One thing I really want this space to be is open and honest – I mean obviously, some stuff is probably a little bit personal to brandish all over the internet, but with Instagram and other platforms showing the glamorous side to things I think it’s always nice to get a bit of perspective of what’s really going on behind the scenes. The reality is this post was sparked by a conversation I was having on Instagram with a fellow newbie smallholder {isn’t insta amazing for meeting like-minded people?!} We were discussing the trials and tribulations of juggling full-time work, normal household chores along with the requirementsof having livestock. It occurred to me that this is something Matthew and I have really struggled with recently and so wanted to make sure that I explained it’s not always sunshine and lambs when it comes to our life on Exmoor. 

Going back a few months ago to the end of 2018, we were in the unfortunate position that Matthew had to change jobs and as such went from working home most of the week to commuting two hours each way in to work. To be honest the move has been great for him and us as a couple. I have really noticed how much less stressed he seems, and he actually wants to tell me about his work again {despite this I still don’t have a clue what he’s going on about half the time}. But this change also meant that I {who continues to work from home} have had a lot of responsibility put on my shoulders. Although, I would like to say that whilst I feel more than capable looking after the animals by myself another pair of hands is always welcome – especially when you finish work at 4pm and it’s already getting dark! 

A normal day for me includes not just a full day at work but also morning & evening feeds and checks, walking the dogs; oh and of course the dirty bit of mucking out the animals! Which might not seem like a lot but add in travelling time and the ‘extra thing’ that always seems to crop up and suddenly your days gone and you’re not eating until 9pm. So, as I said, being totally open and honest, Matthew and I have had several long hard talks over the last few months with a glass of wine, or two, in hand about the various options and how we could strike a work/life/smallholder balance. The final decision – to reign things in a little going forward. That is to limit our flock size for now, sticking with a manageable number of breeding ewes in lamb each year and making sure we are not keeping additional stock that we do not need. After all, if we kept every single one it wouldn’t be fair on them either as we do not have enough ground in which to keep them all and as a result their welfare would be at risk. So again, more decisions :/ 

Anyway, I really hope it doesn’t come across like I’m complaining I just wanted to give you an insight into a bit of our reality and explain how things have been for Matthew and me.

Not wanting to end on a negative note though, I just want to finish by saying that I really do love my animals {and husband}, life honestly wouldn’t be the same without them!  

Yours, Daisy x

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