Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hi… what am I in for?  (Read 1689 times)

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
Hi… what am I in for?
« on: April 22, 2022, 06:17:31 pm »
  :wave:

Hi everyone,

Currently in suburban London but waiting for our purchase of 16 acres in Durham to be completed, not far from Bishop Auckland.

The main purpose is horses. Initially only a couple but eventually the plan is to work with our daughter training and competing in Eventing. The land seems to be good for horses and there are several other equestrian properties nearby. It’s got a good southerly aspect, elevated but mostly flat and a little bit of woodland running down to a small beck.

There is certainly enough room for other things. We will probably have some sheep to help manage the land anyway but I am keen to grow some fruit and veg, have some chickens and bees and be generally as self-supporting as possible.
I’ve not run a farm or smallholding before but grew up in and around them in rural Australia… it”s almost like Northumbria isn’t it?

Also interested in what people have done for energy and efficiency. The place is currently on oil heating so we are keen to switch to solar/wind, maybe install a geo-thermal or wood-pellet burner. I guess we could look for a water source too if there is any advantage to that.

Looking forward to finding out lots more. If it’s all a terrible mistake I will just enjoy the views !

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2022, 04:08:16 pm »
Welcome, and yes, amazing countryside you have chosen. 


I’ve not run a farm or smallholding before but grew up in and around them in rural Australia… it”s almost like Northumbria isn’t it?


I am sure you meant that very tongue in cheek, as of course the answer is NO!!!  Australia is dry, Northumbria is very high humidity.  16 acres of Co Durham may not take very much in the way of livestock at all, depending on the type of ground it is. 

As an example, I moved from upland Cumbria to North Cornwall.  In Cumbria, 10 acres took 2 Fell Ponies and 2 Dales Ponies very comfortably, they pretty much managed themselves, didn't get fat and the ground didn't get horse sick.  Here in North Cornwall, I am constantly fighting the ponies' weight and most of the year, I have to keep my 2 Fells on less than an acre, following sheep so they go onto a short sward.   (So of course I also have to poo pick the ponies.)

There is a wholly off grid smallholding I know of in Co Durham, in Ireshopeburn.  Look up Ellie Langley, Fleece with Altitude.  Ellie makes felted items from the wool of her flock of rescue sheep.  I am pretty sure they have a small wind turbine (there are many of the little ones on farms across the region), and use a wood-fired Rayburn for heat and cooking.  Lots of farms will have boreholes.  The place I used to be (before the Cumbrian upland farm) was a moorland farm in SW Northumberland.  We had a borehole for water, and after I left they installed a system that burns logs which heats a massive water heat store.  They have been very pleased with it, and the house is now dry and comfortable.  They get a lorryload of trunks once or twice a year and hire a saw to chop it into the right lengths. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2022, 04:42:46 pm »
Do men wear shorts year round in Australia? -think it’s about the same  ;D
Welcome to the forum. Got to get some chickens as soon as you land  :chook:

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2022, 06:55:04 pm »
Oh you'll love it there, genuinely  :D
Before you decide on your heating system, please do your research carefully as all those you've mentioned have major pitfalls or just don't provide the heat you will need. For example, the wood for wood-pellet boilers is promoted as so environmentally good, but much of it comes from virgin forest on the US west coast, where they really don't seem to care about wilderness and of course it has to be imported a huge distance (the time spent on the sea doesn't get counted as 'miles' or carbon footprint). Ground source heat pumps don't seem to provide the heat you expect but there will be plenty of folk on here who have that installed and will have a better story to tell. I believe the air source heat pumps we are all supposed to install have some problems too. A Northumbrian winter is sooo much colder than the London equivalent - I live in Scotland and Northumbria isn't that much different.


You've certainly come to the right place for info and opinions on any livestock animal you are considering  :goat: :horse: :chook: :cow: :pig: :&> :llama:
« Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 06:57:18 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2022, 02:43:03 pm »
For example, the wood for wood-pellet boilers is promoted as so environmentally good, but much of it comes from virgin forest on the US west coast, where they really don't seem to care about wilderness and of course it has to be imported a huge distance (the time spent on the sea doesn't get counted as 'miles' or carbon footprint). Ground source heat pumps don't seem to provide the heat you expect but there will be plenty of folk on here who have that installed and will have a better story to tell.
We're in Carnoustie 10miles north of Dundee. Our house was built in 1887; when we renovated in 2010, we put in a GSHP and haven't regretted it. The house is comfortably warm all winter. BUT you must have very good insulation - we were able to do it because we took the house back to the stone walls and put in massive amounts of insulation. We have underfloor heating downstairs and we love it - no radiators required.
@Fleecewife That is a feckin' con if "sea miles" don't count.  :furious: :furious: :furious:
EDIT. We have a 4KW PV array for leccy.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 03:59:08 pm by Rosemary »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2022, 02:56:04 pm »
Yes I can speak to some of the heating alternatives, and with experience of the cold in the far north of England.

