Olly and I met at agricultural college a very long time ago. So you would think we might know what we are doing? Well at least we are trying. Let me introduce you to the wonderful animals who put up with us:
We have Jacob sheep. We bought the two ewes, Gertrude and Jeckyll, in lamb in January 2016. They both gave birth to twins completely unaided. We got to see a couple of nights of Northern Lights when we checked on them. This year (2019) we are up to 19 sheep! We are experimenting with mob grazing - this is reputed to maximise your grass growing potential.
We also have geese, which are just pets - and not very friendly. One of them does lay in the Spring time but hasn't yet managed to actually hatch any goslings.
We also have a range of chickens. Here is one of them reminding me to feed her. They are quite an independent lot – in particular they refuse to lay their eggs in one place or where we can find them. Very annoying!
And of course there is Inja, our gorgeous but slightly anxious English Shepherd dog. He will be your best friend if you throw his soggy ball.
On the flora side we planted an orchard of apples, nuts and plums thanks to the generous help of our friends and family who sponsored trees. We have started growing a small amount of flowers and vegetables as well as herbs for cooking and teas and experiment with edible flowers. We are high up and quite exposed though so the growing season is very short! We are also planting trees across the smallholding for shelter, habitat, soil retention, carbon fixing and tree fodder.
We couldn't have done anything without the help of our wonderful volunteers. Every few months we have a Wwooffer or four to help us with the weeding, planting or just organising. It is quite phenomenal how much more can happen with an extra pair of hands. Have you heard of Wwoof? Have a look at their website for more information about how you can get involved.