Thursday, 6 June 2019

Our Smallholding goes to sleep........

We have done very well with smallholding life, becoming nearly self sufficient and loving the feeling of being in charge of our food.
2014: A big heap of food, all homegrown.

We had dairy products as well, with milk being provided by our two house cows:




We have also had Tamworth pigs, a bunch of hens, a few geese, one duck, and a herd of sheep. 

The sheep we still have, the geese were donated to a neighbour down the road, the duck went down the throat of a predator (probably a fox), and the hens have almost gone as well. We are down to three after another raid by something which required of their flesh. The pigs were despatched into the freezer. We have also kept goats, and they were also put into the freezer.

At one time the smallholding was humming with life, and in Spring the air was filled with the sounds of new life. It was magic. 

And as I write this I am aware of how much sadness there is within me that we could not keep the smallholding at that level of productivity, because in 2017 my health failed and Lester was head hunted by an ex employer who made him a financial offer he could not refuse. 

And that, my friend, put the brakes on being able to efficiently run the farm,  because growing your own food requires a lot of time and effort, which we ran out of.

And now the cows have left home, transported to a lovely young family up in the middle of France to become part of their small herd of house cows. 
We nearly let them go last year, but stepped back at the last moment because we felt that the cows represented the heart of the smallholding, but a year on, and nothing changing in regards to the time constraints on Lester and me, well....... it was time to let them go. 
I can't say that we were entirely happy about the saying goodbye to them, but we are glad of the time we have gained. It does mean, though, that we are becoming dependant again on commercial food production. This I am not happy with, but there is nothing I can do about it. 

Hey ho, life goes on, and we have to take the ups and downs as part of the continuing pattern of life.

Meanwhile, I am getting back to growing our own veg,  in a small way at the moment and not for winter food storage, but at least I am picking  up the pace again after my lay off in 2018.
And I have taken over control of the courtyard, and have an arbre to sit it in, with a sunbed it it for afternoon snoozes when weather permits.
All in all, everything is going along well, and for that I am glad, even if we are not heading in quite 
the same direction we were a while ago. 
Not to worry, onwards........



DUTA said...

Kudos to you for your big achievements so far! I've greatly enjoyed your posts about life on the smallhoding in SW France.
A veggie garden sounds quite satisfactory, unless your next step will be going back to England.(It all seems to depend on Lester's work options).

Anyway, no reason for feeling sad. Life goes on, and there are new experiences to savor.

Denise said...

Brave and heartfelt words, Vera. Emotion for you caught in my throat as I read. But the heart of the small holding will live on in you, no matter the hiccups that come along the way. Labartere will always flourish under the guardianship of you and Lester, and who knows what developments will come of this closing and opening of new doors? xx

Mama Pea said...

Oh, dear Vera, I cannot help but have tears in my eyes reading this post. Not because I think you did anything inappropriate, but because I can only imagine the true courage it took for you and your husband to come to this decision. Making changes, even for the better, never comes easily. It's not the end of all good things you've created on your little homestead, but the beginning of a new phase of your lives that will bring you much satisfaction without so much stress. I so admire your spunk and spirit to put a positive spin on this turn of events. I hope you'll keep blogging and take us all along on this new journey. Sending hugs.

Rhodesia said...

I am sure that you have done the right thing, but you have impressed me the way you have kept going through all the major ups and downs. Time to slow down a little, look after your health and try to find time to relax a bit. Good luck. Have a good day, Diane.

minwks said...

Dear Vera, Nice to hear from you once again.
You are beginning a whole new stage of your lives. Not many of us manage to live our dreams, thank you for sharing those highs and lows with us.
Enjoy each day... all the best.
Janine in Canada

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Adapt and overcome, Vera. We all make adjustments. Just take hope in the fact you are doing what can, with what you have, where you are now.

Janice said...

Good to read a post from you Vera. Funny how things change, at least you are able to have a little garden. Sad that you have had to let most of the animals go but you have to do what is right for you at this time. Are you still doing your sewing? Maybe you needed this break from all the work the smallholding required, time to recharge your batteries! Take care.

northsider said...

I went through a similar experience Vera when I stopped raising dropped calves. It just didn't pay, especially overwintering and buying or paying to make silage or hay. Smallholding life can be a struggle and we have to diversify and do new things. Good luck.

rusty duck said...

Enjoy the luxury of time Vera.
You have done so much and now you have an opportunity to spend more time relaxing and enjoying all that you've achieved. It's the prize at the end of the tunnel for me!

Vera said...

DUTA, We shall definitely not be going back to the UK, but if we did move country again it would be further into Europe! So for the time being we shall be very happy to stay here on our farm, and feel blessed to be able to do so!

DENISE, thanks for your kind words, and after a very happy craft afternoon yesterday with some lovely friends I have come to realise that we have a wild life paradise here, and that has bolstered me up no end.

MAMA PEA, I have taken much encouragement from reading your blog over the years, so thanks for your wonderfully uplifting comment. I do feel as if I have adjusted to the changes here now, and feel that all is as it is meant to be, and for that I feel very blessed.

DIANE, nice to hear from you again, and hope you and your husband are keeping well.
In hindsight, I do feel that there needed to be changes to the way we were running the farm, but I do not feel that I shall be slowing down any time soon, just spending my time doing things which are in my heart!

JANINE, I don't think we have 'lost' our 'dream', just tweaked it about a bit to make it more manageable! Vx

TOIRDHEALBHEACH BEUCAIL, thanks for your wise words. Being adaptive to various situations which have arisen throughout my life has given me a wondrously varied pathway in life, and I look forward to the next stepping stone!

JANICE, much of my time is now given to creating the crafting and psychic videos on YouTube, which I am enjoying very much. I think you are right...... not having to spend so much time running a smallholding has given me so much more space in which to develop the activities which are dear to my heart.

NORTHSIDER DAVE, I remember when you kept those calves, and that was when we were increasing our animal population. It was a lovely experience to have, but I am glad that I now have the time to do other things, like growing a garden as well as keeping a few veg. You are right, to be successful on a smallholding, you do have to diversify and do new things. Vx

Vera said...

RUSTY DUCK, I am in awe of the amount of time and effort you put into your house and garden! I suppose we have done the same in the past, but the last two years has seen the Universe point us in another direction, which at first we did not like, but now we realise that it is a better direction we are going in. So I shall not be slowing down any time soon, but I shall be doing more of what is in my heart!