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Shane & Emma's Smallholding



March Update

Hello…Remember us, we were that family that gave up our stressful “rat race” lifestyles for a more leisurely one…Yeah right!!!

I cannot believe how busy we are, let me tell ya that running a smallholding, and raising a young family takes up all of your time...anyway I have some of it now so, time for an update me thinks!

The last update was way back in August 2009 so we have lots to catch up with…as always we'll start  with some snaps of young master Finley who, as you can see is growing at an alarming rate…

Finley last August at Play group...I now! kids today just don't get it!, we never got toys this big!!!

Emma, Finley and I had a lovely trip to Lego land with my youngest brother Scott, his wife Michelle and Finley's cousin Demi.

Finley, Demi, Scott and myself...Hey, my brother is nearly as good looking as me!

Now then, lets move on to lambing, as you no doubt read from the august update we had a pretty interesting lambing season, with triplets born, caesarean performed on one of our ewes and a late lamb…well we have one final chapter, the ewe that we described as “well looked after” but not preggers gave birth a week after the last update was published…just goes to show you...what do we know!

Anyway here she is…lovely isn’t she. 

Then there is Maxamus, who is visiting our cows again…we like Max a lot, he has a great nature and is super friendly, this is Max’s third visit to us and he’s an absolute pleasure to have around.


Max will do his duty and then move on to his next engagement around November.

With the coming of the bad wet weather and the completion of the barn, we have decided to bring the cows inside into what we are calling the cow barn!!! It was originally going to be my tractor shed!

The reason for this is that this we suffer from a lot of wet weather here and the land can get very boggy add to this cows treading the land we end up with what is referred to as “poached” ground (very wet muddy, boggy and with no grass). Also a season without cows munching the grass is great for the grass to re-establish itself…who knew that there was so much to learn about grass!!!

It’s not all been work work work, I managed to get  couple of days out on the canoe!  The first was a trip around Cambridge with the Milton Keynes canoe club


Pretty cool, and I had an absolutely great day…if you are in or near MK and want a giggle I would suggest you get in touch with Russell Fancourt who runs the MK canoe club on 01525 261605.

That trip was great and motivated me to do another, this time an overnighter…Myself, Mark who invited me to the MK trip and Jack a fellow adventurer organised a two day trip in October with an overnight stay at a camp site…and yes, we were the only campers there!

The weekend we went was pretty cold and windy and we utilised that to our advantage…we also had a great time with loads of giggles…Mark captured some of the weekend and posted it to YouTube which you can see by clicking the following link.


Then came Halloween, Finley got to carve his first pumpkin...home grown of course...

Yeah, alright he had a little help from his mum.

Then we had Christmas and Finley's birthday both in quick succession.

Christmas snowman...a white Christmas...a taste of what was to come!

Following the bad weather we thought about a little "run around" so we took a test drive!

What's do you mean "Rag'N'Bone" it's "Any ol Iron"...very nice drive, but with only one horse power not fast enough!

Some of you may be wondering how we have been getting on with “Efel” our 1970’s wood burning range, the answer, remarkably well, and given that we have had a pretty miserable winter she has done a smashing job, running all of our central heating and hot water. At one point we had a problem with our normal boiler which took three weeks to repair and our little Efel kept us nice and toasty.

Down side is that being at home all day (yeah…I know, get over it) we need to have heating all day…and that’s a lot of wood! This means that I have been wearing my lumber jack clothes again, and I have to say that I am becoming pretty good at this tree felling business…this tree was over 80 foot tall, and one of 30 that have been felled.

All this tree felling got me interested in growing our own trees, So, Emma and I talked about planting a woodland of our own, during the research stage we happened across a guy called David White who works for the forestry commission www.forestry.gov.uk at the Lincolnshire country showground, and he happened to mention that we could get a grant if we met certain criteria...which we did, all I needed next was a task force to help me plant one or two saplings!

Welcome to the "C-Team", the "A-Team where already on a top secret mission and the "B-Team" scarpered when they new how many tree saplings needed to be planted!...I didn't tell these guys until they where ready to work.

From left to right  we have Mark, Diana, James and Jack, there was also Michelle (Marks wife) out of shot who, all jesting aside worked their bloody socks off to help me and Emma plant 1500 yes, 1500 trees in a weekend! Thank you very much guys, without your help Emma and I would still be planting!

So, on a grey wet Valentines weekend and slightly hung over we started...

And this is it...The very first tree of what we are calling Valentine Woods, this is an Ash tree sapling...only 1499 to go!

Pre-digging the holes seemed to be the best way forward...Then we planted the saplings.

They look great don't they!...trust me there are the best part of 900 trees in this picture!

After the guys left on Sunday afternoon...I started our next project.

And with some help from Emma's dad we had our little conservatory down ready for builders to start building the new one on the Tuesday!...You can see what I mean about "not enough time" Good job I've got Finley to help with the building works...

Check out the pencil behind his ear!

We are currently as I write this about 5 weeks into the new building works, and we have our new conservatory in place, still quite a bit of work inside yet, but at least we are watertight now.

During the build I was helping another smallholder through lambing season, he had a great success rate and we ended up with these little guys.

Two are off of triplets so been removed from their mothers (ewes only have two teats) and one was rejected by his mother, so we have been bottle feeding, and as you can see Finley is in his element.

And finally, here is Willow and last years lamb chilling in the field.

Well that's it for this update, I will try not to leave it so late next time.

Take care and have a great Easter.

Shane, Emma, Finley, Willow and all at the Smallholding.



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