Friday, 18 December 2009


We have had a real downfall of snow here. Great fun for the children – snowball fights on the way to school, hoorah! But not so much fun for the sheep - but then I guess they are welsh mountain sheep after all, so for all we know they are loving it! Obviously they can’t get at the grass when it is snowing and their water freezes over. So we were out in full 4X4 mode skating over icy country roads on a mission of mercy this morning. Judging by the loud bleating that greeted our arrival, the flock was pretty keen to see us (or, more likely, their food). We gave extra rations of sheep mix and put down a bale of hay in each field. They dived into the hay and there is definitely enough there to keep them going for a while (or until tomorrow!). Their trough was totally iced over, so we broke the ice up and put in some extra water.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


We made our debut at the local Farmers Market today. It was at a National Trust Property and coincided with a Victorian Day – so everyone was in costume (including us after some nifty last minute needlework!). A great atmosphere with carols and street sellers hawking their wares from baskets.

We had some Highland beef butchered the previous day and were able to bring a good supply of vacuum packed meat. It was very difficult to estimate what the demand would be and we were a little concerned at the slow start. But all that changed when we fired up the camping stove and cooked our samples of steak. The whiff of Highland beef in the air really attracted people to our stall and after a tester we got lots of custom. We were pleased that the reaction to the taste test was so positive. We were not quite sure what cuts of meat would be most popular but soon found that the steaks, roasts and (to our surprise) brisket seemed to go very quickly. We had set ourselves a provisional sales target and were really delighted that at the end of the day we had totally sold out. Definitely a great success.

The success was not just in meat sales, it also proved to be a really fun family day out. We had told quite a few friends that we would be there and they all popped by to say hello. We also had some really interesting conversations with like minded foodies and self sufficiency aficionados. And we got to know a few of our fellow stall holders (special thanks to the cake stall next door, which was the prime attraction for the children!). Our 8 year old had a brilliant time giving out change and bagging up people’s meat. I think he was more excited than anyone about having our own “shop”.

After our first Farmers Market we have lots of ideas for how to improve on the next one. We’ll definitely be back!

Friday, 4 December 2009


Just in case you are wondering about the chicken chaos in the's what happened to the ornamental (i.e. "not for eating"!)cabbages in one afternoon.




For good measure they dug up the spring bulbs in that planter too.
The gourmet chicken garden has finally given a convincing answer to the
question: "what plants will chickens not touch?" Answer: "Not many!" We can safely say that they do not like onions or celery, but everything else seems to be fair game. Thankfully our new electric chicken fence arrived today, so the battle between chooks and vegetation may be evened up again.

On another front entirely, we are all very excited to be doing our first Farmers Market next weekend. The Market happens to coincide with a Victorian Christmas Day, so it will all be in fancy dress just to add to the sense of occasion. We will have some fabulous Highland Beef on our stall - with plenty of delicious steak to taste too. We hope people enjoy it and that we will make a few more Tiny Farmer converts on the day!

The sheep are doing well and getting used to their local celebrity status - not only do we have several reception classes following adopted sheep, we also have BBC Radio Cambridgeshire doing regular interviews and items throughout the year following ewe 562. Take a look at the latest interview below, or follow the sheep on Facebook or Twitter.