New blood

Hilary has decided to take up the blog!

As you know we moved to Somerset 19 years ago this august bank holiday both working in the NHS. I finally retired from a rapidly changing front line job on 30/9/15. I am the reluctant smallholder but love the animals and after putting several posts on face book some of my friends suggested a book would be a good idea but that would horrify my old english teacher, then another one said you should write a blog and knowing Clive had started one a while ago it seemed sensible to start with that.

If you are a friend of mine on face book you will see I had fun with the equines and suncream this morning and I won’t repeat it here. The big excitement is clive has registered our pigs for the Royal Berkshire Show, we are taking Pongo, Perdie, Bessie and Annie.over the next few posts I will introduce you to our team so when I talk about them you will know who it is, I aim to add their photos too, its a steep learning curve.



Langley Rounds – August 2014

I guess the title sums up my blogging prowess as no output for 5 months! However the warm Summer has restored my flagging spirits after the awful wet winter, in summary – from Bog to Dustbowl may have been a better title.

What have i achieved in the past 5 months after my ambitious set of objectives outlined in March.

  1. New Chicken house nearly finished
  2. Duck House Completed and now have flock of 10 Aylesbury ducks with hopefully 10 more about to hatch.
  3. Back garden has changed with 100m of poultry netting.
  4. Best lambing season with two sets of twins – 7 lambs in total
  5. Pig pen, made to fit the horse box,  was galvanised and put to good use at Bath & West in June with another outing planned for the local Melplash show on 21/8/14.
  6. Chicken incubation cupboard completed and been in full production for past few months as expecting the 5th hatch in the next couple of days.
  7. Still wrestling with Accountz program but have upgraded to their new release with incorporates cloud backup. The best accounting news is Rebecca has just started accountancy training for a large Rural accounting firm based in Exeter.

It is now 29/8/14 and I still haven’t published this post so lets bang out a few more words and commit it to the world!

I definitely feel it has been a bit of a hamster wheel this summer with more effort than I am comfortable with. However I look back and see how much new development we have undertaken over the past 12 months and realise we still have some way to go before we can coast along just enjoying the animals. In fact it was the arrival of Lacey (Rebecca’s horse) in May last year that unleashed a whole raft of unexpected projects mainly relocating the sheep and installing a lot more fencing. We now have a new stable in the field for the sheep and hay storage with surrounding fencing that allows me to drive the sheep through a ‘race’ twice a day. Even with a small flock it is so important to be able to isolate a single animal for treatment or treat the whole flock one at a time. The race forces the sheep into a single line and you can observe each animal every day I can now shepherd my flock properly!


New field shelter for sheep with custom race

I am obviously still learning this word processor as I have spent the last 1/2 hour looking for the word-wrap command to format he text around the picture! Ah well it looks as if it is on all the time so I will move onto the next picture and leave a space here!






Langley Rounds – March 2014

Well I guess I am learning this blogging thing slowly but I really wanted Langley rounds to be a diary of the smallholding.

If I am to achieve a diary I must update the blog more regularly!

So instead of looking back I will look forward to next month with some aims / plans and see if I have met my goals at the end of March.

  1. Build new Chicken shed for egg laying flock – block work started in Feb
  2. Build Duck House – 8’x4′ base and 4′ high – to be mounted on concrete blocks in back garden
  3. Fence backgarden for Chicken and Ducks
  4. Clear barn and prepare for lambing in April – Move Ginger out to Percy and Annie goes to Farrowing pen as hopefully pregnant
  5. Get Mobile pig pen galvanised in preparation for showing season
  6. Construct cupboard in poultry shed for incubator – Due arrival of 12 Aylesbury duck eggs for incubation in first week of March.
  7. Develop Product management  component of Accountz program so I can print stock available for sale on the blog – Recent upgrade of our Accountz program and 2 pigs butchers last week of Feb.

Well that is a start so I will publish this and try and update it regularly throughout March.

Here we go again it is now 27th March and I haven’t blogged but I have started some of my goals for March. Here is the chicken house under construction.


Langley Rounds – February 2014

River under pergola vine

River under pergola vine

Flooded patio

Flooded patio

Front Lawn under water

Front Lawn under water

Another bad start to the month with awful weather that has been splashed all over the national news. The above pictures demonstrate the rain water running off the hill above us and forming a river that flows around the side of the house and onto our front lawn. If we are foolish and don’t keep the path of this occasional river clear of leaves etc the water flows into our boiler house!!

The big news – our friends helped to lay some concrete on Saturday 8th so we can expand the number of chickens we keep and try and develop a sustainable meat flock.

Langley rounds – January 2014

Mr Big starts his rounds

Horrible wet, windy, Sunday morning but the the animals still have to be fed. Standard dress for my rounds standing next to my trusty Mule.

Alesbury Ducks

Alesbury Ducks

Our Alesbury ducks bought as ducklings from an auction at Sedgemoor in November last year. Currently housed in our ‘barn’ and allowed out into the fruit cage during the day

The Polytunnel in 'resting' mode

The Polytunnel in ‘resting’ mode

January in the polytunnel with only the peach tree visable.