Anyone working a Smallholding here?

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Anyone working a Smallholding here?


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Old 28th April 2010, 08:56 AM
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Anyone here grow their own, keep animals/chickens? Just thought I'd throw that one out here as we're having thoughts of becoming more and more like our Galician neighbours in our community who all seem to have huertas. We've certainly got the land to do it. In fact, before we built on our land, it used to be a sheep field - and before that, corn, potatoes, etc etc.

I see how hard the neighbours and members of the family work - a cousin was telling us to keep a couple of cows OK for her who has grown up in that environment and looking after cows and the like is second nature to her. But a bit heavy duty to us, not to mention the changing times and the extra red tape these days when it comes to vet checks regularly, controls on milk etc etc. Too much headache, methinks. So really, thinking of the more daily/common small holding to make use of the land once more. I know it's really hard work - OH keeps pointing out that said family members love to work their huertas - you see them sometimes inspecting their produce and see the pride on their faces. He however is one for visiting the greengrocer and working the huerta would be more .... much more of a hard slog for him, and not a hobby.

I think the trouble is is that when we arrived there were still a few sheep and lambs around and I had to disappear with the kids when the slaughterer came - the lambs all had names and it was sad to see them go, but I think you get an appreciation of where your food comes from. You also appreciate the meaning of the word "fresh" when you do a roast dinner and taste the produce compared to that from the supermarkets meat counter. Also, in these difficult times, maybe it's a good thing to start getting back to the land. It's not that we need it, not really - our income is sufficient to not (have to) do it - but I do wonder how it would be to have the feeling of independence no matter what happens with the crisis. OH and m-i-l have many stories of Spain in the days when cash was a rarity with families in the country here - but although times were incredibly hard cashflow wise, food was rarely a problem due to people working the land. It must be a wonderful feeling to know that if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, your family won't go hungry because the land is producing most of what you need.

Hence my thoughts at giving it a go - to see if it really is a fantastic feeling or hell on earth knowing that the land is waiting for you to work it?? Any advice please, eg what size to start at, as I do already know that growing a couple of lettuces and a few tomato plants doesn't really give you the true experience. And on the other hand I don't want to plow up a 500m section of our land just to re-seed it again later and go around re-inforcing fences around next door for the sheep/chickens!!.

Tallulah.x
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Old 28th April 2010, 10:05 AM
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I am hoping to move to Spain in the next two months and have made arrangements to take over my daughters olive grove and garden. I am going to grow all our vegetables and fruit as for many years I grew everything we ate and have always longed to getting back to a big vegetable garden.
Chickens are first on my list as there is nothing that beats a freshly laid egg but that will be trial and error as I have never kept chickens.. although we once raised pheasants in the garden so I don't suppose it will be much different. I had thought of a couple of sheep but as we have a holiday casita on the land that will have to be a no no as we may have pregnant guests.. sheep and pregnant women are not good.
I like the idea of a goat... we like goat curry .. but you cant have one goat as they like company and would try and wander so I am now looking at the possibility of a couple of miniature goats but these are so cute I am afraid the grandchildren will make pets out of them , the boys would be fine eating them even if they have a name as they have been brought up with hunting, fishing and shooting but the girl is a different matter, she was collecting snails the other day to live in her dolls house as she thought it would be a nice home for them.


Years ago my farmer friend who raised beef would sell me a calf and raise it for me to be slaughtered and butchered for my freezer and the meat was incredible, we did not have meat that had been pumped full of antibiotics etc as my friends said.. I would not eat meat from a butchers as I don't know what the beast had been given in it's life time.


Go for it Tallulah it will be trial and error and fun... the first time I grew radishes I planted far too many at the one time and had about 2 kilos ready on the same day.., Peas and beans have to be picked everyday once ready and that can be a chore.
I used to grow new potatoes for Christmas day in buckets that I kept in the greenhouse without heat but frost free... lovely fresh new potatoes on Christmas day... a gift in itself.
On the down side there were times I would think to myself.... ohh I wish I could just open a can of peas for dinner lol.

Maiden




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Old 28th April 2010, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
Anyone here grow their own, keep animals/chickens? Just thought I'd throw that one out here as we're having thoughts of becoming more and more like our Galician neighbours in our community who all seem to have huertas. We've certainly got the land to do it. In fact, before we built on our land, it used to be a sheep field - and before that, corn, potatoes, etc etc.

I see how hard the neighbours and members of the family work - a cousin was telling us to keep a couple of cows OK for her who has grown up in that environment and looking after cows and the like is second nature to her. But a bit heavy duty to us, not to mention the changing times and the extra red tape these days when it comes to vet checks regularly, controls on milk etc etc. Too much headache, methinks. So really, thinking of the more daily/common small holding to make use of the land once more. I know it's really hard work - OH keeps pointing out that said family members love to work their huertas - you see them sometimes inspecting their produce and see the pride on their faces. He however is one for visiting the greengrocer and working the huerta would be more .... much more of a hard slog for him, and not a hobby.

I think the trouble is is that when we arrived there were still a few sheep and lambs around and I had to disappear with the kids when the slaughterer came - the lambs all had names and it was sad to see them go, but I think you get an appreciation of where your food comes from. You also appreciate the meaning of the word "fresh" when you do a roast dinner and taste the produce compared to that from the supermarkets meat counter. Also, in these difficult times, maybe it's a good thing to start getting back to the land. It's not that we need it, not really - our income is sufficient to not (have to) do it - but I do wonder how it would be to have the feeling of independence no matter what happens with the crisis. OH and m-i-l have many stories of Spain in the days when cash was a rarity with families in the country here - but although times were incredibly hard cashflow wise, food was rarely a problem due to people working the land. It must be a wonderful feeling to know that if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, your family won't go hungry because the land is producing most of what you need.

