We are Kate and Ali. We have put this blog together so friends and family can follow our progress in our new smallholding venture. We have been keeping pigs and chickens on a small scale in Derbyshire for 2 years now. Last September we bought a 15 acre field in Worcestershire and we will be moving down during April / May this year to start Willow Farm.

Kate will be working full time on the Willow Farm enterprise. Ali will be working full time and then coming home and working a bit more!!

We are passionate about preserving utility breeds and will be farming pigs, poultry and sheep as well as some small scale fruit and veg … oh and the bees if we can find some nice Worcestershire bees (we keep bees in Derbyshire but have been advised against moving them around the country).

Progress on Willow Farm so far has been:

– Christmas camp where we woke up to a white christmas and met quite a few of the neighbours who have all been really friendly

– Tree planting where Kate along with her Dad and Sister Emma planted 200 willow and ash trees in a day (with a bit of a blizzard blowing!)

– Fencing, we now have a secure ring fence and are waiting for the completion of the internal fencing

– Fruit and Veg…so far we have planted raspberries, black current, red, current, white current, gooseberries, rhubarb, onions, garlic, shallots and first early potatoes. The soil is wonderful to work with – light and sandy. We are incorporating plenty of well rotted manure to try to help with water retention.

Next steps are:

Barn          We need somewhere secure to store animal feed and machinery before we can move livestock onto the farm

Borehole   There isn’t any water on the farm at the moment, so we will be drilling a borehole

The Move We don’t have any pigs at the moment, but the move is still fairly complex with equipment like the little red tractor and livestock (chickens) to move with the minimum of disturbance.

Kate is helping some friends with Lambing in Derbyshire during April, so that kind of complicates things. Ali starts her new job in Worcestershire on 19th April so will be moving down first.

Kate’s Mum and Dad are being great and have said we can stay with them until we figure out where we are going to live!!

We will keep this blog updated with progress on all fronts, so feel free to subscribe or just drop by every now and then.

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