Monday 3 November 2014


I killed and processed the last of the turkeys last week and they are in the freezer awaiting a starring role in Yuletide celebrations. The family have all gone home, the goats have been sold and now it is just me and the dogs and chickens. Silence takes a while to get used to. I always need time to settle back down into it again. It is about communing with nature. Getting the books out to read, sitting by the log burner. I have had ample opportunity to do that as the weather has turned. It is colder with constant rain and it feels truly wintry since the Celtic year changed to the dark half of the year on Samhain.
There is plenty to do in the veggie patch. Rotted manure to be barrowed onto the empty beds. The last of the summer crops harvested such as flint corn and soya beans currently finishing drying in my kitchen. I hope to plant some green manure this winter to keep the soil in good condition but I need a decent break in the rain to do that. I also want to start the endless round of mulching the trees and bushes to add nutrients and keep the grass down under them. Broad beans, kale, winter brassicas and field beans are growing well but I haven't planted the garlic yet. I am also trying Chinese vegetables for the first time this winter. They have all germinated well but the slugs and snails adore them so I am growing them on a bit in cells before planting them out when they are bigger. I fantasise about a poly tunnel for overwintering veg and salads but that will have to wait. Perhaps next year....
In some good news, Ginger has hatched four strong chicks again. Motherhood is her thing and she goes from a low status hen to a ferocious lion when her chickies are threatened taking on all including the unwary dog.

Getting back to the silence. It allows me to think, to commune with nature, to answer questions about why I am here. I know that this place feels like it is beyond worth, something priceless. It is so much more than a rabbit hutch made for 'consumers' like the Kent terrace house where we came from. This is a place built for producers, creators, guardians of the earth, people. When I plant a seed or we plant a tree I feel an amazing sense of 'rightness'. A weird word but we are not just planting it for us, we are planting it for birds, insects, the soil, other people, future generations and increasing the biodiversity of this piece of land. From the pollinators, to the consumers of the fruit to the earthworms pulling the fallen leaves into the earth. It is so much more than just planting a tree. We are correcting the grass monoculture and healing the hurts.

This is a worthwhile way to spend the rest of my life.


  1. A blessed Samhain to you. I really wanted to be in Galicia for it this year, but was thwarted again. Nevermind, patience is a virtue.

    Not to pry, but what prompted the sale of the goats?

    Your efforts are totally worthwhile!

  2. Thanks, it does feel very worthwhile, I sold the goats for a number of reasons really, lovely creatures but very strong and I had been struggling to peg them out for grazing. They pull like trains and I have arthritic knees over pot holed ground. I had nearly fallen a number of times. Added to that the difficulties of finding small bales of hay locally for their food. We had made our own hay by hand but it required lots of effort. They needed weeds and fresh grass cutting every day to keep them happy and occupied.
    Finally milking twice a day is a huge commitment and although I could have made cheese from it I am on my own here and so I was unlikely to eat or drink that much dairy products on my own. When we got them we thought that Tim and I would both be here to manage them and reap the rewards. Over time I realised that Tim is likely to be working in the UK for several years yet. When it came down to it, the cost benefit assessment meant that they were far more effort than I was going to gain at this point in our lives. Buying milk and cheese is cheaper and easier than making it and buying goat food. When Tim comes back here permanently we might try again as they are lovely creatures. At the moment I would rather put my efforts into chickens and growing things and developing the forest garden and it is one less 'thing' to worry about.