Chickens · Uncategorized

Little Hen Rescue – 7th & 8th February

Little Hen Rescue are appealing for homes for 4,000 battery hens being released from their cages on 7th & 8th February. They are determined not to leave any behind to the fate of the slaughter van.

If you would like to give ex battery hens a home, further information or to leave a donation please contact Jo at

If you would like to join in with discussions about caring for ex battery hens please feel free to join The Ex Battery Hens Forum



The Composters

The Composters

Chickens · Uncategorized

Hen Rescue This Weekend – Homes Urgently Needed

A rescue is happening this weekend on the 24th January, over 2,000 battery hens will be freed from their cages, many with homes already lined up. There may possibly be a joint rescue with another hen rescue, a possible 7,000 hens could very well be free very soon!

If you have room in your life for some chickens please consider ex battery hens. They are so worth it.

If you would like to find out more please visit the following rescues:

Fruit Garden · Kitchen Garden

The Vegetable Garden and Orchard -Well Eventually!

Apologies to The Garden Smallholder readers lately (especially Do What You Love) for my lack of posts. Aside from my love of the outdoors, gardening and our small scale smallholding, I am in fact a dab hand at decorating. I can now be found most days head to toe in dust, paint and old wallpaper scraps. Attractive huh?

Our bedroom was crying out to be redecorated. I thought I could live with the way it was for at least a little while longer than I have, but my hands started getting that itchy feeling. I could not help myself, before I knew it I had grabbed the stripping knife and the hideous wallpaper was no more. All the walls have been stripped and I am in the process of getting them prepped. The other chore was to removed the polystyrene ceiling tiles. I have aches and pains in the muscles of my arms that I never knew existed. The ceiling is in a bit of a mess now so it needs to be skimmed over by a plasterer at some point when we are feeling a bit flush. Its going to cost a fair few pounds but the end result should look great and far safer than having a fire hazard above our heads! Trouble is I have started eyeing up our sons bedroom. OK, I have gone past the eyeing up stage and whipped the wallpaper from the walls of that room too, but you already guessed that right?

Anyway, on to the garden smallholding which im sure is far more interesting than my decorating woes. I grabbed my camera from its dusty shelf on Sunday and took some snap shots of how the vegetable garden and mini orchard looks now. As you can see its all very messy indeed. I would dearly love to get the ground cleared but im so afraid of disturbing hibernating animals. That would never sit easy with me, the death of a hedgehog or some other poor creature from my doings would really upset me. Good things come to those that wait as they say, so wait I shall.




I think its hard to visualise from these photos and angles how large this area is, it will take some back breaking to get it looking anything like a vegetable garden and orchard let alone plant anything. I guess that’s all part of the excitement. In a strange sort of way I am glad that we did not inherit a beautifully planned, planted and well tendered vegetable plot when we bought the house, because then it would not really feel like ours. Its not all doom and gloom out there though, the main garden is beautiful and has been very well cared for over the years, but there is still plenty of room for us to stamp our wellies all over which is nice. No, its the last section of the garden that we have dedicated our little dream of the good life to that needs all the help it can get.

The sheer hard work, passion and determination to get at least something in the form of a vegetable or fruit tree in the ground this year is all there, bubbling away inside of me. I pray it will be possible, the photos shout “You need a miracle!”

The good news is I have managed to secure offers of help from some big strong lads in the form of my father, brother and of course Richie so roll on late spring I say! Im not work shy, I shall be pulling my sleeves up and mucking in just as much as them. Cannot wait.


First Snowfall Of The Year


At last it has snowed. I awoke today to see clean fresh unspoilt snow covering the garden like a blanket. The flakes were falling fast and furious and were big and fluffy, gorgeous! It has been so cold the past few days and nights that I have been surprised that the snow did not come sooner. I took Jason our dog outside with me while I tended to the hens, he had a great time running around and trying to eat the snow. I love snow paws and as you can see from the above photograph, Jason is a big boy! The hens were spared cold feet, they have a roof on their enclosure so the snow did not make it inside, they seemed quite interested in it all the same. I will let them out to free range a little later, this will be their first experience of snow.

Of course our children J & J could not resist coming out to play too, snow and children are a match made in heaven. I think its the only time they do not complain about being cold!

J and J-playing-in-the-snow

By this time the snow was getting pretty wrecked, I love freshly fallen snow but its a shame not to enjoy it. The wild birds will find today pretty hard to find food, so my next job was to refill the feeders after their feast last night. I also scatter seed around for the larger birds. The Pheasants in particular do well out of me, at the last count there were 4 at one time feeding from the ground.


The weather forecast predicts more snow, perhaps there will be enough to build a snowman next time?


Plans and Flu

Veg Garden Gate

For fear of sounding like a right old moaner, I refrained from blogging over the Christmas holidays about the lack of activity within the garden smallholding due to flu hitting our household the week before Christmas. I still cannot seem to shake it. Obviously when you have animals to care for their needs MUST be met everyday, even if you feel like you cannot lift your head from your pillow. Some mornings I felt just like that. A lot of people it seems were affected by this darn flu bug during the Christmas festivities, it really knocks you for six.

The mini orchard plans have come to a grinded halt as well as everything else. I wanted to get some sort of plan drawn up for the vegetable garden, the plot is so overgrown at the moment its hard to visualise where the vegetable beds will be just by looking at it. Im feeling a lot better than I did so I will try and get on with the plans which I think will help tremendously.


We are working on the theory of having 5 decent size beds, with one being a permanent bed and the other 4 rotating what we grow each year. How this will work in practise we have yet to see! I think it will help if  we work out exactly what our family are more likely to eat and go from there. It can be very tempting to grow as much as you can squeeze in, but im sure that would lead to waste which I would hate. Also, I dont wish to make the same mistake as last year by punching above my weight attempting crops that were just too difficult for a beginner. Of course they dwindled, shriveled and died and it left me feeling a bit deflated overall. But, I did have some success though!

So my plan for the next few weeks is to come up with some sort of drawing that I can refer back to when the time comes to clear the plot of brambles and nettles. Not all of it is going though, just the area we need for growing our vegetables. We are very lucky to live next to a mini woodland thats bursting with wildlife. I am hoping to see many butterflies this coming spring and summer and leaving the nettles and bramble wildpatch area will be the perfect habitat for some of our native species, and hopefully some good photographs!


Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope that the new year resolutions you may have made are not too difficult to stick to? I have not bothered this year, simply because I am so rubbish at sticking to them.

Anyway, happy 2009 xx