Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Smallholder ? Self Suffiency ? Thoughts ?


So you have thoughts on being a Smallholder, or do you have aspirations on being Self Sufficient? 
I did and they started about 40 years ago, anyone can do it, it just depends how much of it want to do.
If you have the money you can buy a smallholding but that alone does not make you a smallholder, 

From Wikipedia
In British English usage, a smallholding is a piece of land and its adjacent living quarters for the smallholder and stabling for farm animals. It is usually smaller than a farm but larger than an allotment, usually under 50 acres (20 ha). It is often established for breeding farm animals organically on free-range pastures. Alternatively, the smallholder may concentrate on growing vegetables by traditional methods or, in a more modern way, using plastic covers, Polytunneling or cloches for quick growth.
Generally, a smallholding offers its owner a means of achieving self-sufficiency for their family's needs. They may be able to supplement their income by selling surplus produce at a farmers market or at a permanent shop on the smallholding.
Yep that about sums it up.
 
 Its all about using the land, looking after the land, not buying up land for somewhere to walk the dog occasional, run music festivals, build houses or holiday homes, owning land is a privilege you are responsible for the upkeep of the land to be passed on to future generations.
Any fool can buy land but it takes something else to live off the land and care for it.
Right that's that out of the way.

How you get there is a personal thing, you may work hard scrimp and save, you may invest money in property, you might even win the lottery what ever it takes if you really really want it I do believe it will happen, it took us many many years and now we are here, but I didn't waste that time waiting, I have spent years preparing, you can do the same, read books, get out in the countryside start with things on a small scale, practise practise practise.

Those wellies in the photo are an important item, they keep my feet dry and comfortable, I wear them every day yes even in summer, when the grass is wet with dew first thing in the morning you only venture out a few times in your trainers before common sense prevails and you wear your wellies, get yourself a pair a sensible pair one size bigger than you normally wear, venture out every day, oh its raining 

so what you still have to go out regardless what the weather is like you have to go out in those wellies they become a second skin so much so that shoes and trainers become uncomfortable to wear, size too big, wellies don't keep your feet warm, but some nice thick socks will help, but when its really really cold 

you will get cold feet, so if you want a smallholding with roses around the door and chickens at your feet make a start get some wellies and get outside everyday, even if its just in the garden, regardless of the weather, regardless of whats on TV if you cant do it, or find after a couple of weeks you really hate what the weather throws at you perhaps having a smallholding isn't the right direction for you, but that's not to say you cant take steps towards a more self sufficient lifestyle

There are lots of good blogs out there and I would recommend you follow them.
An English Homestead, Kev manages it with young children
Frugal In Suffolk, Sue has been there done it and is now looking to move on
Rural Retreat Restoration, Kirsty and her family are just starting out
A New Life In Wales, Pam a wealth of information on doing it small scale
Snippets From Labartere, Vera is doing it France
Eco Footprint, Dani in S Africa 
there all in my sidebar along with lots of other good blogs, helpful informative people who are all on there own journeys to a better life. Who tell it as it is for real.
you can be too if you really want to, the ball is in your court.
Next Wednesday I will post about small steps I took and you could too.

26 comments:

  1. Always buy really good mud boots too so they don't get holes in them so fast. I got my wife a pair of plaid ones for Valentines day and she thought they were the greatest :)

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    1. You old heartbreaker you know how to spoil a girl :-)

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  2. I really look forward to reading this new 'series' - it's very interesting to see how others have tackled this life change. I have the wellies, warm socks and love of the outdoors ...... :)

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    1. I love extreme weather and there are times when I am cold and wet and think to myself why am I doing this I want to be warm and dry then something will happen to make me smile and I think its all worth it :-)

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  3. Great post. Never wore wellies much before moving here...to think once in my previous life I lived in high heels! Give me wellies anyday.!!Maria xx

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    1. Easy to slip on and they do the job fashion and rural living are worlds apart :-)

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  4. I love reading people's experiences and hearing how they got in to this sort of lifestyle. I know it isn't for me, too much hard work, you've got to be realistic, but I admire those who do make it work.

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    1. It is hard work but there are loads of rewards and sometimes we do stand and lean on the field gate with the sun on our backs lost in the moment :-)

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  5. I suppose it is farming in a smaller way - the farmer certainly works every inch of his land, he keeps it all neat and tidy and cares for the hedges and ditches, he utilises everything in one way or another. It is really a way of life - and he wouldn't give it up for the world, in spite of now being in his seventies.

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    1. It is like a mini farm, I wouldnt want a big farm far too much paperwork, some people call smallholdings hobby farms I am on the fence on that one :-)

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  6. Great post Dawn, thank you :-) Looking forward to the next post too as I'm definitely trying to 'believe' it can happen for us one day.. Wellies are on my feet and ready :-)

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    1. Glad to hear it you are on your way :-)

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  7. Really interesting and thought provoking post Dawn. Lots of people have dreams of owning a smallholding or being self sufficient but the reality is very different. While I want to be more self sufficient, I don't kid myself that I will ever be totally self sufficient. It will not be a smallholding like my grandparents had which was created out of necessity to feed 10 children. Drinking the milk from their cows, killing and eating their own pigs and chickens. If I can grow most of our own veg and create a little sanctuary for nature where no one can build on I will be happy.

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    1. Good for you CP working with nature is all part of it :-)

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  8. Couldn't agree with you more.
    For many years before we moved to our smallholding I bought things at jumble sales that I thought would be useful (i.e chimney sweeping brushes) and learnt as many skills as I could while reading S.S books I bred rabbits and learnt to dispatch them and also to cure skins. I learnt a lot about preserving and foraging, make do and mending. It was fun learning and has all come in useful. We moved to our two glorious and productive acres in 1981, It took us many years to get here, but we have never regretted it.

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    1. You do start collecting all sorts of things that will be usefull better to do it while you have the time for car boots as you wont afterwards :-)

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  9. Thanks for the mention. I like the sound of this series and I'm tempted to do it as well, although I don't think I'm there yet as I've got so much more to get set up and do! One day this will be a well running smallholding. ..

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    1. You should Kev you have a good working set up and it would be interesting to get a smallholder with young family take on it :-)

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  10. Very interesting! A good reminder about the importance of the right footwear for the right occasion too! xx

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    1. Wellies are standard issue uniform :-)

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  11. Dawn have you been approached by the BBC like Sue at 'our new life in the country' regarding running a small holding. I think you'd be an excellent candidate with the variety of things you undertake on your small holding. Thanks for your comment on my blog yesterday I'm no where near as good as you but I'm learning. When I have more time i will do so much more like wine making etc.

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    1. I hate to say it but the BBC isnt approaching people, its blasted over every forum, magazine, face book, and farming magazine anywere were small holders would be looking for candidates, I wont be applying thanks for the suggestion I have enough of the reality of life without being on a reality show, it would be my idea of hell :-)

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  12. I first got the bug when we went to the smallholder's fair in, I think it was Ardingly. It was their second or third year and I was hooked. Took us a move to France to achieve it though: I wish I had been 20 years younger!

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  13. Yes Dawn I don't think you and the BBC would be a good mix. They would want people to do what they want to make good TV and you would be throwing them on the electric fence within 2min. Lol love reading your blog . X love Maggie. X

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  14. I battled to leave a comment - finally got it right ;) Thanks for the mention - I, too, look forward to this series :D

    Just wish I could share your weather...

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