The Nests Little Smallholding came about by total accident. I believe a lot of 'animal addicts' say the same! For us it started 3 years ago with Dotty, an adopted orphan lamb who came from a farm down the road...
Dotty was a small triplet with no life or strength what so ever and her chances of surviving were very little. We bottle fed her every couple of hours and she lived in a box in front of the wood burner. The children enjoyed caring for her, but I wasn't sure what Dotty's future would hold. I returned home one afternoon to find her bleating and stood quite proudly on the dining table! Her 'bed' was then swiftly moved outside, into the children's wendy house, where she learnt to knock on the door to demand food and begun to terrorise the postman!
From that moment on, she quickly became a "proper lamb" and I knew that in order to keep her, we would need some land. I found a small plot of land, not far from where I grew up as a child and there Dotty became a real sheep, with a Shetland Pony that we also 'acquired,' for company!
Next came a few chickens for fun..... and we didn't stop there! We wanted to add to our 'flock of 1' and bought in a rare breed, small flock of Oxfords Downs. The good life had started to consume us, it was only natural that the next step was to buy 4 piglets! I still to this day can't explain the journey, reasons, why, or even how we've ended up as self proclaimed first generation farmers. Farming had took over every aspect of our life, along with any sanity, sleep, spare time or money we had!
I fully believed that our own, home reared pork was something special, so I decided to have a stall on the local farmers market. I sold out... time and time again! It was clear I was right and people were in search of high quality, locally sourced, ethically reared meat.
Since our journey began with Dotty the orphaned lamb, I have finished life as a teacher, we have just over 50 acres of land, a large flock of sheep (both commercial and rare breeds), cattle, goats , pigs and far to many poultry to do a 'cluck count.' Our smallholding is based on Greenhead Estate in the stunning countryside around Pendle. We have livestock buildings to lamb, kid, farrow and rear, along with paddocks for our animals to free roam. We like to think we farm ethically and produce top quality meat as well as pedigree, pure breed livestock to sell, along with poultry and hatching eggs. Quality and care is our ethos and the animals lead us, rather than us leading the animal.
The Nests is a true family affair and our children Billy and Dolly both get stuck into farm life and help out, with baby Peggy watching from her pram... or wheelbarrow! Being in the farming industry, as well as being a parent, a hobby cook and a teacher, I realised that there was a huge missing link between food produce and children. I put my teaching head on (along with my wellies!) and started a campaign "Thought for Food". This is something I'm very proud of and passionate about; educating the children of today about farming, agriculture and where our food comes from.
I have designed lesson plans and activities around farming, agriculture and food, so children can be educated in these important areas. One of my livestock barns has been converted into a rustic classroom, 'The Coop,' and I invite schools visits for children of all ages and also home education parents & children to come along for learning sessions.
Here at the smallholding we are an open gate policy, where you can come to look and see for yourself just how the food produce and eggs you buy are raised. May I take this opportunity to thank you for popping on to our site and hope to see you up on the smallholding.