If life gives you lemons…. start a smallholding!

Someone told me once that if you don’t have a plan, you will always be part of someone else’s. But what happens when you do have a plan – and then things don’t quite work out as you expected?

The survivors!

Historically Lady Luck has not been our friend. When we first dipped our toe into farming life – and bought 4 store lambs for fattening, we lost one within a month or so due to fly strike. Then late last autumn, completely out of the blue, one of our pedigree Oxford Down ewes fell ill and despite reassurances from the vet and a few precautionary jabs, things quickly went downhill and by morning we had lost her. She was in lamb too. Such a bugger. And then to top it off in December our other Oxford ewe aborted her lamb. Tests were done on both but no clinical cause identified. And finally to add injury to insult our remaining 3 ewes never produced anything either – a year’s work down the drain and yet another case of our bad luck.

But then it struck me – this isn’t about luck, this is real life; the reality of farming. We all make mistakes – some bigger and felt with more impact than others – but that’s just the way things go. You can let it wear you down or simply learn from it and move on. Taking strength in knowing you (hopefully) won’t make the same mistake twice and most importantly remembering that we only become victims if we allow ourselves to be.

So casting aside all doubts – and banning the use of the phrase “well that’s just typical – things never go right for us” now is the time for us to get off our bums and carve out the path to our own future. A future that I am sure, for Robin and I, will be full of escaping birds, wind damaged barns, always earthing electric fences and an endless stream of hefty repair bills for our rusty old Defender but at least it will be our future. A result of our passion, our shared goals and our focus that no matter what – because we want it and work for it – we will get there in the end. Sod the luck.

In other news this week, despite our collection of fertile La Bresse eggs being ‘re-purposed’ by the father-in-law we are now back on track with the incubation. Robin is getting started transforming an old shipping container into a rat-safe haven for the newly hatched and unearthing an old chicken tractor that we found buried under years of twisted brambles in the woods. We plan to hatch out pure breed La Bresse, Indian Game Fowl cross Brahma and Buff Orpingtons. We are also keeping a close eye on our geese and hoping they will turn broody soon. But who knows, the winds may change and we may have to re-think our plans but if they do I can promise you one thing, if anyone dares to mention ‘bad luck’ to me, I may just hand them some lemons.

Hilary x

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