Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

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Poultry & Waterfowl / Re: Looking for Production Pigeons
« Last post by macgro7 on Today at 09:51:45 am »
I have seen King (the show variety), Modena and Giant American Runt in Melton Market several times.
I could never find them on internet - but they must be there somewhere.
I could never find meat rabbit suppliers either, untill i met a lady recently who said she used to have 300 breeding meat does untill couple of years ago, not far from us as well!
Cats / Re: Vaccinating smallholding cats?
« Last post by Rosemary on Today at 09:41:34 am »
I guess it's the old argument of "my grandad ate fatty bacon and smoked 20 fags every day and lived to 99". There are always exceptions. Mine have an annual health check and vaccinated for FeIV and other stuff. So are the dogs (not FIV obvs). Ponies done for tet every two years (not flu).
You pays your money and you takes your chances. I vaccinate sheep every year. Why would I not protect my pets?
Many years ago I had a problem with a septic tank installation and contacted the Severn Trent Water Authority. They sent an engineer out to have a look at it- a very helpful chap who gave me good advice. There was no charge.

Whilst I'm sure the tank is fit for the house, especially as only one person is normally resident, there would need to be specified conditions to ensure the 'four person' capacity isn't breached. Pretty important as too much flow into the tank could lead to waste going into the soakaways and blocking up or ending up in a water coarse.
Introduce yourself / Re: New to this, based in Devon
« Last post by SabineLove33 on Today at 09:33:27 am »
Hallo and welcome,
I am new here as well. And I am really grateful for all the information I can find. :)
This source is helping a lot. Now I know much more about what to do with the land. It is really so important. There is so much to do with it. Amazing!
Techniques and skills / Re: Very steep stone track
« Last post by Dil in a Ditch on Today at 09:28:50 am »
Hi All
Thankyou all so much for your replies. Some interesting thoughts there.

I agree the surface looks good so scraping would not achieve anything positive.  Do you know how long ago it was last re-done?

Talking to both the landowner (who has only owned the land for a few years) and the previous owner of our place, I don’t think it’s been touched apart from a foot or so of concrete in one rut for probably 50 years. The last owner was there for 30 and said he did nothing to it, and the owner before that is widely known for neglecting the place (although he did have a digger so who knows . . . ) HIS mother, may well have maintained it as she sounded very proactive. She was a widow who farmed alone and was the first person in the area to have a tractor- and also a car - so the track must’ve been passable if she got up it in a little ford!

For general maintenance I would be thinking of hedging the bit on the left and cutting down the bracken on the right. This would help keep the track exposed to the sun and wind to dry it quickly. The hedge will be great for wildlife, but if done properly and kept wide and bushy, just not so bushy as at the moment, then it would still be good for wildlife but would not not obscure the track so much.  I assume it's the farmer's hedge and he perhaps already has a maintenance regime in place for it.

Yes, the hedge is the farmers, and to his credit he has planted a hedge from the bottom on the left land side, which will be laid when ready.
I can definitely try trimming/scything the bracken.
On the right hand side there is/was a dry stone wall (you can’t see it because of the bracken) I wonder if it puts the sheep off grazing?

I take it you are at the bottom of the track, hence everything wet collecting at your place.  Is there anywhere lower the water could be drained to? Establishing a pond below your house would help keep your ground dry. Is any lower land yours or the farmer's?

Yes- were at the bottom! We only have 3/4 acre, and every thing else is the farmers. There is marshy ground below us, and eventually a stream. I was thinking of digging a pond Below the house to take the run off from the roofs, so I’m happy to see this suggestion.

[/quote ]
We are having good success with using certain trees to help dry wet ground, species such as Alder and Willow, which grow fast and use up a lot of water in the process. As a side advantage, you get plenty of small wood for fires, poles and sheep fodder.  Our neighbour had complained that the water from our land was draining onto his, so demanded we clear the drains.  As that would simply have sent more water onto his land we soon convinced him that was not a good idea. Since we planted that corner up with Alder, Willow, wildflowers and someother trees there have been no further complaints from next door  :thumbsup: .  Next I shall have to persuade him to plant his bit with similar trees, rather than cultivate it to the very edge for maximum yields  ::)

Great idea, and apt too, as the name of our house we think translates as either Alder, or Bog.

The track does look good, The drainage seems a major issue but not on the track, rather where it ends up. Presumably the ditch is on the lower side of the track and sounds like it needs clearing. Is there anyway water from the ditch can be diverted onto the hill rather than all ending up at yours? It maybe worth getting in a drainage

Yes, I think you’re right. It’s mostly a drainage issue. One of the problems is the run off from the higher field to the left. The farmer has talked about draining the field since we moved in, which would not only be great for the track, but for our barn which is currently taking a lot of runoff too. I think he’s put it off because of the added complication that our mains water runs through the field , and then under the  Track. He’s worried about hitting it, so we’ve had the water board out to dowse for it’s location, but it’s still not been done.

