For the first time in a long time, I walked outside and smelt the very strong and heady scent of wood smoke blowing down from the chimney. Today seemed the appropriate time to light the first fire as we begin the descent into winter. There is a cold wind blowing from the North today, a sudden turn from the warmer sun earlier in the afternoon. It was warm enough that it had both me and Steven getting down to T-shirts only as we carried on creating our tree surrounds outside on the driveway.
I feel somewhat different about this coming winter, a bit more prepared perhaps. The hay store is not filled this time round, we will be buying it as we need it from our very helpful and local Dairy farmer. He always has some in stock and has never let me down. Even last year when hay was like rocking horse poo to come by thanks to the heat wave that swept across our island. No, it is not that aspect that makes me feel more prepared, it's the land.
Our first winter here was horrific. I won't lie, nor will I tell anyone it was anything different to make the idea of moving to a smallholding sound idilyc, as it sometimes looks these days. No, it was horrid. It was stressful. Quite frankly I slopped about in mud, everywhere was brown and wet. Nothing was clean. We slipped about outside, the dogs brought so much mud in (as we did also but its easier to blame them, they didn't even wipe their paws) that mopping was more like pushing mud around on the floor and took ages. Plus there was no point putting towels down, we didn't have a washing machine.
No this year is different. There is some mud about, there will be more. Livestock create it wherever they wander and if they don't create mud they poo..... Welcome to the reality of smallholding. This year however begins to come to a close differently. I have enjoyed planting in the front garden. I have plants that actually made it into nice pots outside rather than just about surviving the odd watering in the lean to greenhouse. I have grass, lots of grass! so much that we got sheep and plan to get more this winter. I have laid out gardens, which despite needing one huge massive weeding session the layout is there.
We have a wood store full of pallet wood, chopped ready for use, the goat barn has been started, and we have created another building with an enclosed yard ready for use in October probably. I can't say who is moving in with us yet but it is very exciting!
Our business The Clean Goat Soap Company is doing really well and the feedback we have had from customers has blown us away!! I hope all those who read this blog will pop over to the sister site to have a look. www.thecleangoatsoapcompany.co.uk. It is the culmination of 3 years hard graft, building up the herd, milking our own girls this year for the first time. Building the dairy, which is now undergoing an upgrade so that will be fun to share with everyone..... We have finished the court case which some of you may be aware of, if your not the previous blogs might give you a flavour, and perhaps one day I'll write another and give you all the gossip about that journey.
So whilst the bad weather will still come, the nights are going to be getting colder, we are ready for it this time. The animals are all set to pass winter of 2019 of cosy and warm, and if we can get the goat barn built and finished then we really will be super happy and in an even better position to expand The Clean Goat Soap Company next year.
For now, hopefully I will get some time in front of the fire and an opportunity to go shopping for seeds to begin growing plants for The Blue Cottage Plant Nursery. My passion for gardening and plants is about to have the opportunity to explode, but in a good way.