Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Maximising our outside space

When we were looking for a smallholding, I wanted as much land as possible.  When we moved here, initially we were pleased that we hadn't got as much land as we'd originally set out to get.  Now, 18 months later and feeling like we have lived here forever, we're hoping to get more land at some point.  That's another story, but my point is, when we were looking for a place, we attended River Cottage Summer Fair where we met Tim Maddams.  A lovely chap who we got on talking to about our hopes and dreams.  He couldn't believe the price differences in what we could buy in North East England, compared to "down South".   We too were shocked.
We also stayed at a working farm for 2 nights, whilst we visited River Cottage and met a lovely family who we also got on talking to.  It was calving season and as we stood watching a mother give birth to twins (which I didn't even know cows could do) the farmer was telling us that it's a lot harder to manage 4 acres than it is 40 acres.
We looked shocked and he said, 'land management - it is all in the land management'.  We need to make sure we rotate, rest, harrow etc etc as and when we can.  It's easier said than done, as we don't have the tools that farmers do, so we make do and mend.  (I rolled my field using the tyres on my fiesta for example!).
So part of what we have is the area knows as Chickenville.  Not surprisingly, this has housed our chickens since we moved in.  They've done a great jobs of killing the weeds and the floor is now just mud.  So these chickens have now been given part of the little paddock.


Chickenville was a dense and dark area when we bought this place.
 
Little by little we have chopped the trees down and turned them into fire size pieces ready to keep us warm in the following year's winter.

 
This is double depth to the wall and one of Ste's favourite places!
So back to my original point, of using your land wisely.
This is how Chickenville looks today.  What a cracking space.  Now the chickens are out using the little paddock, we're wondering what we could use this space for.  Time will tell, we're not in a rush to make any mistakes.


 

13 comments:

  1. I would have been shocked by the farmers remark re the 40 acres too. You've done brilliantly since moving onto your smallholding. I notice the award at the side. I obviously missed the post.....congratulations well done.

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    1. Thank you Tania :) I'm really pleased with everything we've managed to get done. Lots still to come though :)

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  2. Ooh great post Tracy. Fab to hear about the kind of research you did before you moved. Look forward to what chickenville turns into...

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    1. Oh it was years in the making, the conversations we had on it were endless and still are! Yes, me too re chickenville lol x

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  3. When we first moved here I remember standing there with Martin on our first morning looking over what seemed like a vast expanse of 5 acres, it was all just one big space and thought it was massive, we divided it up into usable small paddocks and growing areas then thought we need more land and bought another 15 acres :-)

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    1. I hope to be able to say the same one day. It's very true though, always go for as much as you can get would be my advice to anyone starting out

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  4. It takes time to get to know your land doesn't it? Our current favourite sitting area was originally designated a rough working area - within 6 months we realized it was the best shelter and shade on a sunny afternoon from April to October.

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    1. That is so true - we had thought of part f the veg plot as no use but now use it as the mini orchard as it's best suited! We need to do the full cycle a couple of times to find these things out.

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  5. When we were looking for land I too wanted as much as we could afford (which was not much) we Initially bought 3 acres and then an adjoining 2 so ended up with 5 acres. But here's the thing, if I a honest with myself we use abouboughtof them. Although there is something to be said about space between neighbors.

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    1. I hate blogger. I meant to say that "if I am honest with myself we use about two of them"

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    2. One day I hope to have more - I am working on it :)

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  6. We bought enough land (5 1/2 acres) for a child's pony and a horse for me, except we ended up with more and with horses, there is never enough land to divide and rest. It helps to have flat land too - not too easy in our neck of the woods! 40 acres is great, BUT it does come with lots of fencelines to maintain, and weeds to keep on top of, and soil to nourish, and you really do need to have a tractor and some implements (or access to them) to cope with a bigger acreage. Sometimes it's best to start small and then work out the plans for more land.

    I wonder what you will do with chickenville? I look forward to finding out in due course.

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    1. Yes the horses are the "problem" without being a negative thing. We are very careful with the land because of this.
      I am working on the plans for more land for sure!
      I really am not sure just yet, but time will tell. One day it'll be obvious to us and that will be a decision made!

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