Where to divert all the water is a big question. We can dig a pond as Fleecewife suggested, but are in a very wet area, so I don’t think it would be long before that would also need run off. I don’t know what the etiquette/ law is about draining onto other people’s land. I’m guessing not done?? Our soakaway is on his land already, so we do have some drainage rights.
The field below our land, which then borders a stream is pretty much a bog already, and some of the old Animal trackways (Bordered by walls) are underwater except in the driest weather.

I’m not 100% sure WHY the track is so slippy. Whether it is the stone when wet, or mud/sheeps**t . It is frustrating though, but also possibly why we could afford it!

Cats / Re: Vaccinating smallholding cats?
« Last post by Steph Hen on Today at 08:23:52 am »
How come cats have managed for hundreds of years but now they need all these jabs? Has the life expectancy increased much?

In particular, do outdoor cats really need a rabies jab?
Has anyone contracted rabies via their cat in the Uk? Or is this perceived problem?

Im sure vaccines saved some lives but I’ve talked to too many old people who told me about really old cats, dogs and horses they’d had until the animals were old. They talked about animals being inherited by other family members and then being  passed to them. When I looked at the human death certificates of my family this equates to these two cats being nineteen. Ponies of 35.
They do/did all agree spaying females was a blessing when it became available.
I'm adding a small residential caravan to the property to provide ancillary accommodation for the house for the following reasons:
1) I'm getting a new kitchen put in and have a fear/premonition that I'll rip out the current kitchen, lockdown will be put in place and I'll have nowhere to cook/eat etc for a few months;
2) It'll give me "an outside loo" for when I'm working out with the animals all day and don't want to have to "decontaminate" before coming into the house;
3) I'm a key worker and will have my recently widowed mother staying for a few months over the winter period.  I need somewhere that I can, if necessary, self isolate and/or socially distance myself if I show any symptoms;
4) My nonagenarian neighbour struggles to accommodate her nieces in her house when they come to visit so it will provide an option for them to be "on site, but out of the house" to take the stress off her; and
5) Occasionally I may need to get animal sitters in for me to take a couple of days away to collect my mother and bring her here or return her home.

This is not a separate dwelling and it won't get "heavy" use.

I'm planning to use the existing septic tank (which was upgraded a couple of years ago from the original concrete bunker) for the waste.

The planners have asked me to provide a letter of comfort from an insured professional that the septic tank is fit for the additional outflow.  I'm struggling with this because I have no idea "who" to ask for this.  I tried the company that empties the septic tank but they said they've never heard of this and I asked the chap who installed it and likewise he's not heard of this before either.

I can't see there being any problem at all with the tank because:
1) It's a 4 person tank and I normally live alone;
2) All the "flood tests" were conducted before we installed the new tank to ensure it was draining ok with no back up under "heavy water use"; and
3) As previously mentioned there's no real "additional outflow" given that it's the same people will be using the caravan as would use the house if I didn't have the caravan.

Any ideas?

If there's anyone on the forum that knows what this is about and would be willing to give the letter of comfort can you also make yourselves known please?  I genuinely don't think there's going to be an issue and am willing to put something in writing to say that if there is I won't hold whoever gives the letter liable.  If anything goes wrong and there is an issue, I'm happy to get the tank emptied more frequently and/or have space to upgrade to a larger tank/put in a second tank in the future.

It's a bit frustrating as the planners have already said that whilst they'll support the application it will only be temporary permission for the "current circumstances" and I'll have to justify it if I want to retain it beyond 2 years, so I don't want to go to massive expense if I don't have to do so.

I'm also in a bit of a hurry to get this all sorted out now as the kitchen fitter is booked for the first week of November and I have to get the old kitchen out between now and then as well as getting the planning permission sorted, the groundworks done and the caravan sited.

Any help very much appreciated!!!
Food processing / Re: Freezing fruit system/containers
« Last post by Backinwellies on Today at 08:02:37 am »
Nothing wrong with using good plastic freezer boxes ........... will last and last .......  also recycle icecream tubs (collect all neighbours icecream tubs ) ,   
Open freeze all fruit first before boxing and it wont stick together so you can just take out what you want. 
Cats / Re: Kitten hunting hens
« Last post by Steph Hen on Today at 08:00:31 am »
If the consequence is scary cats are 100% trainable. Decades ago a horrible group of scientists put individual cats in rooms. They put a bowl of food in the room. When a cat approached a food bowl they opened a fire extinguisher canister on it. Maybe water or co2 I don’t remember. The cats ran and hid. The food was replaced daily but all cats starved themselves to death rather than risk getting sprayed again.  :'( :'( :'(

Water pistol, stuff that makes big noise: stones in a water bottle that you shake. Run at them shouting.
I’m told my grandma used a 12bore for the job with great success and never to shoot the offending cat.

My husband’s cat is a character and a hunter; he kills pheasants and grown rabbits. My husband told him one time to leave my chicks alone, shouted at him, and he never touched or stalked them again.

It can be done :-)
Poultry & Waterfowl / Re: Wild laying!
« Last post by Backinwellies on Today at 07:55:41 am »
I have this problem every summer when the hay stack is just much more entising than the hen house .... I just try to find the stash and leave one egg (mark it so you know which one) .... they will then continue to lay in that place (until they decide somewhere else is better!)    That to me is the joys of free range!!!!  :innocent:

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