Hello! We’re Kathy and Tom and welcome to The Journal of Modern Smallholding.
We live on a smallholding - the English version of a homestead - in the hills of rural Somerset with our two children. On our two(ish) acres of land are a tubby gaggle of geese, a small flock of sheep, thousands of honeybees, and a collection of chickens who lay eggs that could colour a rainbow. There is a mixed fruit orchard and an ever-expanding vegetable patch too. And we’re semi-off-grid, thanks to our solar panels and wood burning stoves.
Our lifestyle is centred around slow food and simple living, which somewhat ironically, means we are endlessly – but happily – busy. There is always something to sow or harvest, cook or preserve, make or build. We manage the smallholding organically, embracing traditional practices, but also bringing in contemporary ideas and technology where we feel they are sustainable and useful. Our aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible and what we don’t produce or forage ourselves, we source as locally and greenly as we can.
If you sign up as a free subscriber, you will be sent our monthly newsletter, The Seasonal Supplement, where we share our smallholding stories; scribble recipes; make enthusiastic suggestions for things to grow; recommend inspiring reads, podcasts or programmes; plus offer a peek at our never-ending to do list. Expect everything from growing apples and harvesting honey, to foraging for wild ingredients, building woodstores, and harnessing green energy. The newsletter will be delivered to your inbox bright and early one Sunday morning a month, just in time to be enjoyed with a piping hot cup of tea (or whatever your morning beverage of choice is).
If you sign up as a paid subscriber you will receive an uplifting tapestry of stories, inspiration, and practical info straight to your mailbox each week, which will cover a hotchpotch of interesting topics. Each week we focus on something different. Here’s a taste of some of the things we’re hoping to write about as the weeks pass by:
Detailed and well-researched notes on wonderful things to plant and grow organically. We’ll cover everything from food to firewood.
Insights into one-off projects on the smallholding, from making rustic fencing, to coppicing, to renewable energy, and advice on how to embark on similar projects yourself.
Recipes that make the most of different ingredients as they come into season. There’ll be flexible cooking ideas for everyday eating; seasonal menus; and delicious things to make and squirrel away in the store cupboard or freezer.
Handy guidance on keeping livestock from beginner level to beyond (sheep, geese, chickens and bees in particular)
Foraging from nature’s larder. Ways to enrich your cooking with wild-harvested ingredients that money can’t buy.
Ideas and mini projects for living slowly, simply, and sustainably. From homemade beeswax polish and thrifty green cleaning recipes, to making charcoal.
The occasional recommendation of things to purchase for the garden and kitchen (we’re very much into sourcing things second-hand or employing the ‘buy once for life’ philosophy, so there will only be carefully considered items here)
Plus, we’ll go back in time to tell you all about how we found our smallholding (and tips we learnt along the way), and our early years here, accompanied by some never-before-seen photos from our archives.
So, if you enjoy our writing and photos, would like to support us to continue creating here (because it really is only with your kind support that we can dedicate the huge amounts of time and creative energy needed to keep doing this), and like the sound of the above, we’d truly love you to sign up. We would be so incredibly delighted if you do.
There are a couple of options that Substack offers for subscribing. They both work out roughly around the price of a coffee or two a month. There’s a monthly subscription for £5.75 a month. Or an annual subscription for £60 a year (which works out at the discounted price of £5 a month). If you’d like to sign up, the link below will take you to the subscription upgrade options.
We also write occasionally for other publications, and you can find our columns and features in previous issues of BBC Countryfile magazine and The Simple Things magazine. You can also follow us here where we write under the name of The Seasonal Table: