Frog off – the first night of the frog mating season at our pond – is one of the landmarks of the year. It is the sure and certain sign that the worst of winter is past and that nature has turned inexorably towards spring. It is a sound that thrills us and we rejoice as we turn away from mud and cold and to the prospect of new growth and new life on the smallholding.
Author Archives: sophieagrell
Sheep don’t like the rain
While the vast majority of sheep live almost exclusively outdoors, this is not what they would choose – as this winter on the smallholding has shown me.
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood (or winter on the holding)
Winter on the holding is dominated by the weather and the challenges it brings, whether of cold or mud, to care effectively for livestock (and humans). But it also brings the pleasure of knowing the sheep more intimately as well as the constant joy and company of the goats.
And now for something different…
A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine, Fuchsia Phlox, invited me to participate in her podcast “Back to the Fuchsia”. This was a new adventure for me – I had never listened to a podcast let alone contributed to one – but Fuchsia made the whole experience huge fun. Now the podcast hasContinue reading “And now for something different…”
(Almost) full moon
While we don’t have officially dark skies – the lights of Kilmarnock are visible across the valley – there is far less light pollution here than in even the smallest village. The pale moonlight and sky full of stars are one of the great joys of life here.
The great tractor diesel mystery – or things every farmer knows already
There are things Every Farmer Knows, and how to get diesel into the tractor is clearly one of them. But Rosemary and I are not Every Farmer…
A goating good day out
The smallholding rollercoaster shot us back up in the air as we prepared for and attended our first ever goat show. There is more to livestock showing than meets the eye…
All for the want of a horseshoe nail (or cylinder head gasket)…
Smallholding is a delicate balance. Often it only takes one relatively minor disaster to tip the whole precarious system over the edge…
A close-run thing
This week was thrown into disarray by a sick goat. All four of our goats are beloved but Anna (British Toggenburg in brown with white stripes on her face in the photograph) is my first goat. She and her friend Dulcie (the Anglo-Nubian with the long floppy ears beside her) arrived as newly weaned kidsContinue reading “A close-run thing”
And here is autumn…
Many writers through the centuries have praised autumn extensively, and indeed a sunny autumn day is glorious. The hedgerows on either side of the track to our smallholding are rich red with haws, the last brambles tangle blackly round my ankles and a careful eye can discern the dark purple sloes hanging high up thisContinue reading “And here is autumn…”