Monday 2 January 2017

What Was And What's To Come

Another year commences on the ranch, our little homestead.
Its time to make lists of ideas
I am not one for making resolutions, but I like to make lists and get ideas down on paper.
2016 started as rough year with the loss of two of our Alpacas Daffodil and Liberty
2017 starts with finishing work on the Alpaca field shelter
Martin has spent the past few days up there getting down a concrete pad base, I haven't got an up to date photo, I haven't been well so haven't ventured across the fields. By the end of this week there shelter will be complete.
2016 saw us complete on another 15 acres of land increasing us to 20 acres in total.
2017 will see us getting hedges under control, clearing land replacing rotting fences, erected new fence lines,
2016 once again I hatched out new chickens to increase our flock
And the large Sussex breed I bought in eggs for turned out to be bantams.
2017 I am going to switch to Ross Cobb's a multi purpose bird, meat and eggs, plans are to have two units one for eggs and breeding, the second unit will be reared for meat birds.
On the subject of poultry this year we are going to raise Turkeys again and re-introduce ducks raised for meat and table.
2016 we bought in pigs our second time at rearing them
2017 February time they will be slaughter weight, we will remain piggless then until the autumn time.
2016 we borrowed Merlin to service the girls, it was a good opportunity to see if we wanted to keep a billy of our own, we decided at this moment in time its not for us.
2017 will hopefully see the addition of young kids on the ranch.
2016 has seen lots of new trees planted on the ranch
2017 will see the continuation of tree planting there is still 100 flowering cherry trees waiting to be planted, if anyone fancies a tree planting session your welcome 😀
2016 very little happened with the bees, after the loss of some hives to wasp attacks, we didn't replace them, we continued through the year with one active top bar hive.
 2017 we are setting hives over on some of the new land and will be buying in new colonies, we have 3 national hives ready to set up over there, the top bar hive will be left in the orchard area.
2016 I took on 4 runt lambs that came from triplets, bottle rearing them until they were ready to be weaned, they were raised until they reach slaughter weight.
 2017 we have decided we do some lambs again, but we need an indoor area first to rear them.
2016 Martin made a start on his workshop area, other pressing jobs took over and work came to standstill.
2017 will see the completion, he can then get all his tools and equipment moved in, clearing space in the barn, that can set up for rearing chicks and lambs.
2016 we erected a second poly tunnel and fruit cage, reduced down the amount of outside raised beds to 4 rotational ones and lots of pallet collar smaller beds, re homed the greenhouse that was now not needed, get rotational compost bins built,
2017 will see us utilise all this grow as much food as we can, preserve as much as we can and sell on surplices, the fruit cage still needs some work doing in it but at most it is now planted out.
Well that about sums up what has been and what is to come, there have been some lows and lots of highs, that's life,
but I have left the best bit to last.
May 2017 is going to be a very exciting time 
Martin will be coming home to live on the ranch, yipppppeeeeeeeeeeee
After nearly 3 years of only having a part time husband, he is going to be joining me in our little bit of paradise, he will still have to make trips back to see things for the business, but on the whole he will be here with me. 
I am so excited and really looking forward to May time. 

I hope you will all join us as we continue our journey of
 Doing It For Ourselves.






  1. Yes Dawn, I really have enjoyed armchair farming as I have say here reading about all your hard work. I hope all your plans come to fruition in 2017.

  2. Great post Dawn and the best bit is fantastic. I could not be more happy for you both. It has taken lots of graft and separation but in a few short months you will be there.

  3. Well done for making such progress, and wishing you continuing success for this year.

  4. Dawn what a wonderful post, I know not everything has been roses for you, but that is country life. To have Martin home will be perfect for you both, and you can settle down to life on your patch.
    I was re reading my 1st post yesterday, and I read loads of my favorite blogs, your included, you have come so far in your journey. I hope 2017 is everything you hope it to be.

  5. That all sounds amazing, really pleased that Martin is going to be there more as well. I bet he can't wait!
    I'm excited about your new bit of land as well, so many possibilities for it!
    Looking forward to reading what you get up to this year.

  6. An amazing year gone and a new one to look forward to and I shall be watching with interest.
    How lovely having Martin coming home-x-

  7. You've achieved so much in the past year, both of you - you on your own doing things that would make other women turn and run a mile (me included!), and Martin in the limited amount of time he has at home. I look forward to reading what you do this year. And brilliant news about Martin being at home permanently.

  8. You certainly saved the best til last! Every good wish comes to you as you embark on the next stage of your grand adventure-together. Hope you continue your recovery and can get outside again.

  9. What a year and, yes, lots of exciting things in the new one. Yee ha! Martin in May! What fun, now you will be able to share all your efforts and achievements. Good luck for everything.

  10. Very exciting news, Dawn 😄 I can fully understand your happiness. Honestly, I don't know how you've managed all that on your own when Martin is away!!

    RMan asked how many alpacas you have - your shelter looks excellent 👍👍

    Which cultivar of cherry tree are you growing? Grafted, or from pip? Want to sell 3-4 cherry trees???? We're unable to buy any saplings here due to the cherry growers cartel. Please mail me if you're interested.

  11. Quite a busy year! Best wishes from someone who enjoys reading about self sufficient lifestyles but is too disorganized to master.

  12. A positive year overall (apart from losing your Alpacas) and some splendid ideas for 2017, but as everyone has said, the best news is that Martin will be home with you. I bet he can't wait.

  13. You have accomplished so much in one year with Martin only being at home part-time. You will get so much more done (if that's possible) with both of you at home. Wishing you all the best in 2017!

  14. Am so pleased for you both. Everything comes to those that wait plus a lot of hard graft. Heres hoping it will ne another good year . Take care. Pattypan x

  15. Oh Dawn I'm so excited for you, both together at last!. You've done amazingly well and deserve success. All the best for 2017.

  16. I loved reading your years in review and preview Dawn! And I'm incredibly happy for you and Martin, with him joining you there. Lovely!

  17. You have done very well in your first year, well done to you both, it cant be easy with a part time husband. As someone who has been involved in poultry for nearly thirty years may I offer a little advice, Ross/Cobb are fast growing birds designed to be slaughtered at just forty days old, they are very hard to rear to laying stage as their body weight exceeds their leg strength many just die from heart problems, there are two birds that I can recommend, the Hubbard which is a slow growing strain and I believe you would be able to get them quite easily in Wales, then there is the Sasso, a French breed, again a slow growing strain but not so easy to come by. Both breeds are excellent meat birds and lay quite well, they also have a far better temperament than the Cobbs. I buy my Hubbards from a company called Annyalla Chicks,they have a hatchery in Wrexham.


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