Monday, 23 May 2016

Didn't We .......

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we to Builth Wells,
We did have a lovely day off,
Before I show and tell many thanks for all he comments regarding Sol and his neck, at the moment he is fine again, 2 days on the pills and yesterday he was all fixed again and fit enough to come with us.
I will be looking into some of the suggestions so again thank you.

It may have been a damp start to day but that wasn't going to stop us, we planned to be out all day, once everyone was fed watered hay and in the proper grazing place it was bank up the Rayburn, change of clothes pack a day bag for Sol and off we went.
I didn't take photos of the event itself if you look back through my blog on days out there are photos from last year.
The Community food group were giving away onion sets and potatoes for people to grow
 You could just help yourself and fill as many bags as you wanted, I picked a small handful of red onions
 and picked up another 10 potatoes, these will be popped into the new poly tunnel as I have a bit of space, more on the poly tunnel in my next post. People were very reserved and polite with the freebies, no mass onslaught pushing and shoving, there was a selection of 10 different potatoes, I cannot for the life of me remember what the ones I picked were called I know I hadn't come across them before and sure they had Ulster in the name , there was a good choice of onions I went for red ones as I didn't have any growing this year. They had other veg and herbs there too, I think it was all surplus from growers.
 I popped along to see Ruth and Paul at the Home Farmer magazine stand, I have supported Home Farmer since issue 1, I have got to know Ruth and Paul fairly well and they always ask for updates on the small holding and what we re doing now, after chatting for about 20 mins Paul gave me a goody bag of magazines, I hadn't re-newed my subscription this year as I still had a lot of last years magazines to read so decided to take a year off, Ruth also asked if I would like to do some articles for the magazine, I will give it some thought and it wouldn't be until winter as there would be more time available, we shall see.
 I bought some Light Sussex eggs for hatching after last years ones turned out not to be light sussex well only one was and that was a cockerel so we ate him.
These are now set in the incubator with 4 of our eggs, no broodies this time, I will hatch out and rear with the aid of a hen.
One of the reasons for our trip to the show this year was to buy some new garden furniture, we looked last year and picked out some we liked, the supplier was there and we placed an order, The furniture is all wood and made in Wales, its made to order and will be with us in about 4 weeks.

Before leaving I popped back to the Home Farmer stand to purchase this book they were launching.
 Its written by a couple who have a small holding in Wales, they have been living the lifestyle since there university days, its now about them and there life its more of reference book,
It is a big book packed with lots of information, something that caught my eye when flicking through it was the meaning of viable self sufficiency 
If you buy a chicken house for £400 and then spend £200 of chickens, feeders accessories bedding food etc the set up has cost you £600, your chickens lay 6 eggs are you self sufficient in eggs, no those eggs have cost you £100 each you don't become self sufficient in eggs until you have re-couped the costs and the chickens are paying there way, that is a lot of eggs and it will take some time to re-coup the costs.
The book is about viable self sufficiency not how to grow what to grow but how it make it all viable.

On that note I am off to plant some onions catch you all later.


  1. Hi Dawn. Glad you had a good time and were able to relax for the day after all the animals were taken care of. How wonderful to be able to get some great freebies. I do hope we can visit there next year. Re the question of are you self sufficient when you have your own chickens giving you eggs? I was talking to somebody about the same thing the other day. Our hen house, enclosure and everything for set up comes to about £80 I think, maybe less, as Jon was able to build it and get some materials from work. I still think that is a lot, but at least we are getting a regular supply and I can compare how many I used to buy plus how much they would have cost me. On top of all that it is just great to be able to swap the eggs for other things and to simply enjoy the best eggs we have EVER tasted! (Not apologising for the my-grass-is-greener rant at all. Ha!)

  2. I thought about going but had a houseful to feed. I still managed some sewing though. Fingers crossed that you get the right chicks this time.

  3. I completely agree with the self sufficiency rule you state. I've read blogs were they say they're ss, but they cant be because there will always be outlays. I think we all strive for a simpler less dependant healthier lifestyle. Something most if us can achieve to csrying degrees.

  4. That last paragraph is so right.
    Hope you have better luck with those eggs hatching this year.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful time! Good luck with your eggs. We're still trying to figure out what the chicks I bought early spring really are (definitely not what they were marked!)

  6. Sounds like a great day out!
    I'm not sure if anyone can ever be 100% self sufficient these days, certainly not if they depend on society for supplemental income. that being said, if i could be 75% self sufficient I'd be happy.

  7. Oooh, that book looks like a goodie...

    Glad Sol is feeling better and that he enjoyed his outing.

  8. The book sounds really interesting. Glad you had a good day out. Hope you can work things out for Sol. xx

  9. That's how I see self sufficiency, everything has to pay for it's self. That's why I'm getting 16 ex commercial birds next week as at a pound each I soon get my cost back.

    1. Our hens cost us £2 each and as they came from a free range egg farm were in wonderful shape. We couldn't believe how healthy they looked and continue to do so as well as laying consistently.

  10. I agree on your self sufficiency paragraph totally! I read a nice book the other day which addressed this. The farmers feelings were that were not meant to be self sufficient as that is quite isolationist, more that you can rely on others around you as well as aiming to meet your own needs and share your surplus ( barter etc ). I think it's about balance. You want to be able to provide for yourself and not have it be costing you more than it's worth..

    I love the thought of your community collective giving away vegetables. What a wonderful idea! Good on them :)

    I'm glad to read Sol is feeling better too :)

  11. John Seymour's The Complete Book Of Self Sufficiency. A guide for real and dreaming down shifters.

    Think that says it all Dawn. Most post people can't make a living in the countryside due to high house prices and lack of rural jobs... Not to forget all the red tape and cost of slaughtering your own animals.

    I would love to go back to peasant farming were everybody tilled the land and shared their produce. Smallholding can be too isolated. I miss my allotment in England.

    A really interesting post Dawn.

  12. That looks like a great book and how true - anything ready made you buy has to be factored into the costs and a ready-made henhouse makes for costly eggs! When we were looking we made sure we settled for something with existing outbuildings which could be adapted. I used to enjoy going up to the Smallholders show with my local friend, so can see it all in my mind's eye.

    I think you are just the person to write a few articles for the mag btw!

  13. Thanks for your kind words re: our book "Viable Self-Sufficiency". Much appreciated.
    It was a real labour of love writing that book, and so rewarding to see it in print at last.
    Best regards,
    Tim Tyne.


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