A smallholding is a magical world, in both good and bad ways. Living on a smallholding, you become intimate with the seasonal changes on a small area of land – the flowers, the birds, the changing skies – as well as the animals who live on it. You live closely with the turning year, watching eagerly for the first snowdrop, the first leaf unfurling as signs of the promise of spring after the endless-seeming winter, considering the effects of rain on grass without which this smallholding at least would be lost, rejoicing in the almost endless summer evenings, then watching with some sadness as the days draw in and the year turns again to winter.
The year is full of enchantment – lambs taking their first wobbly steps or, later, bouncing as though on springs, newly hatched chicks as cute and fluffy as any cliche. The year is full of sadnesses – a lamb’s death, a fox attack killing a dozen hens all known from an egg. The year is full of work – the daily rhythm of feeding and watering, big jobs like dosing sheep, or mucking out a barn. The work is endless and takes no account of weather, fatigue or other events, but every day brings moments to pause and notice, to delight.