Here in North Cornwall, we find air source and ground source heat pumps work really well for us, BUT...

- buildings must be very well insulated (including good double or preferably triple glazing) and draught proofed.  We also have a heat recovery system in the ground floor of the building equipped with the air source heat pump.
- the boilers are pretty noisy, and the air source one in particular is very large and hence options for siting it were limited.
- it's still electric heating, so you need the electricity - and quantities of it - in the first place.  A small wind turbine wouldn't give nearly enough, and in Co Durham I think it unlikely that solar would deliver enough in the short, often overcast winter days.
- it works well here in North Cornwall, where very few winter days - or even nights - fall below 0C.  It works optimally with warm water, not hot, so I don't think it would be nearly enough for most of the winter in Co Durham or other northern reaches.  Maybe useful for maintaining "frost free" in parts of the house not used much, or where they aren't used much during the day and you are happy to augment with a woodburner in the evening.  (


But having lived in North Cumbria, I would go for a modern well-maintained Rayburn burning well dried hardwood, and / or look into the large water heat store type arrangement I mentioned above.  (Which latter can burn largely unprocessed softwood produced in the vicinity - Keilder Forest etc.) 


Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2022, 01:03:32 am »
For example, the wood for wood-pellet boilers is promoted as so environmentally good, but much of it comes from virgin forest on the US west coast, where they really don't seem to care about wilderness and of course it has to be imported a huge distance (the time spent on the sea doesn't get counted as 'miles' or carbon footprint). Ground source heat pumps don't seem to provide the heat you expect but there will be plenty of folk on here who have that installed and will have a better story to tell.
We're in Carnoustie 10miles north of Dundee. Our house was built in 1887; when we renovated in 2010, we put in a GSHP and haven't regretted it. The house is comfortably warm all winter. BUT you must have very good insulation - we were able to do it because we took the house back to the stone walls and put in massive amounts of insulation. We have underfloor heating downstairs and we love it - no radiators required.
@Fleecewife That is a feckin' con if "sea miles" don't count.  :furious: :furious: :furious:
EDIT. We have a 4KW PV array for leccy.

Flabbergasting, isn't it  :tired:  But the one that seems to be accepted business practice still gets me and that's 'carbon offset'. Pay someone to plant a few trees for you somewhere obscure and you can create as much pollution as you want. Surely we must stop the pollution AND plant the trees (the right trees in the right place)



"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2022, 07:39:36 am »
fleecewife .... do you have a good reference for the sea miles info please
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2022, 12:38:27 pm »
fleecewife .... do you have a good reference for the sea miles info please

Oh gosh, I'll scratch my head about that (but given what happened to the 70yo couple who previously had your place, I may not have long   :innocent: ).  I think it was probably one of the environment/climate change courses I did with Futurelearn and they've changed the 'freeness' of those courses so I no longer have access.  I'll see if I can find anything online, but we're in the middle of lambing and trying to get a bathroom sorted, so you could be best to search for it yourself, if you have time. I'll keep trying to remember  :thinking:


There's this though to keep you going: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/uks-carbon-footprint
Another way for the UK to slither out of owning up to its true carbon footprint.
Actually that probably covers the import transport costs of wood too, as it's basically generated offshore.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2022, 12:47:36 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2022, 07:47:01 pm »
Thanks all, lots to think about and I will browse the energy section to get ideas.

Sadly, I think every single other house we looked at had an Aga or Rayburn, not this one. But it was otherwise perfect so…

It is an old farmhouse which has been modernised fairly recently so I’m hoping insulation is OK, but if not we will certainly do that.

I guess the first step is to get an expert in to look at it and make recommendations.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2022, 07:58:49 am »
Thanks all, lots to think about and I will browse the energy section to get ideas.

Sadly, I think every single other house we looked at had an Aga or Rayburn, not this one. But it was otherwise perfect so…

It is an old farmhouse which has been modernised fairly recently so I’m hoping insulation is OK, but if not we will certainly do that.

I guess the first step is to get an expert in to look at it and make recommendations.

Check this website before doing lots to your old house. We’ve had issues (damp) around applying modern techniques to our old stone houses (especially around cement and ventilation) and I wish someone had flagged this info up to our family a long time ago.
https://www.heritage-house.org/

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Hi… what am I in for?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2022, 10:30:29 am »
Fab link, and yes, lots of folks all over the country still doing modern things to old buildings and causing lots of problems by clogging the houses' pores so they can't breathe.  It is probably worth getting an assessment of the refurb done by the last owners, you may find you need to undo some of it...
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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