Smallest Smallholding Magazine Article

Home Farmer Magazine Article

If you get your hands on a copy of this month’s (July 2008 edition) Home Farmer magazine, on page 14 you’ll see my mug (and Yoko the chicken) staring back at you. Scary!!!!

Home Farmer is a brilliant magazine – it’s relatively new and at the moment is only available in independent newsagents by request, or stocked in WHSmiths. It’s a mag for kitchen gardener, allotment holder, smallholder or veggie enthusiast, and a good read. Naturally, I suggest you go out and get yourself a copy! I basically wrote the article in order to give my perspective on how the whole Smallest Smallholding idea came into fruition. I also wrote about my take on trying to live the Good Life, what it’s like being a “not the norm” (despite the fact that being a bit self-sufficientish is en vogue now, apparently) 25 year old vegetable growing wildlife enthusiast, a bit about my ex-batt hens, and how the world of blogging has introduced me to so many like-minded people*.

Actually, the whole blogging experience so far has been brill. I actually feel now that I am far from a weirdo outsider, that there are actually others out there that are my age, doing similar things and enjoying similar interests. It’s not a case of looking to other people for confirmation that my hobbies, interests and take on life are OK. It’s about sharing experiences and being able to engage in some sort of dialogue – whether face to face, via email or just a short comment on a blog – with other people that I can connect with. And I love the fact that vegetable growing, gardening, smallholding, home farming – whatever you want to call it – reaches out to so many people.

magazine article page 2

A while ago I blogged about how Facebook depressed the hell out of me. How I felt like I was supposedly missing out on living the high life in London, questioning whether I was going to feel unfulfilled or lacking in some way for not going in that direction. But last week I had my school reunion, and I can safely say that I came away feeling fine. Great, in fact. And it had nothing to do with the (relatively small, compared to others) amount of alcohol I had drunk! It was just the fact that I didn’t feel like an ugly fat dag compared to everyone else. I didn’t feel boring. I didn’t feel outdone or rubbish. I just felt fine! I spent an evening chatting to two or three really good friends that I keep in fairly regularly contact with. I caught up with old school friends who were great. One even came bounding up to me and declared she too had an allotment.

I came home and sat there and realised that I pleased to be amongst my melange of animals, looking forward to a weekend prodding the vegetable patch (I’d had a nasty back incident earlier in the week), doing a bit of writing work, cooking, visiting my grandmother (she’s had a stroke but they expect her to make a very good if not full recovery) in hospital, seeing my sister, catching up on blogs. I might sound like a complete sad sack to most people, but who cares. Really – who cares? I’m happy and I think a lot of people are missing out. It might sound crazy or a bit out there, but I really think that growing vegetables, an interest in wildlife gardening and aspiring to live in this way, whatever it is, has given me a grounding and a solid foundation that I can lose myself in when everything else threatens to drive me stark raving bonkers. Or maybe I’ve just got past stark raving bonkers…

*The only thing is for some reason the word ‘cousin’ has been replaced by ‘sister’ in the article. Deborah is my first cousin, not my sister! And please excuse my slightly dodgy wonky scanning skills.


  1. That’s fab, well done. I’m yet to convince the Mrs. that we need to move further out to the country…one day soon though i hope. Do you do another job too?

  2. I shall be trying to get my hands on a copy of this mag, looks brill. Well done for having an article published, just the ticket you derserve 😉
    Keep it up!
    Oh by the way, I dont miss the ‘high life’ in London, been there done that and now I cannot think of anything better than being with my ex batts and other furries prodding about in the garden! I still have alot to learn about veggie growing, but the good news is I have not killed anything…yet !

  3. Hello,
    I just read your article in the Home Farmer magazine.

    I was twenty-seven when we got an allotment on the outskirts of a town – that was in 1980.

    All the other allotment holders were old blokes who thought Alan and I were a couple of mad hippies who would give up the allotment in no time. We did give it up, after six years happy growing, but only because we moved to the country where we now have sheep and hens as well as veg.

    It’s a good lifestyle, it’ll never make us rich – but who cares about that?

  4. Glad you’re feeling better. Whoever you are, you’re much better at being you than anybody else. So sod ’em all.

  5. I can ralate to your situation. I’m 27 all my friends think I’m mad with my garden, and my plans to get chickens and a pig. I really would not swop a night in the city for a day gardening or playing with my pets.
    I love home farmer mag and really enjoy your blog!

  6. Congratulations – looks brill! I hope you’re pleased with it! I normally start the sentance about my blogging with ….’I know, I’m a freak….’, but I also really enjoy it! I’m 31, good job, false nails, drive a fast sports car….but grow my own veg. People think I’m weird….but you know, I’m pleased to be me. I like me, and as you get older, you start to accept yourself, and you know….life gets that bit easier! (apart from seed germination…!)

    Take care, Cat x

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