As we’ve been farm sitting for the last couple of weeks, it has been a great opportunity to see just what is involved in running a full time smallholding. Something that quickly becomes apparent is just how time consuming all this animal and vegetable nurturing can be – especially during a dry period when there is a lot of watering needed.
Currently this all has to be done twice a day –

  • Feed, muck out and shift horses from yard to field and vice versa.
  • Feed chickens, collect eggs, clean out (not every day).
  • Water huge polytunnel, harvest what is edible, tidy round, weed.
  • Water smaller polytunnel, harvest what is edible, tidy round, weed.
  • Water outside beds, weed, tidy up.
  • Plus sorting bedding and feed.

It takes a fair while, and as the summer comes, more work will be needed to maintain the veg plots. I can imagine that scaling the outside growing spaces up, and adding a few more animals will ensure that we have little time to do other work.

Something that has arisen from this and which bothers me, is the sheer amount of water required to keep everything from curling up and dying when its warm. Here in Bangor there was no significant rain for almost a month, and while our personal water usage can be kept to a minimum, the veg and the animals demand a lot, lot more. It is going to require a pretty enormous container, which in turn has to be fed from a roof, and so isn’t necessarily near the place the water is needed. So we’ll need a pump, which of course has to be – off grid.
Just another question, and another challenge to overcome….