hand and machine shearing.
Do follow Keesje Crawford-Avis’s progress @Burmieston and https://burmieston.co.uk/