Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Smallholding : Starting Now!

People are very welcome to visit us here and do so regularly. They ask us questions about our lifestyle and seek advice on changes in theirs.
I always find one common thread in their responses as we chat. And that is excuses!

Excuses for the many reasons that they do not live like us, and yet they admire and long for it.
We have been given every excuse you could think of. 
Anything from :
Our kids aren't grown yet
We'll do it when we retire
You have more time than us
You have more space than us
Your better at it than us
If I had a home in the country then I could home brew like you..
Etc etc

If I am to be brutally honest, these excuses annoy me. 
We have more and younger children than any we have met yet.
The have a smaller house than any we have met.
We have less acreage than any we have met. 
Hubby works full time and has a long commute. 
Things are not that 'easy' for us, but we choose to do it. Simple!
Yes, it is more work. We do not have time for watching tv. We barely sit down. But we are happy ( and busy ) together. 

Our house is small and easily gets cluttered, especially if there are demi johns of brew everywhere or stacks of laundry to be done. But it does get done.

Every one has the choice to move in this direction if they wish. It is a choice and it is ok to not want to, but be honest about that choice.
Don't make excuses.  We do so much here on just one acre. It is our choice and when our family is reared we do not plan to live like this. We currently have responsibility to our young family so why not to the smallholding. But when they are reared, we do not wish to be so committed. We wish to be freer to travel and be spontaneous with our lives.  

In the mean while, we have making memories for our children as they grow.

When people ask us for advice, we give the following.

Start where you are.
Whether that is in an apartment or a large farm. Everyone has space for a demi-john or a few herbs on the widow-still. It is about widening your skills base. From attending a few craft courses or learning how to make your own jam or bread.

Improve your social skills. 
You would be amazed at people's generosity of time and skills when someone shows interest. I feel that this is the most valuable skill. It is a learnt skill so can always be improved on.

Don't wait till you retire.
There is never a good time to do anything in life. You need to make the time. It is a physical lifestyle that's suits youth better. The biggest factor is having to change old habits and mind sets. It is easier done young.

Just do it, as Nike says.
Learn to control your fear of change and be brave. By doing something new, you will learn more than any number of books could tell you. If it doesn't work out, that's okay too. At least you tried and gained experience, leaving no regrets.

Pace yourself.
Try not to take on too much too soon. I am guilty of this one! You will be overwhelmed and more likely to fail. I am in the habit of growing too much veg and not cook/ bottle/ store them. I get overwhelmed and feed them to the pigs. I would be better to grow less and get the benefit of them.


  1. So very true, and I echo your every word.

    We were going to be doing what we're doing now when we retired and then suddenly we woke up and saw the light and just went for it.

    If you have a dream you HAVE to follow it .... immediately, things fall into place when you let them.

    Yes, as you say it's hard work but it is so worth it.

    A brilliant post :-)

  2. One recent one was...
    'Your garden is very pretty and productive. Ours doesn't look anything like this. It must be the soil the fact that weeds don't grow in yours'.


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