Friday, 1 January 2010

Review of The Year 2009 - Part One

Resourceful sea-dog (Engineer) and hard working city chick (Retail Manager) (Married) wishing a radical life style change, seek 3 bed property with space to live the ‘good life’ (veggies and chickens), ideally in a rural setting or on a farm in the Oxford, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire area. Willing to upgrade and refurb property in return for a realistic rent. Contact the old sea-dog (Alan) on ----------- or e-mail -----------
These words, printed in the Farmers Guaradian in October 2008 changed our lives forever. The advert ran for 2 weeks and was replied to by our lovely Landlord and his wife and the rest, as they say, is history......
We arrived on the farm during the last week of January 2009, driving up this farm track with our cars ladened with all our worldly belongings. We brought with us just three animals, our two cats Toby and Archie, and Sophie our Border Collie dog. February saw us deep in snow at the beginning of the month, decorating the house, exploring our new landscape with the dogs and then after the thaw, with Jasons help we sprang into action digging out the first of our raised beds, tidying the area around the house and generally making our presence felt on the neglected land.

The animals settled in well, with Toby choosing to live in the barn and Archie sleeping on top of the kitchen units. Sophie arrived an unfit ten year old 'townie' dog and gradually after lots of long runs, free to roam wherever she chose, she developed into a fit, athletic proper Border Collie, she learnt to laugh and roll on the grass, feeling the freedom and loving every second.

March saw us doing the first of our Farmers Market stalls at the Village Hall, making new friends and joining in with village activities. We cleared around the ponds and planted flowers and vegetables. We went on the first of our Chicken Courses with the delightful Francine Raymond of Country Living fame, and decided that this would be the way to go. We planted the first of our fruit trees in little pockets around the farm.
And we took a step back and surveyed what we had accomplished in two short months of hard work.

The sun shone in April and the tyres we had filled and planted during March flourished and we ate the first of our own crops, mixed salad leaves that grew SO quickly. Alan won the Easter Bonnet competition at the Farmers Market and we had planted out three raised beds of potatoes.

We used an old swing frame and climbing frame as a bean and pea support and planted and netted them both. Our chimney was swept out as I had lost my battle with the rooks that built an enormous nest in it. The month ended with our new planted apple trees bursting forth with the buds of blossom and the promise of what was to come. By the end of April life was getting more organised, we had unpacked all the main things in the house the living room, bedrooms and one bathroom were decorated, the veggie crops were growing and the animals were settled. Time then to start on the next stage................. Sue xx


  1. A very Happy New Year,Sue!
    I hope 2010 is as much fun for you!

  2. Oh wow, you guys were very busy last year. Can't wait to read the next installment! Happy New Year. Sue x

  3. Oh Sue this is so inspiring - I'd do it but my old sea dog is simply that a sea dog through & through ( out Laser racing in the freezing as I speak! )

    I love your bean frames !!! Please give me some tips as I plany veggies for the very first time !

    Happy (& produtive) New Year to you !

  4. You have done so amazingly well in such a short period of time - can't wait to see what you achieve this year!

  5. How great to see the huge amount of progress you have made in less than a year. Putting an ad in the paper was a stroke of genius, what a great thing to do and such an adventure, well done you guys!
    Sarah x

  6. Happy New Year Sue. I hope 2010 is as productive as last year. You've achieved so much. I'm looking forward to seeing all that this new year brings for you.
    Bertie x

  7. What a great review! I hope 2010 brings you much luck and happiness!

    Best wishes BH x


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