About this Blog
Officially we are the Wolds Woodland Farming Project, and we are a Permaculture demonstration project, but when I first started this blog, there were very few trees, and the ones that were there were pretty small, so I chose the title The Sustainable Smallholding instead. This blog aims to pass on some of the useful sustainable practices that I have learnt, and have actually tried for myself. As time has passed, the blog has focused more on the permaculture, reflecting its growing importance to me. Within the older posts there are articles on Beekeeping, Chickens, Forest gardens, growing vegetables, small scale wheat growing, and many other topics, but more recently the focus has been on the permaculture principles, and design that underpin what I do. With me about (January 2013) to become a tutor for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, that focus will continue.
I first became interested in Smallholding, and Self-Sufficiency back in the 1980’s. I was in the Infantry, doing endurance training in the Brecon Beacons. In Brecon there was an alternative bookshop, and in it I came across “The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency” by John Seymour. As it did for many others, the book opened a window into another world. A world where I could grow my own food, make my own things, and rely on myself.
Rather than leave the Army immediately, I decided to finish my time, save some cash, and earn a pension. This made owning a Smallholding, and living a more sustainable lifestyle, more attainable.
Things would have run to plan, except that just before leaving the Army, I became interested in Greyhounds. My thoughts of Self-Sufficiency were overtaken by a desire to breed and race dogs. We moved to Lincolnshire about nine years ago, set up our kennels, and I became a professional Greyhound Trainer. It was a mistake, but one that I had to make for myself. After a very short time, I started to grow my own food, eventually relinquishing my trainer’s license, to become a full time smallholder.
I grow fruit, soft fruit, vegetables, and firewood. I keep chickens and bees. I have kept sheep, but realise that I can be self sufficient in food with or without sheep, but if I want to grow trees (firewood), the sheep have to go. At the time of writing I’m waiting for my two rams to go to their new home.[Long Gone since I wrote this ]
I have been the Chairman of the Lincolnshire Smallholding and Self-Sufficiency Club (LSSSC) for three years. Their website is on the Blogroll. This is my last year as Chairman. Time for some fresh ideas. I was the Chairman of the Lincolnshire BeeKeepers Association, for a short while, but couldn’t support the way that beekeepers are taught to keep bees. I think that we are taught to keep bees like battery hens, and I don’t think that it’s good for them, or us.
I have run my smallholding for nine years, and am adapting it to be more efficient using Permaculture principles. I am currently (Summer 2009-Spring 2010) carefully thinking through what I want to achieve here, before completing a new design.
Autumn 2010 Update
Well the thought process for the redesign is almost complete. To clarify, the design for most of the smallholding is complete, and I started to implement the design at the Last Winter, with more of the work about to start. The smallholding is moving from a grass/annual vegetable system to one which resembles a woodland, based almost entirely on trees. The tree planting will probably take four Winter’s, probably ending Winter 2012/2013, but may be slightly less. Posts about 2009/2010 have already been written.
As of march 2011, we are one of the demonstration sites of the Permaculture Association (UK) LAND Project.
I have registered to do the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. Much of the evidence that will be used to support my work will come from within the blog. It will probably mean more permaculture in the blog, but I’m happy with that.
January 2013 Update
Well I passed my Permaculture Diploma, and am now heading towards becoming a diploma tutor. Things are certainly changing
I hope that it interests you too.