And fi­nally...

Country Smallholding - - Feature Health -

THERE ARE hun­dreds of sto­ries sim­i­lar to those of Sascha De Lisle-But­ler, Wowie Dun­nings and Paul Wright. Tak­ing on a small­hold­ing doesn’t al­ways go to plan. Some­times bad health draws you on to achieve things you never would have imag­ined in a month of Sun­days. For some the dream comes to an end. But there are things we can take from these short snip­pets of peo­ple’s lives.

An­i­mal wel­fare

Ev­ery­one I spoke to had this at their heart. The ill­ness some­how spurred them on to be sure their stock was in the best state pos­si­ble. One de­scribed it as a ma­jor nag, but with re­mark­able re­wards.

Help is avail­able

When you go through the same tasks, neigh­bour­ing small­hold­ers can sim­ply see where help is needed. We hate ask­ing for help, but it is usu­ally given with­out fuss or cost. Like my neigh­bour sim­ply trim­ming my hedges, or turn­ing up at lamb­ing “just to see how you’re get­ting on”.

And, of course, fam­ily can step up to the mark when needed and per­form Her­culean feats.

The re­wards are great

Time and again peo­ple cope with their dif­fi­cul­ties be­cause of their an­i­mals. The re­ward of get­ting through is that cared for sheep or goat. “We need them as much as they need us.”

Don’t just sit there

Early in­ter­ven­tion is im­por­tant. Some­times we feel that we are su­per­hu­man, or the feel­ing of not get­ting through, not be­ing able to care for our an­i­mals is a de­ter­rent to not vis­it­ing the doc­tor. Ev­ery­one I spoke to was glad they “got sorted” as quickly as they did, even if some­times it has been a long on­go­ing process.

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