avenue 2014On Saturday it was nevruz – the Persian new year and spring equinox. It was also the day one year ago that I started this blog.

Hens and waterpoint

I had just had (yet another) operation and I needed something to do. I wasn’t feeling very well and couldn’t read or think or work. But I could take some photos and write a few sentences. And so after thinking about it for a few years, I finally got round to starting this blog.

alpacas and hens

I wanted it to be a way of recording all the changes and developments we are making on the campsite and smallholding. I am not good at keeping notes on our animals or garden so it is also a way of keeping track of when things happen, how we could do things better in the future etc. Lastly, I wanted it to be a way of keeping in touch with family and friends who are far away.

dogs by gate

Big changes have happened in the year since these photos were taken. In no particular order in the past year we have done the following new things:

  • raised up turkey chicks from eggs laid by the turkey hens

turkey chicks4

  • had a turkey chick birthday party

kids and chicks2

  • hatched our own silkie chicks




  • hatched some Ixworth chickens (and one-blue egg layer) in my new incubator

incubator setupall the chicks

  • failed to hatch rhea eggs
Rhea eggs with hen egg

Rhea eggs with hen egg

  • Cuddled Inky Dinky Doo

photo 3

  • Had hats made by a friend from our own jacob wool


  • Had our alpaca fleece spun
Inky Dinky Do being shorn

Inky Dinky Do being shorn

alpaca wool

  • said goodbye to the Suffolk sheep via the knackerman

naughty sheep

  • got 4 more Jacob sheep

new sheep4

  • tupped our four older Jacob sheep

Ram and ewes2

  • started keeping bees
  • undertaken an artificial swarm and made another colony
Frame with honey, pollen and uncapped brood

Frame with honey, pollen and uncapped brood

  • lost the original queen
  • successfully overwintered the bees
Bees on an old frame

Bees on an old frame

  • built two sheep shelters

James making the sheep shelter

  • Built a chicken palace

hens and new shelter

  • Built two sheds
  • started building our toilet block

toilet block foundations

  • got two new kittens


  • took Mao to his wonderful new home in Bristol with our lovely friends


  • cured streaky and back bacon, made pancetta, spalla, speck and guanciale (although one batch of bacon and pancetta suffered somewhat from maggotgate) – currently waiting on the proscuito (squeak squeak)

baconrolled pancetta

  • started hot and cold smoking all sorts of goodies

In the smoker2

  • kept large black and British Lop pigs
Happy pigs eating apples

Happy pigs eating apples

Nearly all in

Nearly all in

  • started selling our sausages and bacon from our own free range, very happy pigs


  • planted more than 50 trees (not including the 20 I did this weekend)
Apple trees that I will later train along wire as cordons - they are for eating and cider!

Apple trees that I will later train along wire as cordons – they are for eating and cider!

  • managed to survive in vegetable and fruit terms largely on our own produce – I love bananas and avocado too much to give them up.

tomatoes and cucumbers

  • Cut back the old copse and started its transformation into a new woodland space


  • Had a new roof put on the house

front of house

  • Visited Scotland on holiday

Splashing in the waves

  • Kainaat started competing in trials and qualified CDex


  • had visits from and visited lots of our lovely friends and family

Across the divide2kids picking

  • Met some lovely new people on the site, online and elsewhere
  • Had a great time on the campsite with all the wonderful people who come to stay – including getting lots of help feeding the animals and collecting eggs

feeding alpacas

  • Managed not to have another operation – although that is looking like it will change on Thursday…..

Looking forward to another year of adventures …

And last but not least thank you to everyone who joins us for the ride ….

13 responses to “Nevruz

  1. Really enjoyed that Claire – and added to all that – how the children have grown!! See you very soon x

  2. I feel exhausted just reading this! You should feel proud of all that you have done, and we as friends get to visit and reap the benefits – lucky us! Xx

    • luckily we have lovely friends who not only help with the whole made animal/campsite thing but also help us relax in between – looking forward to seeing you all

  3. So impressive. Makes the rest of us look bad! Hope both of you keep your health up and rest when you can.

  4. That’s an impressive year by anyones standards! I sincerely wish you all the very best on Thursday. You realise we are all turning up on Saturday, so lots of help is at hand as well as a Site Nurse 🙂 Just ask xx

  5. You two are really making this dream come more alive with each year. I am so impressed. Thank you for the review of this last year in photos and words. It makes it more real for me. Take care of yourselves and each other in the midst of the intense doing. And keep us informed of surgical future. Hate that this is happening again for you, dear one. Much love.

  6. That was one busy year! Congratulations on all your achievements and good luck with your operation, whatever it is!!

  7. Pingback: Vernal Equinox | smallholding dreams·

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