Yesterday we attended a barbecue. It was arranged as a get-together for smallholders, so we felt a little bit as if we were gatecrashing (although we had been invited). However, the general consensus was that, in essence we do have a smallholding… it’s just very small! The key factor seemed to be our chickens – everyone felt that livestock tipped the balance from garden to smallholding! And, indeed livestock were the focus of the barbecue – the other smallholders provided lamb, hogget, burgers, rabbit and pork. All most delicious and all home produced, with the animals lovingly cared for (except the rabbits!) and slaughtered either on the holding or at a local small slaughterhouse with minimal stress. It almost goes without saying that there was plenty other home-produced fare too: bread, salads, egg, brawn, cake, Eton mess, brownies and, of course, our cheesecake.
It was an absolute delight to share time with like-minded people, eating good food, plus we got a tour of the host’s beautiful (full-size) smallholding – sheep, river, Edwin the dog and some fabulous old trees.
As seems to be increasingly the case in my life, this was another gathering resulting from social media contacts. It has become remarkably easy to make connections with like-minded people if you put a little effort into it. Almost everyone who attended had connected via Twitter… who would have thought that 140 characters could lead to so many good things?
So, back on our “tinyholding” today we return to harvesting and tidying up the garden and limery in preparation for the winter, but feeling that we are part of a community doing real things to make a difference to food production and leading lives that are a bit kinder to the planet.