James & I moved into Snarestone in 1991. We loved the house even though it was a wreck! The house was important but we knew we could improve it and make it into a lovely home but the position of it was more important. We had to have a beautiful outlook. We had to have a feeling of space and fresh air. It was vital. We were both working hard and long hours and we needed to have the feeling of fresh air and be able to relax. It was perfect.
As the children arrived very soon after the fields became even more fun. The children (especially Ben) loved to see the farmer ‘muck spread’ cut the grass, baling was always a favourite, and then the cows, of we have watched hundreds of them and calves were wonderful.
We, and most of our neighbours over the years have been worried about the future of the fields and as we hear constantly that we need more and more houses and more and more farmers are selling fields to keep their livelyhoods going it has become so important to us all to preserve what we have here.
We were very surprised to be offered the option to buy these precious fields, and hugely honoured as well. We didn’t think twice and begged stole and borrowed what we needed to buy them. It was the most wonderful thing to be able to walk the dogs in the fields and a pleasure I feel almost everyday. The wet year we have just had has been a challenge to us all!!
I was determined not to let the fields just be to look at and set about finding some ex battery hens to go with the four family chickens we had bought a few months earlier. A neighbour and part retired farmer was encouraging us all the way and so our first hen house, called the Eggatorium was purchased and 10 very sad looking ex bats were rescued.
It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Each morning I would open the door to the most excited hens I have ever seen. They couldn’t wait to stretch their wings and run around even though they looked the saddest and poorly ragged things I have ever seen. They gave us eggs each day for the majority of their lives. They sadly seem to be exhausted and just die without any reason, but I know that however long they last with us they have had the best part of it in the freedom and joy of being free as they should, and that really feels good.
Right from those days our great farming friend Harold has been behind us,encouraging us and so we added pigs and then Alpacas and ducks to our growing family and our smallholding was born.
I bullied my hubby into buying a rather large greenhouse and make raised beds in the first pig area and we now have a very productive allotment area. We still have so many things to add, I have fruit trees and wild flowers and bees to add yet!!
All of these things have completely changed our lives. We realise that food grown as it should tastes better than anything you buy that has been picked before its time and has travelled for days. Our natural pork is the best we have ever tasted, it is slowly matured and we feed them well but they live as well as they should with fresh air and rooting well, and the meat is delicious.
Whilst this all takes a lot of time and effort each day I can honestly say that I have never regretted starting this little venture and hope you will enjoy the fruits of our labour as much as we do.