• Emma Bennett

Paradise Found - Collections


Since we started this project a number of years ago, it might seem from the outside that some decisions recently that we've made have somewhat spiralled into us collecting a large number of items and animals all for the move to North Wales.

Let us explain these choices, as they might seem like we got all excited and run away with ourselves....

Changing our current lifestyle to where we live on site with all the animals and nearly 5 acres is a huge change. Not only will we have enough space for us, the dogs and my growing plant obsession but we will have space for all the animals and a few more. We will be able to wake up and let the chickens out in our slippers, and then put them to bed with a beer in hand. Some might consider these life goals as rather limited in view but not us, we can't wait.

When we do arrive a huge consideration is the land management. We have learnt a lot from having our little spot in Hale Barns. Not only have we conquered weeds but we've learnt how to lay out the site. We've learnt to adapt to the site and use the land to be best used. So while we seriously consider the management of 5 acres we did come to one conclusion and that was we don't want to spend hours and hours cutting grass.

This is why for those to follow us on Facebook will have seen us getting to know some animals.

We already have the geese, they are great for cutting grass, but we'll need something slightly larger to combat the number of paddocks we have. I had originally never considered horses, but after talking to the owner of a local pony sanctuary for rescued ponies about managing his field, and the need to rotate the horses to new pasture I began to consider our place. Needless to say after talking to him about his horses we agreed that we could have two. Now at this point Steve knew nothing about these two boys, so after a brief conversation which involved Steve laughing out loud. Steve came to meet them.

Thor and Hercules are cobs of unknown breeding, unknown age although they are still babies under 1 year old. They were dumped in a field by a breeder who clearly cares very little for the ones he's bred and has no interest in. The sanctuary owner often gets a phone call from these breeders to collect unwanted horses. Obviously he can't take them all but on this occasion took the four babies in. These guys are going to join us in Wales. They are there for company, but primarily are there to graze the grass which is what our land needs to manage it effectively. What they convert the grass too and deposit is perfect manure too! A perfect arrangement if you ask me. But then I would say that wouldn't I!

Then there is the back field. A mass of old grass, deep clumps, reeds and well, just lots more grass. The land hasn't been grazed or managed for many years and isn't suitable for many types of animal and requires something quite unique. Hence our trip out to see Highland cattle. It was a small holding course designed to tell us everything we needed to know regarding raising cattle. We can't accommodate a large fold (fold is the term used for highland rather than herd) but we can accommodate a few. They are accepted as light grazers for rough ground and can be used on sites of special scientific interest and conservation which means finding additional land if we want to opens us to a wider range of options.

Our goats (arriving very soon!!) are called Nelson and Victoria. Brother and sister pedigree Anglo Nubians from the bloodline Klimova. Due to the rarity of the bloodline being sold we jumped at the chance to buy these two beauties. They are going to form the start of our herd which will provide us with milk, cream and cheese. They will also eat some of the tougher plants and weeds that will crop up which the horses wont touch.

Another pair who will be joining us are Duchess and Queenie (not our names), two Kune Kune pigs. Their job will be to clear some of our areas of brambles and then rotavate the ground for us leaving it suitable for planting up. Pigs are the ultimate machines at effectively clearing ground, far better than any petrol driven machine and much quieter and easier for us.

So despite the investment of getting cattle and other animals, the equipment and the shelters taken into account we'd rather do that than invest in machines and do that back breaking work ourselves. Each species we are getting, as well as being something about which we care deeply and will enjoy the company of, has a job and will help us manage the land or provide us with a food product.

So..... anyway..... back to the reality of buying and selling houses. Our solicitor is doing a sterling job and chasing us lots of information. There are some unique details about this house to consider so we are now planning what we need to get to grips with.

White we await some final details we expect a date soon. Everyone is still moving forward. For us however it still feels like we are standing still. In the mean time we are still learning about the animals we will keep. Books have been bought and advice sought. Here's to a steep learning curve!!

#horses #highlandcattle #smallholdin #movin

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