Hence my thoughts at giving it a go - to see if it really is a fantastic feeling or hell on earth knowing that the land is waiting for you to work it?? Any advice please, eg what size to start at, as I do already know that growing a couple of lettuces and a few tomato plants doesn't really give you the true experience. And on the other hand I don't want to plow up a 500m section of our land just to re-seed it again later and go around re-inforcing fences around next door for the sheep/chickens!!.

Tallulah.x
Simple answer - no!
BUT, we have grown tomatoes, peppers, courgettes etc from time to time. And, of course it's great to eat stuff so fresh and grown by yourself. Not only that, you know exactly what chemicals have or hopefully haven't been put on the plants. I haven't been tempted to expand our repetoire because we haven't got any land.
A pretty obvious way to go about it would be to go bit by bit and see how much you can cope with. So one year do potatoes and onions, and if that goes allright the next year you do potatoes, onions, broccoli,and broad beans. Or are you only interested in self sufficiency and no half way station?
Personally I would steer clear of livestock. As you've said yourself it's more problematic with vets, feeding, not to mention killing . Our fruit and veg guy had eggs for sale, but one family had a terrible experience with the whole family being hospitalised because of a salmonella infected mayonnaise. It brought up complex issues of responsibilities, loyalties, vaccinations, rights, higiene and the list goes on. Very upsetting and suffice to say we do not buy eggs from Alfonso any more and indeed I think he got rid of the hens.
Recommended reading -
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Driving-Over-Lemons-Optimist-Andalucia/dp/0953522709/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272446299&sr=1-1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Seymour_(author)


http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Complete-Book-Self-Sufficiency-Realists/dp/0751364428

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Old 28th April 2010, 10:57 AM
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Thanks very much Maiden and PW for all the info and advice.

I'm seriously toying with the idea of bringing sheep and chickens (maybe a couple of ducks and turkeys for Xmas) back to the land here - just got to go next door to m-i-l's place and walk around the perimeter, see where the fences need reinforcing. There's already housing for animals there, so that's a bonus - one less job to do!!

The time issue is a big one if we're going to do this seriously - if it was up to one of OH's uncles, we would have done this a couple of years back - he's not in favour of "gardens" at all and would rather we have all the land converted to produce. His poor missus has about a couple of metres square in the front of their house to grow a few flowers. And he's out there pretty much all day in all weathers until a very late lunch before his game of cards down the local. I agree with you both though on the flavour - it's amazing isn't it? We're usually the lucky recipients of bags full of stuff from the family and as I cook from scratch anyway, I've always been one for knowing what's going into the family's food.

Thanks again ladies!

xxx

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Old 28th April 2010, 12:43 PM
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Would love to, that's my early retirement dream (being born and bred on a farm!)

I just finished reading Driving over Lemons and immediately ordered the next two in the trilogy. Although we live in town we still manage to grow loads of herbs, tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumbers and lettuce/salad type stuff on our terrace. OH draws the line at my desire to keep chickens on the 8th floor though

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Old 28th April 2010, 01:01 PM
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Talullah if you grow herbs don't plant mint into the ground plant that in buckets... it takes over and the buckets keep it contained.




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Old 8th May 2010, 01:08 PM
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Tallulah, remembered some other stuff and found other other stuff and have put it on the new thread growing own produce.

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Old 8th May 2010, 01:48 PM
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Tallulah, remembered some other stuff and found other other stuff and have put it on the new thread growing own produce.
Thanks hon! I'll have a look.

xxx

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Old 9th May 2010, 07:03 AM
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Thanks hon! I'll have a look.

xxx
I'm thinkin' The Good Life, I'm thinkin' Tom and Barbara, I'm thinkin' Penelope Keith...

This is a very exciting idea and I would LOVE to be cultivating some of my needs in the garden. I reckon numbero uno don't bite off more than you can chew. No need to have a fully functioning farm in the first 6 months. I'm sure there is lots to learn. I couldn't cope with the cow or sheep (I don't want to have that close a relationship to my meat), but chickens are a doddle (my dad has chooks and they do well just roaming around the garden, chook pen at night).

But the thought of growing all my herbs, vegies, fruit and other lovely things wot emerge from the earth sounds wonderful!

You have to give it a go!

Suerte!


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Old 9th May 2010, 12:01 PM
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I'm thinkin' The Good Life, I'm thinkin' Tom and Barbara, I'm thinkin' Penelope Keith...

This is a very exciting idea and I would LOVE to be cultivating some of my needs in the garden. I reckon numbero uno don't bite off more than you can chew. No need to have a fully functioning farm in the first 6 months. I'm sure there is lots to learn. I couldn't cope with the cow or sheep (I don't want to have that close a relationship to my meat), but chickens are a doddle (my dad has chooks and they do well just roaming around the garden, chook pen at night).

But the thought of growing all my herbs, vegies, fruit and other lovely things wot emerge from the earth sounds wonderful!

You have to give it a go!

Suerte!
hahaha!! I'm not that posh!! I'm not afraid to ruin a manicure

Yes, I know what you mean about the larger animals - m-i-l used to have sheep - the kids named the lambs (sometimes one of the lambs would need bottlefeeding as well ) so we escaped from the house when it came to the "offing". They found them very tasty though. Gotta be aware too that you certainly don't need too many chickens - there's only so much baking I can do. Luckily a tio/tia has a bar so welcome as many eggs as they can get from the family for tortilla tapas.

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