Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Can you believe it? The wheat has actually gone a lovely golden yellow and we harvested a few sheaves with a sickle (said sickle number 2 was recently purchased at a car boot sale). We will have to put in a bit more effort to get enough to start making flour – cannot imagine how long it will take us to harvest a whole field by hand. However these little bunches of wheat – complete with meadow cornflowers and poppies – were for aesthetic appreciation only. They also provided some original craft material for a wet afternoon in the school holidays. As you can see, we have been making corn dollies which are now hanging all over the house. Funnily enough all the children who visit seem to end up making them too. Flour will be a bonus after all this fun!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tiny Farmer website & beef on the menu (soon)...

One of the most obvious omissions from our diet this year has been beef - now I can just hear all the health professionals yelling with joy and saying how good that it is for us - but we really actually like beef - quite a lot!

We've been able to share a pig or two with a few friends, get some chickens, duck & venison this year. But sharing a cow is a different matter all together as there is a lot of beef - but as good uncle Bob said; "times, they are a changing".
Luckily our circle of meat share friends has grown quite large and we were delighted when we put everyone's requirements together and found that we had enough to justify sourcing a cow. We did our homework, spoke to lots of friends and contacts and found a farmer who was willing to let us buy one of his cows. An important part of our homework was making sure that the cow had been reared in an "animal welfare friendly" environment.
Having done the background the big day, today, finally arrived - we collected the cow early this morning and delivered it to the slaughterhouse & butchery where the meat will hang for 21 days by which time we should have some really nice tasty beef... the countdown begins!!

In getting the meat share going we have met many people who are interested in sourcing good quality meat that has come from a welfare friendly system. It seems that more and more people want to understand and know where their food comes from and they want to know that it comes from a sustainable source.
With that it mind we have launched a Tiny Farmer website,, where we hope to be able to share what we are doing with even more people in the region, so please be good enough to spread the word.

I guess the next big challenge will be to try and make sure that we have a good regular supply of fish for our menu as that is the other glaring omission.We'll keep you posted on that one...

Monday, 13 July 2009

Good ole Blighty....

Shock - horror!!! We have a dose of potato blight that is ripping through our potato crop. What does this mean for us?
Well it means that we'll have to start pulling up all the potatoes on infected plants and that we'll soon have more potatoes than we know what to do with. So much for forward planning and having crops lasting for a while eh! At least our friends will be in plentiful supply of potatoes.
We should still have enough to last us a good while as they are not all infected - and if they do become infected we'll still have a bit of a delay before we take them up. We'll just have to make lots of room in the nice cool dark garage to store them all. So all is not lost!

The idea of taking on the 160 acres is still there and is slowly gaining a bit of momentum. It has certainly moved out of the "don't be ridiculous" camp to the "maybe...just maybe" camp. The next week or so will be crucial as we look through the numbers over and over and over.
While we relish the opportunity of really being so close to farming animals in an ethical, fully traceable and welfare friendly environment (and also sharing the experience and produce with others), we do need to make sure that it is sustainable and viable in some way.

Last, but not least, the wool from the ewes is ever so slowly being turned into wool. A lengthy process that starts with the fleece being washed, then tiny portions carded and spun. An interesting thing to do while wactching a movie or catching up on The Ashes. Will post some picture soon.

Till later...

Thursday, 9 July 2009


We recently had this leaflet through the door from our local supermarket...a £10 voucher to try and entice us back. Well, attractive as those crowded shopping aisles and BOGOF offers are, I think we’ll have to pass on that one. Our new food experiences have extended our notions of shopping way off the Tesco/Sainsburys/Asda treadmill. We have had six months now of not going to any of the big supermarkets (though we do still patronize local corner shops) and it certainly is not an experience we miss. You’d be surprised at the things you manage NOT to buy when you don’t have them stuffed in your face every time you try and get your weekly shop! We have definitely been guilty of adding a few more “offers” to our trolley than we strictly needed and picking up the odd item of children’s clothing just because we happened to see it while buying the vegetables. The only time we really got a bit stuck without a supermarket was when we were shopping for the kids’ birthday parties – it definitely takes a lot longer to pick up sweets, baking ingredients, party favours, cards, wrapping paper, paper plates etc from several different shops. But then, the parties ended up being quite a bit more imaginative as a result of some lateral thinking!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Making hay while the sun shines

With the warm weather of last week we thought we would try and make some hay from our recent topping of the fields - the activity was also spurred on from recently receiving a pitch fork as a birthday present.
Our bales of hay certainly don't look as organised or efficient as the ones you see dotted around farm fields all over, but they will hopefully give the sheep a bit of extra calories in the winter months.

Talking of farm fields we currently have an opportunity to take on 160 acres (NOW THAT'S HUGE!!) of fields, that really would make us Tiny Farmers - so very exciting, but also very daunting. We are carefully crunching the numbers and trying to find out as much information as we can. If we did take it, the majority would be used as sheep grazing and we might expand to other things in the future. Watch this space for some very exciting news soon...