The most rewarding things we have done so far with the land has been the volunteer open days. We advertise and invite people to come and help us get a job done. No one turned up for the first one, 3 people for the second, 50 people came to the third one! 40 to the next and today we had 4 people come to help us finish building the tool shed for the market garden. All members of Jon’s family. It was wonderful!
Nanny spent four hours with her grandkids, grandad brought some fancy tools with him and worked with me and sister on the floor jigsaw, and brother in law and Jon mad a roof. It was a really different and interesting way for us all to spend time together. Maybe it was a bit like I imagine those panic room days out where you go with a group of friends and work together to solve your way out. You can really learn a lot more about your family by working with them on a project. It was 3 degrees with patches of sun and the end of the festive season but it felt like a lovely way to start the New Year.
Tomorrow may be time to say farewell to the Shetland sheep. I’ve been threatening to put them on preloved since the day they came and then escaped and ran away from us for a whole week in the neighbour’s field and eventually got in with their sheep! But during the last disaster I actually did it and immediately got two interested buyers. The preloved community seemed to be one of harmless, animal loving madheads, myself included. I now feel like I’ve earnt my place after buying 11 animals through it and now selling 8 of them. The buyer, who is starting a farm for animal therapy for children, has just adopted a son and is healing himself from mental illness and addiction in the process. He needs to fill 32 acres with animals before he has a much needed operation on his back. The seller needed to sell his flock of Shetlands before he had a much needed operation on his back.
Although we still need a way to manage the pasture, and I definitely see sheep in the farm’s future, it would never be these girls. So it felt like fate when I found someone who really, really wanted and needed them. The time and money we would have spent creating new paddocks can now be spent on fencing the market garden from marauding deer. I think I was at 30% losses from deer/rabbit nibbling last year. They loved the chard and the beetroot.